Skip to Content
4 Min Read

Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening


  • Social change happens most effectively through collective, rather than individual thinking. Don’t go it alone — convene.
  • Don’t know where to start? The Gather guide is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that takes you through the basics of convening. Learn when, where, and how to bring people together.
  • Learn from the experiences of similar organizations. Case studies from The Rockefeller Foundation, New Profit Inc., and Human Rights First are included.

How do you move on social change? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. To go far together, you convene. A convening brings together a diverse team with different areas of expertise to tackle a shared problem. Through collective intelligence, a convening can effectively and efficiently create change by helping organizations or individuals see an issue from multiple perspectives.

Convenings differ from a typical meeting or conference in important ways. Firstly, convenings function based off of the principle that collective intelligence is better than individual knowledge when trying to take on a shared problem. They also have a clear purpose that a diverse group of participants can work towards in a collaborative effort.

Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening is a first of its kind guidebook for those who want to sharpen and strengthen their in-person convening skills to better harness the potential of collective intelligence.

A well-executed convening can have extraordinary impact, but it is often difficult to determine when and if one is necessary. That’s where Gather comes in. Developed over the past two years by The Rockefeller Foundation and Monitor Institute, Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening fills a gap in public knowledge about the skills, training, and competencies required to make a convening successful.

In the Gather guidebook, you can learn both the art and science behind an impactful convening. It guides you step by step through the building blocks, offering a set of design principles, key questions, and critical issues to be considered and customized for your purpose. Topics discussed include:

  • How to determine when a convening is needed
  • Defining a purpose for your convening
  • Assembling your team and participants
  • Structuring the convening appropriately
  • Following through to ensure that your convening has impact

“The Rockefeller Foundation has long valued the incredible power of convening to catalyze dialogue and generate impactful change in an increasingly complex world,” said Claudia Juech, Associate Vice President and Managing Director for Strategic Research and Bellagio programming at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Indeed, we view convening as a critical tool for successful philanthropy.”

In addition to the step-by-step process of planning a convening, Gather includes case studies and tips about what to do (and what not to do) in order to ensure success. Examples include the experiences of The Rockefeller Foundation, New Profit Inc., and Human Rights First.

Whether you are a nonprofit, foundation, or an individual inspired to create a social change, you are invited to take a look at Gather. Read through the insights and ideas of leaders in the social sector so that you can improve your ability to incite action through the use of a successful convening.




* indicates required

Join The Network

Community, learning, and leadership to help you do good, better.

Become a member