A tailored, collaborative approach to organisational development

Action for Race Equality (ARE) is a national charity that conducts action research and provides a voice to Government for Black and minoritised ethnic organisations. As our Programme Partner, ARE help strategically design, deliver and manage the Pathways to Economic Opportunities (P2E) Programme, supported by JPMorgan Chase. Throughout the two-year programme, they will be sharing their insights and learnings in regular guest blogs.

This latest blog details the tailored, collaborative approach the programme is taking to helping funded Black and minoritised ethnic-led organisations develop and grow in the current climate.

With the cost-of-living crisis, following a pandemic, and increased pressure on communities and organisational infrastructure, it is more important than ever that Black and minoritised ethnic-led organisations build adaptability and agility so that they can continue responding to racial economic inequalities in the community. For the P2E Programme, this comes in the form of organisational development support.

As P2E Programme delivery partner, across 2022-2024, Action for Race Equality (ARE) is implementing a tailored approach to the programme’s organisational development element – ensuring that the diversity of organisations involved in the programme is taken into consideration, including their size, capacity and specialism, as well as the individual learning styles of their representatives.

The P2E programme recognises that organisational development cannot be achieved through a one-size-fits-all approach. For Black and minoritised ethnic-led EEFH organisations to build their organisational infrastructure and leadership, programmes such as these must recognise that Black and minoritised ethnic communities are best placed to lead on the solutions to their development.
Megan Wong, ARE P2E Programme Manager

Assessing individual needs and priorities

The co-design approach taken in Phase 1 of the P2E Programme indicated that it would be beneficial, based on previous experiences, for organisations to undergo a pre-assessment to determine the sort of organisational development support that they needed.

This assessment was carried out using a bespoke assessment tool known as the Capacity Assessment Schedule (CAS) to identify key priority areas of organisational development needs.

The CAS is broken down into five broad categories, with sub-categories deemed to be important considerations for organisational development activities:

  • Governance and leadership
  • Operations and organisational management
  • Human resources
  • Procedure, systems and infrastructure
  • Programme design, content and delivery

Participatory organisational development assessments are the most effective way of looking at organisational development strengths, weaknesses, successes, and areas for improvement.

Through the assessment process, ARE were able to identify the most pressing priorities for each organisation and adapt the support accordingly to meet this criteria.

Grantee partners have since been provided with a summative overview of their assessment and scores against which they determine their most pressing priorities. The outcomes of these assessments helped identify and tailor workshops to the most common need across the cohort, alongside 1-2-1 support sessions with a dedicated facilitator.

Offering a bespoke package of support

Based on our findings, we have since developed a ‘package of support’ to deliver the organisational development support. This includes:

1-2-1 Bespoke Consultancy Support

Following the completion of the pre-assessment, ARE have been meeting with each of the 19 organisations individually to identify, in more detail, their key priorities for support. They will receive 1-2-1 support sessions with a dedicated facilitator, whose role will be to work through the priorities with the organisation, using the assessment as a basis for discussion.

A series of 10 tailored workshops

Based on conversations with the participating organisations and their responses to the CAS, ARE is delivering 10 themed workshops over two years. These will be at intermediate level, designed to be practical and solution focused, and will support grantee partners to develop resilience, and financial and operational capacity. This is both a learning and a networking opportunity, where organisations can share skills and expertise.

Action/peer learning

This provides space for reflective learning, sharing specialist knowledge, and for organisations to share issues they have experienced throughout their projects. Through the action learning sets, organisations will be able to hear feedback, good practice and solutions from their peers in a safe space.

Each of these three components will complement one another and aims to build the infrastructure and capacity of the supported organisation. This, in turn, will ensure they are able to deliver sustainable services and projects related to EEFH for Black and minoritised ethnic communities, develop growth plans to enable organisations to grow in size and scope, and support Black and minoritised ethnic-led organisations working in the EEFH space to have a more equitable presence in the mainstream policy and practice spaces.

The workshop topics for the first year have begun and were designed based on input from the grantee partners and include:

  • Building resilient teams: identifying and preventing burnout
  • Evaluating and measuring impact of projects/programmes
  • Writing better bids and diversifying income
  • Communications – social media and messaging to funders
  • Budgeting and finance

In addition to the above topics, during the assessment process, the majority of participating organisations identified ‘governance and leadership’ and ‘operations and organisational management’ as priority areas. As a result, JPMorgan Chase’s two-day Inspire Leadership Edge programme has been delivered, training on leadership skills. To find out more about the leadership programme click here.

If you’d like to find out more about our work on Pathways to Economic Opportunities Programme contact: ARE P2E Programme Manager, Megan Wong at megan@actionforraceequality.org.uk.