Helping a group build a shared understanding of complex issues, and strengthen relationships – both among grantees and between grantees and funders

Online whiteboard featuring a LEGO person and post-its

Our client

The Civitates Fund supports organisations that seek to shape vibrant and open European democracies that work for all.

Our client’s big question

How can our grantees collectively advance their, and our, thinking on digital rights?

The brief

Civitates grantees had been exploring ways to make the internet safer and foster a healthy digital public sphere. On the agenda were issues including guaranteeing free speech online; increasing voter and civic participation; and countering disinformation.

Civitates asked for our help to turn what should have been a face-to-face meeting into a series of engaging and interactive online sessions. The goal: help grantees advance their thinking and grow a shared understanding of these complex, important issues.

What we did

We conceived three inspiring and dynamic half-days, featuring:

  • Short talks by top-level world experts calling in from Europe and the United States, with whom participants could discuss in an intimate setting
  • A Digital Information Hackathon to examine specific issues and imagine creative solutions together across teams
  • Short and pithy presentations in the Pecha Kucha format to keep participants interested and highly engaged
  • An interactive workshop to diagnose the digital ecosystem and suggest next steps together

We used both Zoom and a shared digital whiteboard, Mural, to enable clear and deep brainstorming both during and between live sessions.

This way, participants shared their insights as they developed, contributing to a rich picture which helped the group visualise the work to be done – almost as if they had met in person.

“I was very impressed by Kumquat’s skilful facilitation, understanding of the field, creativity, and flexibility and generally feel we got twice as much out of each meeting thanks to them”

– Léonie van Tongeren, Fund Manager

Impact and feedback

Participants welcomed the high level of interactivity in their evaluations. They took part in a productive and engaging online environment, which made them keen to continue collaborating.

The conversations taught grantmakers much about their grantees’ priorities, important developments in the field, and what to fund next.

After the session, 1 in 5 participants rated the facilitation ‘good’ and 4 in 5 ‘very good’. 4 in 5 participants were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the event overall.

Our client was highly satisfied that all the objectives were clearly met.

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