Is there a recipe for building and sustaining a successful health network? Collaboration and cooperation among NGOs offer tremendous opportunities for achieving results, but also present some unique challenges. This seminar explored the nature and dynamics of networks and discussed creative ways to promote synergies among network members to overcome challenges. This seminar has ended. We invite you to review the resources, discussion, and daily summaries. Read a full seminar summary.
Part 2: May 11 & May 12: Thriving Networks
Welcome to part two of our seminar. Over the next two days, we will look at five specific management areas of network strengthening and apply them to a case study.
In part one, we learned to identify the nature of networks and their potential strengths and challenges. Now let’s look at five key management areas and the important components of each. These are covered in detail in today’s reading.
- Alignment of members with the vision and purposes of the network
- Benefits provided to the members
- Contributions of the members to the network (e.g. financial, human, and infrastructure)
- Distributed leadership based on trust, influence and collective action
- Governing practices: setting the direction, cultivating accountability, stewarding resources, and engaging stakeholders.
- Roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and its members
- Financial management and responsibilities
- Diversification of revenue streams
- Reserves and cost cutting
Resources and Communication
- Stakeholders, and members as the primary stakeholders
- Unique value statements
- Communicating to build awareness
Part 2 Resources
The selected readings and case study below provide more detail on these five key management areas that contribute to network success.
- Strengthening Networks: Overcoming Challenges
- Summary of Findings from Network Literature Review
- Case Study #2
Part 2 Discussion Questions
Read questions below and prepare to share your experiences and opinions
If you were a manager of the network in case study #2, what actions would you take to strengthen the network considering one or more of the five focal areas presented in the reading? Consider:
- The engagement and contribution of members as well as the value of benefits.
The distributed leadership elements of trust, influence and collective action.
- The governing practices of setting the direction, engaging stakeholders, cultivating accountability, and stewarding resources.
- The importance of financial management and the characteristics and elements of financial sustainability.
- Communicating to stakeholders for resource mobilization – for both awareness and proposal development.
Part 2 Summary
It has been an exciting four days together in this seminar! Over the past two days we have focused on key management areas for network strengthening, and have shared both our thoughts about the cases presented and our own experiences.
The case study for this section focused on a network that many of you thought was well-established and covered the key management areas. In fact, the membership component for this network was highlighted as an important resource and future success factor for this network. There were also suggestions for strengthening the network by creating a process to engage the network and board members in strategic planning and resource mobilization as well as succession planning, developing the capacity of the board, improving the network’s advocacy and communications strategies, strengthening policies and procedures for better internal control, and improving trust.
The seminar and forum will remain open all weekend and we encourage you to continue to post your ideas and questions. There is still so much more we can learn from each other about sustainable networks! Be on the lookout for a full summary early next week, along with a link to a user survey.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and perspectives with us!
Susan Post and Lourdes De la Peza, Moderators