Three years after our staff team went gone through the financial resilience program, I can see how it has helped us talk differently about money. Working on human rights gave us energy but anything related to money had a negative connotation. Now we are in a place where we have franker and more natural conversations about money. Also, program staff have perceived how central the people working on finance and operations are to the core mission of the organization. It has empowered them and others can see their value more clearly. Overall, more members of our staff are engaged in fundraising for the organization.
Ellen once asked me what my first memory of money was. Of course I did not answer her because as an artist and gender activist in the mire of being angry with capitalism and patriarchy, she might as well have asked me what my first memory of misogyny was. But I do hate being a cliché and it did seem strange that on paper my career looked shockingly successful compared to my balance sheet which was a boring composition of reds and minuses. We were both curious about this - enough to spend some time together - time which she might call coaching and work. I on the other hand, would rather call it love and healing. I never did tell her my first memory of money but my brain no longer links having fiscal health with the things I am opposed to in the world. My first memory of money is now clear to me and also the fact that it has always been with me, how it has come to me. Now it is easy to follow this path intentionally.
This opportunity came just at the right time as we were ready to invest in our financial resilience and improve our financial performance overall. The in-person training plus accompaniment in the months that follow takes you on a journey from scanning the funding landscape and thinking strategically about how to diversify your funding, to the tactics and tools you need to improve your organization's financial health and resilience. This is one of the most paradigm shifting, practical and interactive courses I've ever attended and I would highly recommend it to those who are looking for a different and fresh look at building greater financial strength.
Jabulani Pereira Chen
Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro
Ellen probes deep and helps individuals and groups move beyond rhetoric and embrace strategy. Ellen's feminism liberates for greater inclusiveness. She helps individuals and groups realize and own their potential and power.
Working with Ellen helped me deliver what I wanted to at work, but it was much more than that. It helped me strengthen my understanding and my relationships with colleagues, and myself. She combines being a frank, no nonsense giver of feedback with being a wonderful generosity of spirit and deep kindness. I always knew, and could feel, that she was helping me to develop as a leader and as an enabler of others. I still reflect on the exercises and discussions and insights that came from working with Ellen - she took me beyond my comfort zone in a way that made it fun to do so.
Ellen Sprenger is a master facilitator. Her wide-ranging knowledge and down-to-earth demeanor allows her to connect easily to a group and foster sometimes difficult conversations. She provides direction and structure, but always adapts to the energy in the room, and does so with enormous grace and a sense of humor. Our group developed great cohesion and came up with fabulous actionable ideas in record time. The impact of Ellen’s facilitation continues to this day given the important connections that were made, and the ideas that were generated, at that meeting. What she did over those two days felt like magic.
This was by far the best facilitation training I have ever attended, and I have gone through many. Moving from facilitating at the grassroots level in the Philippines--with indigenous peoples, victims, security forces and community activists--to "bigger" international spaces with funders, academics, and global advocates was an uncomfortable transition for me. I always felt that while I could leverage my community roots as a facilitator, I also had some capabilities lacking for this new area. Going through the High Impact Facilitation Intensive made me appreciate this dilemma in an entirely different way--I could embrace more fully my unique skillset while also being aware of other areas I can strengthen myself in, always keeping in mind the particular needs and character of the group. I am not only a more confident facilitator I am also capable of bringing out the best in my co-facilitators.
I was really happy to see that as a result of taking part in the Financial Resilience program grantee confidence in fundraising has grown. I was happy that they could see the connection between a good pitch and a good outcome and to see their ability to clarify vision and mission, articulate it, and lay out what they seek to do. The other gratifying thing to see is the partnerships emerging within the organizations between the ED, the financial officer, and program director.
How does one realize one's vision of human rights and social justice with integrity, with imagination, with creativity? Ellen will challenge you to find the best in your self and your team to create inspiring and practical leadership, strategies and structures. If you have an opportunity to work with Ellen, grab it.