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PEAK Grantmaking

Finding a “New Normal” Through an Agile Mindset

Sponsored by Foundant Technologies

Let’s be honest, we are a long way off from the “new normal” we’ve been hearing about. Plans over the next month, six months, or even a year will probably need to change. What’s your Plan B? Or even Plan C? Flexibility is the name of the game today. At the same time, we are yearning to find some consistency and to feel as “normal” as possible. How do you maintain flexibility while instilling some consistency in your organization to keep people aligned?

At Foundant, we have begun the process to become a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) organization. During this process, it has become clear that many philanthropic organizations could also benefit from learning and implementing this way of organizing their people, resources, and organization.

Why do we think this is relevant to philanthropy?

Despite common complaints about the philanthropic sector moving slow and being hesitant to change, we see the frequency of changes our clients actually go through. There are obvious things like the need to pivot due to COVID-19 funding or other regional disasters; in addition, leadership changes, DEI, next-generation engagement, and impact funding are all changes we see clients undertake regularly. All of these require shifts at an organizational level. The true benefit of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is it puts a premium on people and works to create transparency and alignment with the benefit being increased trust. And trust is the most valuable currency grantmaking organizations possess.

What are we doing?

Currently, we are in the process of getting organizational buy-in for the SAFe methodology at our leadership, management, and individual levels. We are fortunate to have already seen the benefits our Product Engineering and Product Management teams have experienced by implementing this framework in our product development process. It makes it easier to point to a specific example as we talk about this change internally at Foundant. Our hope is to share our story as an example for all of you to bring your employees, board members, leadership, or other stakeholders along on your agile journey.

What’s next?

You have probably noticed I didn’t try to define the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) process in this blog. SAFe is only one of many agile frameworks that fall under this mindset and we are not the experts in these methods. Rather, we are continually learning and excited to share our story – both successes and stumbles – along the way. We plan to launch a series of events, including a number of webinars with our partners. Join us for our upcoming Agile Mindset webinar with PEAK on June 25.

We hope you will follow our progress to determine if it is right for you. At Foundant, we work with over 1700 grantmakers, and we see how this framework translates extremely well to your day-to-day. We also know that everyone needs a little more transparency, alignment, and trust in today’s COVID-19 reality. Let’s build it together.

To learn more about the Agile Mindset and Foundant’s journey to learn and implement SAFe, start with this blog post on Trust and Transparency Through an Agile Mindset.