As the Assets & Opportunity Network expands, so too should its leadership. Is your organization in a position to become a state or local convener of the Network in your geography?
There are currently 73 Lead Organizations across the country. Click here to see if your state or local area already has a Lead State or Local Organization.
Role for Network Lead Organizations: Convene, Engage, Lead
Individuals can participate in the Assets & Opportunity Network in several ways: as a Lead Organization; as a General Member; indirectly, through participation in a state or local coalition hosted by a Lead Organization; or all of the above. Lead Organizations leverage their existing connection, communications, trust and influence with stakeholders to increase the Network’s collective impact. The role of Lead Organizations is to:
- Convene a statewide or local coalition of assets advocates and practitioners to share knowledge, raise awareness and advocate for asset policies.
- Engage their statewide or local coalition members in national Network opportunities.
- Help lead and shape the direction of the national Network.
Serving as a Lead Organization creates opportunities. Lead Organizations can learn with and from peer organizations facing similar challenges. They can raise their own visibility through communications and fundraising technical assistance, exclusive events, and opportunities to be spotlighted in national settings. Lead Organizations can also influence and shape the direction of a national assets movement.
Specific expectations for Network Lead State and Lead Local Organizations
- Convene a statewide or local coalition of assets practitioners and advocates. In some cases, a “coalition” may look like a set of partnerships or a network of service providers. However, what matters is that the group has a spirit of cooperation and a desire to increase impact through collaboration.
- Document and report annually on coalition capacity, advocacy efforts and policy outcomes. The ultimate purpose of reporting is to allow both the Network and Lead Organizations to adapt our strategies and improve future outcomes. It is, however, also a way to demonstrate impact and attract more resources to the field. Network staff share aggregated data with all Lead Organizations to us in their fundraising and case-making documents.
- Encourage statewide or local coalition members and/or partners to become General Members in the Assets & Opportunity Network and share learning and advocacy opportunities with them. Learning opportunities include informal learning groups, webinars, workshops, updates and resources. Advocacy opportunities include sign-on letters, meetings with policymakers and advocacy trainings.
- Maintain an active web presence by using a Lead Organization microsite to share updates, advocacy agenda, events, partnerships, etc. The microsites allow Lead Organizations to connect with organizations in their communities and to find other Lead Organizations nationally that are working on similar issues.
- Connect with other organizations in the Network by participating in a Lead Organization listserv. Lead Organizations can ask questions of peers, suggest learning group ideas and share information on the listserv.
- Engage the media by taking advantage of templates, technical assistance, national data releases (such as the annual Assets & Opportunity Scorecard) and communications hooks offered by the Network.
- Participate in virtual discussions (via the Lead Organization listserv), online polls, work groups and in-person leadership meetings to help set priorities and shape the direction of the Assets & Opportunity Network.
- Suggest topics for, participate in and consider facilitating informal learning groups, webinars and workshops. Share knowledge and expertise with other Lead Organizations, General Members, Network Steering Committee and Network staff.
- Consider applying to serve on the Network Steering Committee. The Committee is a 12-person formal advisory body for the Assets & Opportunity Network, which reflects the diversity of Lead Organizations in the Network. Each Committee member can serve for up to two two-year terms.
Length of term, process for renewal, transferability of Lead Organization role
Lead Organizations commit to serving for two years. At the end of that term, if the Lead Organization has met commitments, the organization will be invited to continue in that capacity. Transfer of role to another organization during the term requires the Lead Organization to break the memorandum of understanding (MOU) and for a new MOU to be signed between the new organization and the Network.
Application Process and Selection Criteria
Periodically, the Network solicits new letters of interest from organizations interested in becoming a Lead State or Local Organization.
Organizations interested in becoming a Lead State or Local Organization should submit a letter that addresses three main questions:
- What is your organization’s prior experience advancing asset-based strategies, e.g., leadership of an asset coalition, policy advocacy, programmatic implementation, product design, research?
- What capacity does your organization have to meet the expectations of LSOs/LLOs (described above)?
- How will serving as a LSO/LLO leverage the benefits of the Network to advance the asset-related work in your state/locality?
Applying organizations will be assessed based on:
- Prior experience
- Commitment to meeting the obligations of LSOs/LLOs
- Opportunities to leverage participation in the national Network to advance state/local goals
- General fit
In selecting Lead Organizations, there is a preference for organizations that host asset-building coalitions. Emerging coalitions are encouraged to apply. The Network has self-directed resources available and some capacity to provide technical assistance to organizations seeking to build an asset-building coalition.
We recognize, however, that in some cases, advocacy or large-scale program implementation happens outside a formal coalition. Applications from organizations where there is no coalition, but there is a spirit of cooperation and a desire to increase impact through collaboration will also be considered. Regardless of whether a formal coalition exists, the Lead Organization will be expected to represent all of the asset-related work that is happening in the state/locality (to their knowledge), not only the work of the specific organization.
The selection process for Lead Local Organizations will also take into consideration input from existing Lead State Organizations from the state.
Selected Lead Organizations will sign memoranda of understanding with CFED on behalf of the Assets & Opportunity Network that describes the commitments of both parties.