Trust and Flexible Response Aids NetHope Nepal Effort

Trust and Flexible Response Aids NetHope Nepal Effort

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Why is trust in a partnership so important?  Because it allows for flexibility and it creates an efficiency in decision making, especially when it comes to urgent needs.

April 25, 2015:  Earthquake hits Nepal April 26, 2015:  I received the following email from Frank Schott, the managing director of global programs for NetHope, at 4:07 am edt. Michael, I am sure you have heard about the earthquakes in Nepal. Gisli is deploying tomorrow and we would like your permission to use some of the funds that won’t be spent in Vanuatu to fund his mission (roughly $20K). We will have a more formal call with all NetHope supporters on Monday (you will get an invite). We don’t know how bad this emergency is in part because it’s early but also because the aftershocks keep coming.  Let me know if you have any questions, concerns.  We are working round the clock on this one and can speak with you on Sunday if you like (Gisli and I are both in Dubai now) – Frank April 26, 2015

Later in the day, the The Patterson Foundation's Designation Committee circulates emails asking about NetHope’s potential involvement. I was able to respond with the information above. If this isn’t “perfect communication,” it is very close. In a matter of a few lines of text, Frank told me:

  1. We are aware and we are “on it.” NetHope will deploy.
  2. We really don’t know the full extent of the damage, but we will let you know.
  3. We will have a formal call on Monday, and you will be invited.
  4. If you need information in the interim, I am available.
  5. We were good stewards of the last money you gave us so we have a balance, and we really need this money for this new disaster.

And he asked me:

1. Can we re-allocate funds you already gave us and put them to use for this situation? (We said, yes. We know how important a rapid response is. See this last blog.)

2. It was all quick and focused – the best kind of communication, and it would not have been possible without the trust that exists between our two organizations.

Would we have responded similarly if we received this email from another partner? It would have depended on the depth of the relationship and the trust built.  (The fact that I didn’t have to respond to Frank’s email to inquire for further details says a lot about the trust established between our organizations.) It took years for our organizations to build the trust to point where The Patterson Foundation is willing to reallocate $20,000 and then add an additional $50,000 in funding via an email request and a couple of webinars. Now that kind of trust results in quick decision making.

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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