In an ever-evolving landscape, leaders and organizations often face challenges or opportunities that require specialized support from external capacity building and technical assistance consultants or coaches. But it isn’t always easy to figure out what needs to prioritize, what approaches to adopt, and what providers to work with. This is where Catalyst:Ed comes in: whether an organization is looking for support with a specific issue or seeking to build broad capacity in a domain or ready to embark on a process of growth and transformation, our unique approach ensures that they are prioritizing the right needs and identifying the right partner. Core to our process is the belief that leaders know their organizational needs and contexts best – and that they need to be empowered with the information and support they need to make the right decisions. In this blog, we’ll delve into the core components of Catalyst:Ed’s signature project-matching process and explore how it offers an alternative to the traditional approach of seeking short-term, capacity building support.
The initial advising process begins when a leader with a capacity building need reaches out to us via our website to schedule a scoping call. An experienced Capacity Advisor on our team is assigned to advise and support them throughout the entire process. The Capacity Advisor reviews any information shared by the leader in preparation for the scoping call. During the call, the Advisor guides the leader and/or their team through a series of structured questions that are intended to clarify and prioritize their needs, define what success looks like, and ensure the scope of work is aligned to the budget and timeline. This scoping process ensures that leaders and teams zero in on what’s most important to them and have clarity about what they should expect from professional service providers.
Watch as two of our experienced Capacity Advisors provide a full breakdown of what you can expect working with Catalyst:Ed.
Once the scoping call is complete, the Capacity Advisor drafts a project scope that outlines the project goals, the organizational context, key tasks, deliverables, timelines, and budgets. This scope is sent out to a curated list of providers in Catalyst:Ed’s extensive provider network, which comprises over 830 diverse providers. The network ranges from large national firms to smaller boutique providers, independent consultants, and coaches Importantly, all providers in the network have undergone a rigorous three-step vetting process that pinpoints their areas of expertise and the contexts they thrive in. Providers review the scopes before deciding if they are interested and available. If yes, they respond with brief proposals. This meticulous curation of providers means that leaders can trust that the providers they hear back from are qualified, interested, and available before they engage in the process of deciding whom to work with.
Catalyst:Ed’s matching process is designed to provide leaders with the information and scaffolded support they need to make good choices about whom to work with. It is powered by our project matching platform, which allows leaders to view all submissions from interested providers in one place, enabling them to easily compare proposals and access accompanying work samples, if available. After reviewing the proposals, leaders can indicate which providers they want to interview. Our team even takes care of scheduling the interviews! Once the interviews are completed, leaders decide who they want to work with.
During the project, we usually take a step back, although our Capacity Advisors continue to check-in to see how things are going and facilitate the giving and receiving of feedback. The mid-project feedback and reflection form, or MFAR, is sent to the partner and the provider. This form allows for reflection on the progress of the project, the achievement of goals, and the identification of any concerns that need addressing.
Similarly, the post-project feedback and reflection form, PFAR, is used to gather insights after the project concludes. Here, the focus is on evaluating whether the project’s goals were met and understanding contextual factors that may have led to eventual outcomes.
One of Catalyst:Ed’s defining values is our commitment to equity. From the diverse provider network we have curated to our approach to supporting organizations, we consistently highlight opportunities to center equity in the work, making it a fundamental aspect of the project-matching process.
Catalyst:Ed’s signature matching process offers a refreshing and effective alternative to seeking short-term, capacity-building support. If you’re looking for support on your next mission-critical process, get started today with a free consultation with a Capacity Advisor.