As a board member, how can you make sure you bring your best to the table and bring out the best in your foundation? If you understand and embrace these 10 essential roles, you will help ensure that you are fulfilling your duties with wisdom and clarity — and doing your part to advance your foundation’s mission.
Follow these ten steps to help your organization become more inclusive internally and externally. Develop discussion materials that will make your dialogues more inclusive of varying learning styles and literacy levels.
Together the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) and Grants Managers Network (GMN) conducted an information technology survey of grantmaking organizations. The resulting report is designed to empower grantmaking organizations with information on new trends and insights into what peer organizations are doing so that they can make better decisions about the technology they use to support their missions. You can access the 2012 IT Survey Report here.
Results from GMN’s 2015 salary and jobs survey are now available in the 2016 Salary and Jobs Survey Report. More than 300 grants managers contributed to the salary and jobs survey. You’ll find data on– activities, staffing, and structures of grantmaking organizations; qualifications and experience of grants management professionals; compensation and benefits, including salary increases; job responsibilities for executive, supervisory/management, professional, and business support level positions, including specific components of grants management; and career activities and plans of survey respondents. The contents of the report can be used to– prepare for a performance and salary review; benchmark for strategic planning Read more
CEP began asking grantees about their funders’ communications and helpfulness in response to the downturn in the last half of 2009. This report analyzes data gathered from surveys of over 6,000 grantees of 37 foundations.
Bolder Advocacy expands on the final capacity areas from the Advocacy Capacity Tool and present skills, knowledge, and practices that can help funders identify organizations’ capacity for sustainability and long-term advocacy: Organizational Commitment to supporting advocacy work, including leadership commitment for, and staff time dedicated to, this work; Organizational fundraising practices that incorporate an understanding of how foundations can support advocacy and that help funders understand how the group can use advocacy to accomplish its mission; Decision-making structure and process that allows the organization to make timely and well informed decisions related to public policy advocacy; and Fiscal management practices Read more
This guide will help you communicate with a variety of audiences about the importance of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy and help your organization better achieve its mission. The language can be used as a reference or as a template for preparing materials and presentations.
What’s on the agenda for your board this year? Are you covering the bases of good governance? Below, we offer a checklist of annual board to-dos—prepared for foundations that are up and running (not start-ups). *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
This article explores the mix of forces explaining variability in good-governance standards and practices by charitable foundations. A six-drivers framework for explaining improved foundation accountability and transparency is proposed and discussed in the context of a country study. Those drivers are: regulatory pressures, self-regulation, demands for information from donors and other relevant stakeholders, societal pressure derived from scandals, emulation, and third-party assessment. A simple tool for assessing foundation transparency internationally is proposed and then applied to corporate, endowed, and fundraising foundations in the U.S. and Spain. Foundations’ financial structure compounds with institutional factors to influence the stage of development of Read more
On a typical foundation board, what are its members’ most common areas of expertise? How common is it for an original donor — or a family member — to sit on a board? To what extent are board members involved in grantmaking? There are lots of questions out there about foundation governance. Yet there has been little data about foundation boards’ structures and practice. In surveying foundation CEOs as part of a larger benchmarking study, CEP worked closely with BoardSource to design and include questions related to governance to collect and bring to light new data on foundation boards. Benchmarking Read more
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 highlights the considered experiences and views of leading health grant makers across the U.S. concerning some of the key insights they have gleaned about what practices advance or impede diversity in areas ranging from governance and management to grant making and contracting. The presentation is complemented at its close by a number of respondent tips on specific, practical aspects of promoting and managing diversity that readers should find especially valuable.
Beyond Compliance is based on the largest-scale research on foundation boards ever conducted and builds off CEP’s earlier governance report, Foundation Governance. This report reveals the foundation trustee perspective on effective governance, which despite the variety in size and function of grantmaking boards, has five essential factors. MORE The report offers data and findings to help trustees and CEOs utilize foundation governance optimally, with information ranging from racial composition of boards to the amount of information board members read.
This infographic outlines key leadership duties that factor into a strong relationship, including: governance and management responsibilities, board and staff development, and shared tasks and outcomes.
