America’s Giving Style is a breakthrough new report that goes beyond the already available statistics on giving to reveal the heart and soul of what donors are trying to accomplish with their gifts. Its focus is on understanding individuals’ underlying belief systems and motivators of how to effect change, regardless of the issue being addressed. A collaborative study from Bolder Giving and WiserGiving, America’s Giving Style analyzes the strategies and approaches that donors use to solve complex problems through their charitable giving. Most donors are focused on fixing immediate problems but typically will use a combination of strategies to effect long term, sustainable change. Furthermore, most Read more
By: Simon Willis I enjoyed reading the special feature on ‘Talent for philanthropy’. How we staff philanthropic organizations is an important topic for discussion, and it’s incredibly valuable to have carefully grounded contributions calling for increased effectiveness and professionalism for the sector. Click Go To Resource to read more…
The Council is now accepting nominations and applications for the Career Pathways program. The program’s goal is to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline who are considered, appointed, and retained in senior and executive leadership positions in philanthropic organizations.
The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is a one-year intensive learning opportunity tailored specifically for community foundation CEOs to strengthen their ability to step into complex leadership roles in their communities. Through three, small group, face-to-face meetings supplemented by one-on-one coaching, it is designed to strengthen CEO leadership skills and relationships. With a focus on challenging CEOs in positive ways in a supportive peer environment, the Institute is designed to stimulate creativity and inspire “out of the box” thinking. The initial ELI cohort will consist of 15 community foundation leaders drawn from a pool of CEOs from community foundations in older Read more
This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of the Community Leadership Network, a signature CFleads learning opportunity. It makes the case for why peer learning matters: practitioners learn best when they are able to hone and practice their leadership skill in environments that encourage peer learning and exchange.
As part of a multi-tiered effort to advance knowledge and understanding of community leadership, the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundations Leadership Team, in partnership with CFLeads, launched action-oriented Community Leadership Networks. Learn more about these networks here.
Did You Know? Philanthropy is everywhere and impacts our daily lives. Yet as an industry, it is a bit of a mystery. The size, reach and depth of philanthropy in the U.S. may surprise you. How much do you know about it? Answer seven questions to get your score.
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: Karen McNeil-Miller, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Find/Create a network of other African-Americans as one of the many professional/social/personal networks you seek to form. Join and become an active member of ABFE (Association for Black Foundation Executives) Intentionally seek out and request one-on-one conversations with: Several experienced African-American executives to provide perspective; Executive Director of ABFE; Prominent African-American philanthropists in your town. Don’t allow yourself to be viewed as solely responsible to represent and be sensitive to the minority perspective in your foundation.
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
By: Sharna Goldseker, Executive Director at 21/64 From your work across multiple generations in philanthropic organizations, what are you seeing as key learning needs? Much of the work we’ve been doing at 21/64 for the past twelve years coincides with research that shows each generation brings a unique set of values, skills, and experiences to the philanthropic table. The first key learning need is around values clarification, which we believe leads not only to better working relationships among funders but also to more effective philanthropy. Beginning to uncover one’s own values and learn what values motivate others is critical to bridging the generational divide. Often, Read more
By Dara Major, Principal, Dara Major Philanthropy Consulting Over the last century or so of philanthropic practice, multiple pathways for achieving results have emerged. Two of the most widely adopted (and most recently debated) are “strategic” and “emergent” philanthropy. Both have deep roots in the field, as well as a range of adherents and even skeptics. Other approaches in various stages of experimentation, adoption, or rejection include “philanthrocapitalism,” and “venture,” “catalytic,” and “high engagement” philanthropy. What’s a grantmaker to do? Which approach, hybrid, or combination of approaches is right for you/ your program or initiative / your organization? How can Read more
By: Judy Mohraz, trustee, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust 1. Start by getting a handle on the soul of philanthropy, as well as the work of philanthropy. Read the key works, for example: Mark Constantine’s Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination; Joel Fleishman’s book, The Foundation: A Great American Secret; Harvard Business Review articles on strategy written by Mark Kramer, Michael Porter, and others. 2. Get some exposure, if you don’t already have it (and if you do, don’t let it lapse…) to non-profits and the pressure they live under every day. Know the basic mechanics of good governance, in a non-profit context, and the Read more
By: Ann Cramer, director, Americas, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs 1. Get a basic orientation of your own corporate culture, values, and direction – corporate philanthropy and citizenship today is a lot different than employee engagement (volunteerism) with “tee shirts and balloons,” or even community relations and contributions. Use local corporate donor groups as well as the Council on Foundationsand Forum of Regional Associations of Foundations affiliates to learn with and from colleagues. 2. Read some of the really key/basic works. For example: Rosabeth Moss Kanter”s “From Spare Change to Real Change;” The work of Michael Porter, Mark Kramer, John Kania on foundation strategy, collective impact, Read more
Everyone seems to be talking about it. Most say they want it. But who really gets to define impact and for whom? This blog series grew out of a collaborative effort between our team at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and Women Moving Millions.
