You and your staff can probably, collectively, leap tall buildings in a single bound. But you might not be able—or willing—to tackle every single need that presents itself to your organization. It might be time to hire a consultant. You only have so much time, and sometimes you need a new perspective and a helping hand from someone with an unbiased view and different expertise. If you are wondering just how much help consultants can be, here are 20 ways they can make your life easier.
This report highlights the considered experiences and views of leading children, youth and family grantmakers across the U.S. concerning key insights they have gleaned about practices that either advance or impede diversity in areas ranging from governance and staffing to grantmaking and contracting. The presentation includes a summary of key findings concerning various practical aspects of promoting and managing diversity that readers should find especially valuable.
This report is intended to provide grantmakers with information on how their peers are approaching greening and also to spur dialogue about the role of the philanthropic sector in promoting and implementing environmentally sustainable practices.
BoardSource members and nonmembers alike can access BoardSource’s Board Recruitment Center to find out how to effectively recruit board members. Building a board is about finding leaders who have skill sets and perspectives that align with an organization’s strategies, goals, and needs. It is also about having the right blend of skill sets, expertise, community connections, diverse perspectives, and spheres of influence across the board as a whole. BoardSource members can take advantage of free board recruitment job postings on LinkedIn’s new Volunteer Marketplace.This new board posting service allows nonprofits to find the highly qualified and enthusiastic people needed to Read more
Among the most important tasks that any board confronts is the choice of head staff person. If anything, this decision has even greater significance in family foundations. Whether the position is vacant because of the retirement of a beloved CEO or the departure of a problematic one, CEO transitions in family foundations typically have three major stages: clarifying the foundation direction, identifying a suitable successor, and realigning the foundation’s strategies and/or programs as necessary.
Author: National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)
BoardSource offers dynamic, highly interactive governance workshops on a variety of topics for your next conference, meeting, retreat, event, or training. Each of our live training programs can be customized to meet the unique needs of your organization, to adhere to time constraints or format preferences, and to appeal to different audience sizes. The Governance as Leadership workshop takes a look at the three modes of governance — fiduciary, strategic and generative — that together enable board members more meaningful, consequential work resulting in better governed organizations. With a focus on generative thinking, the most neglected work of a board Read more
When you need to hire a consultant, the pressure is on. Time and money are at stake, and so is success. My work with foundations and nonprofits over the past two decades has given me the chance to observe firsthand the errors that people commonly make when trying to hire a consultant. The next time you need a consultant’s help, I hope you will save your valuable time and resources by avoiding these hiring mistakes.
Foundation and nonprofit staff are spread thin enough. There is a lot to do with a limited number of people and a limited number of hours in the day. And there are times when expecting hardworking staff to strategize and carry through an entirely new project, on top of handling their ongoing responsibilities, is asking too much. Consultants can take some of the burden off of staff while providing a new perspective and expertise. They may also increase your organization’s credibility. Here are the five main reasons most foundations and nonprofits enlist the help of outside consultants.
The special feature in this issue of Alliance looks at ‘philanthropy in a changing world economy’. We wanted to explore how philanthropy has responded to economic changes since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. I use the word ‘explore’ intentionally: this special feature is a first stab at seeing what has been happening across the globe. We have tried to build up a picture based on the experiences and impressions of people in different countries.
This article examines the issue of foundation organization design and assesses how foundation leaders might think about their organizations as institutions. Noting that any organization structure inhabited by human beings creates silos and territorial issues, foundation leaders are increasingly using two primary mechanisms to minimize these artificial barriers and maximize collaboration: enhanced headquarters functions to help integrate across the organization, and senior leadership teams. This article reviews the structure, roles, responsibilities, and value-add of senior leadership teams at 19 foundations. The senior leadership team plays a crucial role in foundations, functioning as an advisory group to the president and chief Read more
Essential Skills & Strategies (ESS) for New Grantmakers is a comprehensive educational program to help familiarize new and up-and-coming grantmakers to the foundation world and the field of philanthropy. Designed by experts in the philanthropic sector, ESS is the field’s new, standardized orientation for grantmakers. The sessions are designed to provide new grantmakers with the knowledge, insight, skills, and tools to be effective in their work. ESS has been endorsed by philanthropic groups and foundations staff around the country. The ESS curriculum was developed by a volunteer leadership team that included representatives from the Council on Foundations (Council), the Forum Read more
By: Karen McNeil-Miller, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Identify a potential role/level you would like to attain and seek out several people who already have those roles. Find out the competencies/behaviors/skills needed to be effective in the role currently and in the future Be intentional in your career to seek roles along the way that can offer you an opportunity to develop those skills and competencies. Join EPIP (Emerging Professionals in Philanthropy) Volunteer inside and outside your organization to develop your skills Look for internal developmental assignments such as task forces, workgroups, committees, etc. Network with the people who Read more
