Power Moves at 1 year: Broad reach, early signs of impact

Written by: Lisa Ranghelli

Date: June 05, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part 1 of a 2-part reflection on the 1st year of NCRP’s Power Moves toolkit. Read part 2 here.

In the 13 months since NCRP released Power Moves, more than 2,500 individuals have interacted with the project.

Sector interest in Power Moves has exceeded NCRP’s expectations, signaling a strong desire for equity-oriented resources that explore power.

Grantmakers have found myriad entry points and ways to use the guide to support their work, although few have undertaken a full self-assessment.

Lack of capacity, time and resources is the biggest barrier to using the guide. Yet a number of funders have already begun incorporating insights from Power Moves into their grantmaking and operations.

The guide helps grantmakers solicit feedback from stakeholders and take stock of how well they build, share and wield power in their quest to address fundamental inequities in our society.

In early 2019, NCRP sought feedback from our own stakeholders about their experience with Power Moves, providing a window into how they are using the guide to inform next steps for the project.

In the spirit of transparency and open learning that we ask foundations to model, we decided to share some lessons at the 1-year mark:

1. Interest in the guide is a blessing and a challenge.

When NCRP released Power Moves, we used a “form wall” that required individuals downloading the guide to share basic contact information.

We worried that the form wall would deter some people from downloading the document, and about 7.5% of those who clicked on the “download” link chose not to follow through.

The number of people interested in Power Moves far exceeded our goals and expectations.

  • More than 2,000 people downloaded the guide in the first 8 months, and more than half of those downloads were in the first 5 weeks.
  • Many different types of stakeholders downloaded Power Moves, including philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), nonprofits and consultants, but our primary audience was funders, so we were heartened that 855 individuals from 523 grantmakers of all different sizes and types downloaded Power Moves between May and December 2018.

The form wall proved to be tremendously useful, enabling us to see who was most interested in the guide and to follow up with them … in theory.

In practice, we were bowled over by the high level of response to the guide, and it took us a while to organize and analyze the data and prioritize institutions for follow-up. We also needed to beef up internal capacity to respond.

2. High-touch engagement is key in motivating use of the guide.

While the high number of downloads was exciting, we know full well that many excellent tools and resources end up forgotten on the metaphorical book shelf.

We anticipated this and implemented a set of pre- and post-release activities to spread the word and motivate funders and consultants to explore and use the guide.

These included an advisory committee and reviewers of the draft guide, 4-part webinar series, in-person presentations and dine-arounds at conferences, and a new foray into peer learning.

We piloted two advisory and peer learning groups, one for grantmakers and one for consultants to grantmakers. To address the team’s capacity needs mentioned above, we hired a consultant to help manage the peer-learning groups.

To find out how well these myriad strategies were working, and how individuals were using Power Moves, we sent a survey to everyone who downloaded the guide and/or otherwise interacted with the project. We received 323 responses, a response rate of about 14%.

Our data affirmed that high-touch interaction mattered. Respondents who experienced some sort of deeper engagement with NCRP –  through 1-on-1 outreach, advisory committee or peer group participation, being a webinar presenter, etc. – were twice as likely to report reading the full guide, using it and sharing it with peers than respondents overall.

Check out part 2 for the 3rd and 4th lessons from Power Moves‘ first year and our next steps!

Lisa Ranghelli is senior director of assessment and special projects at NCRP and primary author of Power Moves: Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justiceFollow @NCRP and @lisa_rang on Twitter, and join the conversation using #PowerMovesEquity!