Author: Center for High Impact Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania
Grantmakers today are doing more than just talking about the connection between leadership and nonprofit performance. They are looking for information and perspective about what works and what others are doing. And, at the same time, pioneers are experimenting with various approaches, sometimes clumsily, but often with success.
Author: Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO)
While much of the research on leadership and leadership development has historically studied private sector settings, recent work has begun to build knowledge about leaders in public and community settings. New models of leadership, including collective leadership, are being developed and implemented by foundations. A framework for identifying the level of intervention (individual, team, organization, network, or system) and the level of impact (individual, team, organization, community, or field of policy and practice) is proposed as a tool for more strategic investing in leadership development.
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.
Leverage the Trust is an effort to identify and engage Black foundation trustees in ABFE’s mission through peer networking and learning opportunities. The work of Leverage the Trust is led by a committee of dedicated trustees of philanthropic institutions that are representative of the diversity of geography, type, and size of grantmaking entities in the sector.
GEO’s Change Agent Project seeks to inspire change in grantmakers so they can help their grantees achieve meaningful results. This report on Phase 1 of GEO’s Change Agent Project delves deeper into what is neccessary to instill change in grantmaking practices. This publication was reprinted in 2010.
Author: Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO)
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
Identifies seven challenges in grantmaking, as well as the practices and skills that can help you meet them: Planning My Work, Organizing for Impact, Working with Grantees, Finding Allies, Making the Grant, Understanding My Role, Leading on the Inside.
Leadership development for foundation executives June 21-December 30, 2015 At Exponent Philanthropy, we know some things about you. You are committed to serving your foundation, your board, and your community. You make it a priority to leverage the most from your time and money. And you often put others first, not always getting around to investing in yourself and your professional development. With you in mind, we developed the Master Juggler Executive Institute, a carefully crafted 6-month program for those in the most senior staff role at their foundations. Program Highlights A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations Read more
EPIP encourages its members to develop a particular set of skills and values necessary to be effective leaders in building a just, equitable, and sustainable society. We promote diverse perspectives and value innovation for meeting societal challenges. Together with human resource professionals, EPIP created the following list of skills vital to EPIP member leadership development. Learn more about: Strategic and Analytical Skills Leadership and Management Skills Communication Skills Decision-Making Skills Innovation and Problem Solving Skills Social Justice and Racial Analysis Skills Influencing and Fundraising Skills And be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter at #EPIPLeaders.
Scott Brazda is executive director of The Stuller Family Foundation. For 16 years, he served as a news and sports anchor at KATC-TV in Lafayette, LA, during which time he won seven Associated Press awards. Scott is a committee member for the United Way of Acadiana and Community Foundation of Acadiana, board member of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and faculty member of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette communications department. Through this blog post he shares his experiences and lessons in seeking perfection in philanthropy.
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.
This article brings together the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 15 years of experience with peer networking— examining through two research studies the process of peer networking and its impact, both with community-based and funder groups. Peer networking helps people with common interests to exchange information, disseminate good practices, and build a leadership structure for work they do together, such as a community change initiative. Casey’s research identified 10 good practices for effective peer networking, as well as 10 challenges that can affect its success; a four-level model was created to provide context for these findings. The research indicates that peer Read more
This study conducted by Forward Change provides a holistic, in-depth picture of the career experiences of 43 philanthropic professionals of color ranging from Program Officers to CEOs working in a diverse array of foundations. The study surfaced a set of potentially common points of entry, career pathways and obstacles of professionals of color in philanthropy, as well as the factors that helped shape those pathways.
Piloted in 2006 through a partnership between EPIP National and EPIP-NY, Philanthropology™ is our unique contribution toward the education and training of the next generation of grantmakers. This curriculum provides EPIP members with an in-depth, critical study of philanthropy and social change. This professional development opportunity is designed to compliment trainings offered by our colleague organizations in the field. EPIP’s current strategy is to offer customized workshops for a particular organization or group. Please contact us for more information if you would like to explore customized training for your foundation or organization.
Philanthropy offers an exciting opportunity to bring your loved ones together to support a common cause. However, getting the best possible results with your philanthropy and preserving the social bonds that are important to you can sometimes require trade-offs.
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.
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.
Scaling solutions, building resilience, catalysing innovation: these are the philanthropy sector’s buzzwords du jour. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these goals – except that the current programme officer position isn’t set up to deliver them. If you want to have social impact, stop thinking of this role as managing a set of grants and instead consider what it means to be a network manager.
