The Social Impact of OD

Written By: Kim Braidwood

The OD network annual conference had its first ever Social Impact day (SID), a pre-conference event that brought together and created value for OD consultants and Not for Profits (NFPs). I had the privilege of being an advisor on the pro bono team to develop and organize SID.  It was a rewarding experience as the impact of OD was fully felt by all participants and continues to ripple through the community.

As I reflect on the process of planning SID and how the day emerged, the value of embracing collaboration and emergence stands out. The spirit of collaboration started in the pre-feasibility phase as Cindy Miller (OD board member) reached out to Faye White (President of BCODN) for information regarding the building community organizations (BCO), a core program of BCODN.  Faye shared the BCO process and materials with Cindy. The OD network pro bono team was able to refer to these materials as well as draw on the skills and experiences of the team to develop SID.  Prior to SID most of the volunteers, consultants, and Non-profits had never met. For Social Impact day they converged, collaborated, embraced the emergent challenges and opportunities, and created value for one another; a value that continues to ripple through the community.

The event brought together and created value for 48 OD member consultants.  They were able to gain experience, increase their network, have access to mentors, and apply their skills with NFPs. The nine NFPs brought forth their challenges, collaborated on emergent issues with consultants, and left with recommendations generated from the day. The Mentors were able to network and give back to social good, and the OD network fulfilled its strategic goal of increasing the value and awareness of OD.

The pro bono team continues to receive positive feedback from SID and plans to build on the impact and momentum created. The NFPs expressed Social Impact Day exceeded expectations, as one NFP, Aubrey Farrar of Flight C.L.U.B. said, “We accomplished more in one day than we would have in six months.”  The Pro bono planning team consisted of Kim Stevens, Team Lead and Team Members: Kim Braidwood, Lee Burroughs, Kim Dixon, Erin Garland, Cindy Miller, Zach Sumner and Christine Thomas.

The inspiration for SID was to fulfill part of OD Network’s 5-year strategic plan that includes the aspiration: “The OD Network impacts the world by sponsoring pro-bono activities that provide OD practitioners to those who might otherwise be unable to access our skills and abilities.” The OD network pro bono team plan to build on Social Impact Day and carry the learning, energy, and value forward to next year’s conference as well as to the various OD chapters.

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