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External Event

Understanding the Impact of Building Relationships

Date & Time
February 1, 2023 12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST
Event Host
Tamarack Institute


David Jay – Founder, Relationality Lab

Lisa Attygalle – Consulting Director of Community Engagement, Tamarack Institute

Session Description

If we all know that relationships matter, why is it so hard to fund the work that makes them possible?

Join David Jay, founder of Relationality Lab, for a scientific perspective on the relational work that is essential to almost all meaningful social impact. When we think about how the world needs to change relationships are one of our most powerful tools. Many of us see the lack of relationship constantly in our work: communities that feel isolated and organizations that feel siloed. Many of us have deep experience about how to change that by bringing people together and building trust. Yet the process of trust building often comes across as ephemeral and inefficient in a grant proposal or strategic plan. All too often, the essential work of building relationships becomes invisible, underappreciated and under-resourced.

Jay, a community organizer, researcher and software developer, will explore this paradox and how it might be resolved. Grounding in the mathematical properties of relational systems, Jay will explore why the work of building relationships is in tension with many traditional notions of operational effectiveness. We can invest in relationships, we can be very strategic when doing so, but it requires a radically different form of strategic thinking than most organizations and funders are used to.

Jay will share a framework for this form of strategic thinking, focused on the following questions:

  • How might investing in relationships fit into a social impact strategy?
  • Given that relationships are unpredictable, what is a meaningful way to set intentions and define success?
  • How might we strategically invest in creating containers that nurture relationships?
  • How might we collect stories and data which help to mobilize resources for relational work?

The Relationality Lab provides tools, tactics and resources to people who nurture the relationships that drive movements for justice, sustainability and liberation. It is a grassroots effort that brings together relational organizers, movement funders, and scientific researchers interested in collaborating around this goal, centering the needs of organizers in our shared work. 

Register for this webinar below. All registrants will receive a full recording of the webinar, a copy of the slides, and a collection of links and resources.