By: Megan Murphy, LearnPhilanthropy Project Manager Here at LearnPhilanthropy, we are interested in how you learn as much as providing resources to help you learn. We believe it is important to think about our own learning styles. Having information on different styles and techniques can help us overcome frustration and be more intentional about focusing effort toward learning. Below are some of our favorite TEDx and TED Talks about learning how to learn. Learning How to Learn: Barbara Oakley talks about learning how to use focused energy to learn something new with the Pomodoro Technique. The First 20 Hours: 10,000 hours Read more
Teen Philanthropy Cafe Snackable bites on giving, for teens This series introduces young people to strategic, thoughtful philanthropy, and inspires them toward giving with impact. Families and adults who work with youth can use these guides to facilitate peer discussions and fun activities around giving. On the menu Grantmaking Collaboration in Philanthropy The Path to Impact Leadership for a Changing World The Nonprofit Universe Thoughtful Site Visits Using Your Voice This project is a partnership of Exponent Philanthropy and Youth Philanthropy Connect, with funding by the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation.
For new and potential board members as well as staff and consultants who are new to working with a board. This program is offered through a series of webinars or through a live course. At the conclusion of this certificate program, you will have gained insights, tools, and materials that further your understanding of nonprofit board governance; developed a network of peers for the exchange of information and mutual support; and examined approaches, assumptions, questions, and practices regarding good governance.
Few, if any, roles are more significant in ensuring a foundation’s success than that of the board chair. This may be why many people find assuming this position a daunting prospect. And yet the successful businessperson who serves as chair of a family foundation dedicated to a cause that was dear to his parents’ hearts or the community leader who serves as chair of an independent foundation that provides deserving youth with life-changing opportunities will tell you that few roles are more rewarding. The accomplishments of a foundation that is wisely and conscientiously led can provide its board chair with Read more
The Grantmaking School recognizes that for most grantmakers, working with applicants and proposals is the bread-and-butter of their career and how they spend much of their time. In response, Advanced Proposal Analysis intentionally focuses on the essential skills of proposal review, recommendations, project management, and other core competency areas. We strongly believe that mastering this work is the key to excellence in grantmaking. Key concepts include: Assessing proposals more efficiently, Spotting financial red flags, Finding and closing any gaps in your due diligence process, Using specialty grants within your organization’s mission, Assuring transparent and ethical behavior, Grantee relationship management, and Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
The Grantmaking School created Customized Grantmaker Education to respond to the needs of individual foundations that seek to create a specific culture of grantmaker practice with appropriate knowledge and skills to meet their individual strategies and goals. MORE We utilize select components of our state of the art grantmaker education curricula, foundation specific information, and the expertise of our highly experienced instructors to create a powerful and relevant professional development program that is second to none. Customized Grantmaker Education removes the limitations of time, place, and standardized courses to respond directly to the individualized needs of foundation learning and skill Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
Whether formally or informally, evaluation has been an integral part of foundation work since the early twentieth century. Comprehensive programmatic evaluation helps foundations determine whether funding practices produce intended results, disseminates learning for broader impact, and provides measured context for future work. Evaluation itself is a relatively simple process; however, depending on an organization’s culture, philosophies, and capacity, it can escalate in complexity. The Grantmaking School’s Evaluation for Grantmakers does not simply provide a step-by-step guide to the best practices of evaluation; rather, it deeply examines the history, strategy, design, and theory behind the process and responds to the diverse Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
This course does not attempt to transform program officers into financial professionals. Instead, our intent is to provide grantmakers with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct a comprehensive and effective analysis of organizational and programmatic financial information to improve funding decisions. Key concepts include: Creating a culture of comprehensive grant analysis, The relationship of financial condition to effective grantmaking, Fundamentals of grant financial review and analysis, Connecting grant budgets to funded program activities, The role of organizational capacity in producing program results, and Financial accountability in the post-grant process.
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
Strategy Development in Grantmaking is an intensive two-day learning experience designed to help individual grantmakers and their foundations develop or refine a strategic lens to grantmaking and leverage improved program results for deeper impact. By defining strategic philanthropy and reviewing models and tools for strategy development and implementation, resources will be provided to guide and inform your foundation strategy. You and your colleagues will move through a series of individual and group activities and discussions, allowing for both interactive and personal reflection throughout the session. Key concepts include: Understanding what strategy means within a foundation’s culture and how it applies Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
For board chairs seeking practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job. This training program will help you become an exceptional board leader — one who not only understands his or her roles and responsibilities but who also is a generative and strategic thinker; who asks questions and seeks knowledge to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and threats that affect today’s nonprofits; who empowers the board to move forward and build organizational capacity.
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.
