Notes from the Inaugural Convening the Conveners at SOCAP

This post was contributed by Topher Wilkins

Greetings fellow Conveners,
In September, 26 executives representing socially-conscious convenings large and small, local and global, gathered at the initial Convening of Conveners meeting on the third day of SOCAP13.  The goal was an initial exploration of how this community of conveners, respecting each organization’s purposes, goals, and outcomes, might coordinate amongst our respective convenings to increase our collective impact.
During our limited time together, the attendees listed below introduced themselves and the work of their organizations/convenings, and we began to brainstorm how we could collaborate to bolster the social sector.
Suggested concrete steps included:

  1. The creation of a comprehensive calendar that would share dates of upcoming meetings, conferences and convenings.  Good news on this front already!  Phil Collis from Skoll World Forum has shared an aggregated calendar that will exist in perpetuity on the SWF website:  Phil’s developers are working on a few usability enhancements (fixing the date sort function and enabling it so that you can filter by country), but the url will remain the same.  Phil welcomes submission or corrections from the group.  He also welcomes input on what other info would be useful.  Going forward, please submit your dates to Phil ( as soon as you know them for your upcoming events.
  1. Explore the feasibility of creating a continuous curriculum of agenda sessions across our convenings.  No one wants to repeat the same conversation over and over, or run into the same folks without moving a particular agenda ahead, or miss an opportunity to connect with someone who could have been THE person to move an issue ahead.  So, as opposed to having “Impact Investing 1.0” (for example) repeated at each our various gatherings, we would instead plan “Impact Investing 1.0” at one convening, followed by “Impact Investing 2.o” at a subsequent convening, and “Impact Investing 3.0” at the next convening. 
  1. Creating and sharing a common discount code to allow for those in the network to more readily attend one another’s convenings.  Some organizations were more interested in this idea than others. Some are considering offering a consistent discount to fellow conveners. Others will pursue one-to-one organizational relationships, and some prefer not to offer affiliated discounts at all.
  1. Share in the promotion of one another’s events, competitions, convenings, conferences, etc.  Relatively straightforward ~please notify this network of ways you can support other convenings, e.g. social media posts, event calendars, referrals for potential attendees/fellows/speakers, etc.
  1. Provide the opportunity to mid-level managers and those on the operations side to connect as well.  Clearly, we don’t want this collaborative initiative to be a burden on your schedule.  If it makes sense to include others in your organization who would be more appropriate to provide concrete follow-through, feel free to share this message with your colleagues and invite them to the network. (FYI, I purposefully included everyone’s email address in the “To” field of this message, as many of you requested one another’s contact info.)
  2. To push forward the above and more, going forward we will gather at our respective events when there is a critical mass of Conveners’ in attendance.  To this end, please inform this network if you can accommodate a Convening of Conveners at your gathering.

REMINDER: several of us will be gathering at the Opportunity Collaboration beginning on October 13th  (wish me luck!) and at the Global Innovation Summit in February 2014 here in the Silicon Valley.  Also, Mike Rowlands will be hosting a Convening of Conveners at SVN’s Fall conference from October 17th to the 20th in Baltimore.  And I plan to be at the Social Innovation Summit on November 19th and 20th at Stanford – contact me if you would like to meet-up then.
Of course, any and all other suggestions on how we might collaborate are welcomed!
Convening the Conveners meeting at SOCAP Participants:
(in alphabetical order, please forgive omissions)
Adam Caplan, Entrepreneur in Residence, GSF India 
Pamela Chaloult, Executive Director, BALLE 
Phil Collis, Senior Manager of Digital Technologies, Skoll World Forum 
Ron Cordes, Co-Founder Cordes FoundationClinton Global Initiative & Opportunity Collaboration
Darlene Damm, Innovators for the Public (Strategic Partnerships and Changemakers Teams)
Jenny Everett, Associate Director, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) at The Aspen Institute
Ian Fisk, Executive Director, William James Foundation
Rosa Lee Harden and Kevin Jones, Co-Founders, SOCAP
Victor Hwang, Executive Director & Mark Newberg Design Committee Chair, Global Innovation Summit 
Deb Nelson, Executive Director & Erin Roach, Director of Marketing, Social Venture Network
Kevin Lynch, President and CEO, Social Enterprise Alliance
Liz Maw, Executive Director, Net Impact
Bonny Moellenbrock, Executive Director, SJF Institute and Investors’ Circle  
Lora O ‘Connor
Betsy McKinneyThe Founding Family
Ben Powell, Founder & CEO, Agora Partnerships: Impact Investing in Action
Manas Ratha, Director, Dasra 
John Rosser , Founder, Sustainatopia
Steve Schueth, Producer, The Conference for Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (SRI)
Mark Van Ness, Founder, Real Leaders (magazine for YPO)
Drew von GlahnDevelopment Marketplace and Innovation Lab at the World Bank
Jane Wales, CEO, Global Philanthropy Forum and World Affairs Council