By: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, Associate Dean and Clinical Full Professor, University of Michigan Ross School of Business; co-author with Dr. Erika Hayes James, Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis For the last decade my co-author, Erika James, and I have researched how organizations lead under pressure and especially in crisis situations. Although most organizations do not frequently confront crises, leading under pressure has become a new norm. Pressurized situations can be the result of budget constraints, time limitations, stakeholders’ demands, shortage of resources or employee strife. From our research, we discovered that Read more
By: Jessica Bearman, principal, Bearman Consulting I went to Google and did a quick search on “Fun and Learning” and quickly noticed that with or without the quotation marks, all the hits were resources for kids. Searching on Adults Learning and Fun yielded a bunch of websites devoted to icebreakers… as though fun can be part of learning, as long as it’s contained at the beginning of the meeting or workshop. And so then I asked myself: “What makes learning fun and how can fun make learning better?” Based on what we know about how adults learn, here are some quick Read more
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy developed this paper to provide a fresh, solutions focused framework to help funders address the pressing issue of nonprofit leadership development in ways that are flexible and appropriate across the diversity of the foundation field. Because EPIP is the funder network that develops new leaders for foundations, we know firsthand how imperative it is for the funding community to invest in the next generation— and all generations—of people who power their work. We all know that foundations are only as effective as the nonprofits they support, and grantees are only as effective as their leadership and Read more
In our 2008—2009 Foundation Operations and Management Survey Report, ASF reported that 63% of the responding foundations have paid staff, including board members who work as staff. An estimated 67% provide their full-time, paid employee(s) with health insurance while 39% provide dental insurance; while 26% provide their part-time, paid employee(s) with health insurance and 13% provide dental insurance. You might consider looking into the following resources.
Should you choose to hire paid staff, compensation must be reasonable and the services provided must be reasonable and necessary for the carrying out the tax-exempt purpose of the private foundation. Compensation may even be provided to a disqualified person (staff or board member) as long as the aforementioned standards are met.
Nonprofit and foundation leaders are held accountable to their stakeholders to make sure they are using their budgets to garner the best results. A strong relationship with quality consultants can help limited budgets go a long way, so it is imperative that you find a consultant who can become valuable member of your team. Simply choosing to hire a consultant isn’t enough to guarantee a successful engagement. You need to clearly communicate your goals and work together to ensure they are met. Here are few guidelines to help you succeed when working with consultants.
By: National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers member’s Molly Penn and Deborah Flood of Penn Flood Consulting In our experience, it is important to describe the process clearly and with uniformity to all prospective consultants so you can do an “apples-to-apples” comparison of their respective approaches. Toward that end, you may want to consider these internal questions we typically ask in our preliminary conversation with a prospect foundation client. Project Goals: First, clarify what you want the consultant to help you with and to what extent those goals overlap. For example, some foundations might want to use the board retreat to Read more
Author: National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG)
At the beginning of September, Paula Jancso Fabiani took over from Marcos Kisil as president of Brazil’s Institute for the Development of Social Investment (IDIS). She talks to Caroline about an advocacy role for IDIS, developing a culture of giving in Brazil, the role of tax incentives, the credibility of NGOs, and the role of women in the country’s non-profit sector. Below, Marcos Kisil talks about the early days of IDIS, the challenges ahead and the leadership transition.
Foundations can enhance the impact of their traditional approaches to social change by harnessing imaginative and even controversial leadership. This Stanford Social Innovation Review article focuses on how Adaptive Leadership can be applied to complex social challenges.
This report, commissioned by the Diversity in Philanthropy Project and the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group, highlights the experiences of REPG members to show what it takes to effectively incorporate racial equity into foundation priorities and systems.
In this online course, gain an overview of the skills, knowledge, and attributes needed to become an effective leader and manager. Learn how to build an exciting, dynamic, productive workplace and how to unleash creative energy in yourself and your staff. Explore techniques for effectively managing staff, boards, and volunteers. Develop a strategic plan for handling difficult employee issues, communicating effectively, and managing time and stress.
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
Bridgespan’s Leadership Development Toolkit, and the leadership development guide, videos, and tools within it, are designed to share stories, lessons, and immediately actionable next steps so that you can effectively work with your senior leadership team to develop the next generation of leaders for your organization.
Pick up any edition of Alliance from the past few years, and one message is clear. In truly unprecedented ways, the global philanthropy sector is on the move, popping up in new places, growing in scale, diversifying in form, and, more than ever before, stretching to tackle the momentous challenges that define our times such as climate change, food and water security, and immigration. While there is much talk of the financial resources needed for success, much less attention is paid to the equally if not more important human resources.
When philanthropy is assessed against seven standards for what constitutes a profession, it meets only 3 of them. Questions remain about the core concepts of the field, and how the field builds and disseminates knowledge. There is much discussion about “scientific philanthropy,” but the inability to answer these questions limits the field’s ability to function scientifically. Wisdom, rigor, and learning may be better approaches to philanthropy that a scientific approach.