One of BoardSource’s best-selling books, The Nonprofit Board Answer Book provides answers to the most-commonly asked questions about governance.This book is a hands-on guide for board members, chief executives, and others who are charged with leading their organizations. Board members will learn how to be more effective in dealing with everyday challenges; chief executives will gain insight into how to build a strong partnership with their board. We include information on topics that have recently increased in importance, including the new Form 990, dealing with the financial crisis, risk management, and strategic partnerships. Designed to be user-friendly, it is written in an Read more
Certification programs can provide a way for nonprofits to ensure adherence to generally accepted standards. The KH2GO Certification Pilot Project, supported by the Lumina Foundations, developed a set of standards for high-quality college access services, including standards for programming, operations, and organizational effectiveness. The project was implemented in two states with an evaluation designed to assess the quality of the assessment tools and the ease and rigor of implementation. The more clarity that applicants had about the goals of the process, potential benefits, and details about procedures, the more benefits they perceived. Many applicants felt that the self-assessment improved their Read more
Presented by: Caroline Altman Smith and Helen Davis Johnson of the Kresge Foundation Philanthropy can be a complex field. Whether you’re starting your career, transitioning into a new role, or simply want a refresher, let us be your guide. This free, 30-minute webinar will introduce you to essential topics every philanthropic professional should know and give you three strategies for getting more informed about and connected to the field. Click “Go To Resource” to listen to the webinar*, or download the file to view the slides. *Please note that the webinar recording starts a few minutes into the presentation.
By: Michael Moody, Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy These five resources in the LearnPhilanthropy Knowledge Library are ideal starting places for grantmakers involved in family giving in some way – as a trustee or staff of a family foundation or a donor-advised fund, as an individual donor, as a consultant or family advisor, etc. This list also points to some of the primary infrastructure organizations serving family grantmakers, and each source has multiple other resources for family donors who want to dig further. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors: Your Philanthropy Roadmap – The “Philanthropy Read more
By: Dara Major, Principal, Dara Major Philanthropy Consulting The specific learning needs of grantmakers can vary widely – depending on mission, goals, structure and context and, ultimately, individual roles and competencies. We’ve scanned the sector for existing, high-quality learning frameworks that illustrate a range of perspectives on roles and competencies in a variety of operating contexts, with the understanding that most grantmakers work within multiple frameworks. The examples below include a mix of knowledge (what grantmakers should know) and competencies (what grantmakers should be expected to do) – and are useful whether you are an individual program officer new to your Read more
By: Barbara Demarest, strategy consultant, Barbara Demarest Consulting Over the past several years, there has been discussion in the world of philanthropy about failure. Here is a collection of ideas about failure – whether you learn more from it than success, how you learn from it, how organizations look at it, and the importance of failure in achieving eventual success. These different viewpoints on failure and learning come from both the field of philanthropy and from other sectors. Following Up on Failure – from The Chronicle of Philanthropy regarding learning from failure Failing Forward – posted on both Lucy Bernholz’s Philanthropy 2173 and Alliance Magazine’s blog Exploring Read more
By: Exponent Philanthropy Across the country, tens of thousands of foundations, giving circle members, donor advised fund holders, and individual donors are intentionally keeping their operations lean and their ears to the ground. These “lean” funders seek to nimbly maneuver their dollars, skills, and influence to achieve the most good. At Exponent Philanthropy, we’re dedicated to serving funders who choose to give big with few or no staff. We’re pleased to share the following top resources from our shop and trusted colleague organizations. Get up to speed If new to philanthropy or in need of a refresher, turn Read more
How do you make the most of your time and energy? When you hit roadblocks in your career, how do you reroute or overcome them? What role does that secret passion project of yours play in helping you toward a future life that is exciting? Whether you have crystal clear career goals or you’re trying to figure out which way is up, this webinar will provide you with tools for choosing, designing and making the most of side projects. You will learn frameworks to consider possibilities from new angles, hear examples of how side projects can help lead to a Read more
What is your story? Do you have a career narrative? This webinar focused on developing your career narrative for expanding your network, finding jobs, and applying to graduate school. A career narrative or story is critical in building trust as you pursue career transitions. This webinar helped participants understand why they need a career narrative and the five key elements of a career narrative.
Through examples from the field, the publication provides concrete steps grantmakers can take to build a gut-level connection with their stakeholders. Having widespread empathy allows funders to base their decisions and actions on an authentic, firsthand understanding of the perspectives of grantees, community members and other partners. In turn, we become more effective as our work is grounded in more thorough, ground-level knowledge of organizational and community priorities and needs.
Author: Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO)
WiserGiving Style Quiz™ Is your charitable giving consistent with how you like to solve problems? The WiserGiving® Style Quiz presents different ways to impact seven social issues. Which would you fund? Choose up to two per question.
WiserGiving Wizard The Wizard condenses expertise from leading philanthropic, legal, and wealth advisors into valuable insights for you. In just seven questions, the Wizard matches your charitable, financial, and personal goals with the right charitable giving vehicles. Only you will see your answers — be as honest as you can.
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.