This video looks at a variety of issues commonly faced by new program officers as they take up their role — from finding promising ideas to support, to understanding the dynamics of good grantee/grantor relations, to helping grantees collaborate effectively with others.
ABFE brings a new framework on RPBC to realize its mission of promoting effective and Responsive Philanthropy in Black communities. This new template builds upon grantmaking with a racial equity lens but is tailored specifically to grantmaking in and for Black communities. As a result, we have designed a set of defining characteristics of philanthropy that we believe is more likely to reduce gaps in racial disparities facing Blacks in the United States and are looking to partner with grantmakers around the country to apply this framework to their investments.
Grantmakers manage a lot of expectations about their work. We’ve talked with hundreds of grantmakers about what their foundations and grantees expect of them to get their work done – and what they expect of themselves. Our new card deck, a tool we’ve named Roles@work, collects the 29 roles grantmakers mentioned most often. MORE Use the cards to jumpstart a conversation among colleagues about topics like how you weigh different roles, what you do too much of or not enough of, how you orient newcomers, or how you talk about the grantmaker’s role with board members and leaders.
This booklet was created as a guide to inform the philanthropic community about the diverse tasks assigned to – and staffing needs necessary for – the grants management function. It defines the numerous roles of grants management and its importance as the department in a foundation in which program, finance, communications, application, approval and administrative functions overlap.
PRESENTER GUIDE Background on the Presentation In 2013, during its centennial year, the Rockefeller Foundation launched a dialogue on people and talent within philanthropy, bringing together twenty leaders from 16 countries around the world for a symposium at the Bellagio Center entitled “Talent Management for Innovative and Impactful Philanthropy in the 21st Century.” The event’s agenda explored a range of issues, including what skills, experiences, and attributes are most needed in philanthropy today and how an investment in people can contribute greatly to organizational success. Since the Bellagio symposium, participants have remained committed to exploring the issues that the convening Read more
An executive director of a small-staffed foundation juggles many roles: strategic grantmaker, convener, collaborator, and, at times, board wrangler, media spokesperson, technical assistance provider, mediator, and the list goes on. The characteristics described here are both impressive and daunting. They’re a tall order, and, indeed, part of a continual learning journey for even the very best executives. At Exponent Philanthropy, we believe that these skills can be developed, practiced, and honed.
In more than a decade of research on nonprofit leadership, we at The Bridgespan Group have observed little change in the No. 1 organizational concern expressed by boards and CEOs: succession planning. In survey after survey of nonprofit leaders succession planning comes out on top. In fact, it is mentioned twice as often as the next concern.1 Our most recent research provides a clue as to why. Only 30 percent of C-suite roles in the nonprofit sector were filled by internal promotion in the past two years—about half the rate of for-profits.2 Even more concerning, this low promotion rate did Read more
As part of our continuing efforts to help foundations maintain and improve the effectiveness of their work, the Minnesota Council on Foundations has prepared this comprehensive resource to help private, corporate and community/public foundations understand their legal requirements and obligations. This publication and its companion piece, Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations, are key publications in MCF’s Philanthropy & Public Trust series.
This study provided baseline data about the professional and individual characteristics of 440 candidates selected to be the top executive in a grantmaking institution during a five-year study period (2004-2008), and about the hiring patterns of the diverse institutions making these appointments. Most new chief executive officers (79.5 percent) were not hired from within the same foundation. The percentage of external appointments grew in each successive year of the study period. Most new foundation CEOs (67 percent) were not working for a grantmaking institution when they were appointed. This majority made the transition from fields outside of philanthropy, such as Read more
Chances are, you’ve been in this position: The foundation for which you work needs to find consulting expertise to help with a particular project, program, initiative, etc. Everyone agrees that the first step is to develop an RFP so you can get qualified consultants to respond. It’s a thorough, fair, and transparent process. Right? Wrong. Click on the link below to read more.
This brief provides tried and true advice to grantmakers who are considering or seeking outside expertise. Topics include: Reasons grantmakers turn to consultants Components of a successful consultant/grantmaker relationship Ways to use a consultant How to identify possible consultants How to choose and retain a consultants This paper was prepared by Barbara R. Greenberg and Jan Schwartz of The Philanthropic Group, based on their webinar presented for Philantrhopy New York in collaboration with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers.
Author: National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG)
You can use our guides, videos, and cases to foster dialogue with colleagues. We offer several ready-to-go workshops, complete with slide decks and facilitator notes. To help you find discussion-generating activities that fit your group, look at examples of how others have used our guides and videos as a springboard to exploring the craft of grantmaking. The examples can be modified to fit your topic. And a range of tools pulled directly from our guides and videos can help you generate topical content.