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
Plan for the future of your organization. This tool, taken from The Board Building Cycle can be used by organizations interested in assessing their current make-up or by those preparing to recruit new members. The matrix helps track: areas of expertise and leadership qualities demographic information community connections
A community foundation board has a particular responsibility to identify emerging issues in its community, set funding goals or priorities accordingly, and determine when or if the foundation should act as a leader and convenor. BoardSource’s board self-assessment tool for community foundations is designed to meet the unique needs of a community foundation board by assisting in strengthening the board’s governance practices as well as its ability to respond appropriately as opportunities and challenges arise within its community. It is based on BoardSource’s standard BSA and includes questions on grantmaking and community leadership, funding and public image, and stewardship and Read more
Does your grantmaking organization have a succession plan in place? If you’re struggling with succession—or haven’t dealt with this tricky topic on your board—you’re not alone. In our most recent member survey, we learned that 27% of members have completed their plans, 29% are working on one now, and 39% plan to complete theirs in the future. I probably don’t need to tell you that a sound succession plan approved by your board is very important. Things happen, and simply having a plan in place can make everyone’s life much easier if something were to happen to you or another Read more
Transforming Michigan Philanthropy Through Diversity & Inclusion (TMP) is a six-year research and development effort of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF). A unique experiment, TMP is the only statewide, comprehensive effort to promote diversity and inclusiveness among foundations in the country. Organizational excellence through diversity and inclusion requires an organization to find a goal that resonates with its stakeholders and then create collaborative communities that focus on achieving that goal. This strategy positions an organization to use the full diversity of those stakeholders for tasks such as problem-solving, innovation, quality initiatives, and the acquisition of resources. Diversity and inclusion Read more
Embedded in this case study are three Cool Tools that community foundations can access via the click of a mouse: Milwaukee’s “Good to Great” strategic plan Criteria for selecting leadership projects Metrics used to assess the Foundation’s leadership efforts Read the case study to learn more about: Building a board for leadership Operating from a values base Aligning staff Engaging donors and other co-investors Funding community leadership Increasing impact
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)
FMA’s Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program is the only nationally recognized certification program for existing and aspiring nonprofit accounting and fiscal management professionals. The course, offered in person or online, covers practical skills that can be immediately applied to your day-to-day operations, including: Financial Reporting Internal Controls Budget Development Governance As the only licensed provider of CNAP in New York, Chicago and online FMA holds regular courses taught by instructors with extensive nonprofit financial backgrounds. Learn Philanthropy members are entitled to a special discount of $100 off the cost of both the in-person and online CNAP programs using the code LP2020. Please Read more
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 article, based on interviews with leaders of 10 family foundations, investigates the impact of geographic dispersion on governance, administration, decision making, and grantmaking activities. The greatest challenges for family foundations with dispersed boards involve assembling an appropriate staff, ensuring strong communication between staff and board members, and focusing the organization’s mission. Maintaining family board member interest in the foundation’s geographic area and bridging and strengthening ties between generations were also concerns. In order to maintain family legacies, all case-study foundations found unique ways to overcome challenges and were deliberate in ensuring that board members stayed actively engaged in the Read more
Do you view older adults in your community as a valuable and perhaps untapped asset… or as a population in need of increased philanthropic support? Based on interviews with family funders active in this important, complex and diverse funding area, the answer is a little bit of both, but more of the former than you might think.
Author: National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)
An exit interview allows the board to learn about its own performance and its role as the partner to the organization’s leader. By asking questions related to how it supported the outgoing chief executive, the board will learn what resources or tools the chief executive had — or didn’t have — to successfully lead the organization, and then be able to use that knowledge to address any identified gaps going forward. This resource provides sample exit interview questions.
Leadership in Action Stories provide insight into how community foundations are approaching their community leadership work and putting the community leadership building blocks into practice. These stories illustrate the pathways and elements contained in the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation.
What makes these tools so cool? They were developed and are being used by your community foundation colleagues! And they can help build your community leadership potential. Check out the variety of tools shared by your colleagues to advance community leadership work. Includes: Strategic Plans and Frameworks; Choosing and Timing Community Leadership Opportunities; Diversity and Inclusion; Donor Engagement; and Metrics
This case study examines how organizations are applying evidence-based practices in culturally relevant ways and how local programs are adopting nontraditional approaches to successfully serve communities of color. Considering Culture is the fourth installment in a five-part Race for Results case study series.
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
D5’s self-assessment is a tool for identifying areas of work that your foundation is already engaged in and opportunities for growth. We invite you to complete the assessment to: Capture your foundation’s current situation Spark conversations about DEI and what is possible Identify tangible action steps that will improve your foundation’s effectiveness and strengthen its relevance in our increasingly diverse society
In recent years, philanthropic organizations have made concerted efforts to diversify their leadership, culture, and staff, seeking to become more inclusive and representative. Diversity initiatives have flourished in philanthropic institutions as a result. This paper outlines best practices with proven results that foundations can use to find and create a diverse and inclusive staff and investment advisory team. Readers will learn how to make the business case for more diverse and equitable strategies and link success in this area with investment results. Readers will also learn about the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ Investment Manager Diversity Pledge that foundations and Read more
Foundations are unique among organizations in the enormous latitude they have in determining their work and the manner in which it is done. This flexibility manifests itself particularly in the variety of roles that foundation board members can take. Most of the literature in the field focuses on best practices in board structure and processes. These are necessary in the spirit of responsiveness and legal accountability, but are not sufficient for effectiveness. Achieving role clarity, influence in decision-making and responsibility for impact are three keys to more effective foundation governance. These three attributes can be better understood and achieved by Read more
Nonprofit strategic planning efforts may include a variation or combination of these key elements: current programs and services, statement of mission and purposes, and financial projections. This resource explains the basic elements of strategic planning and highlights common obstacles.
The guide shares and explains the experiences of several institutions that broadened their donor bases, services, and programs by reaching out to diverse communities. The publication focuses on the African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American communities. This guide explores how the philanthropic field has identified, attracted, and invited participation by individuals from culturally defined communities. This is not a handbook with explicit instructions on how to succeed with your outreach efforts: strategies and programs are still evolving; learnings are iterative.
Research over the past two decades repeatedly demonstrates the relationship between poor health outcomes and socioeconomic factors such as poor housing, poverty, racism, and structural inequity. In 2005, the Northwest Health Foundation, supported by the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund, began an initiative to address these social determinants of health (SDOH). A variety of projects – short- and long-term, large and small – were supported over the five-year period for a total of $12.4 million. The mean project-implementation grant was $175,350 and 2½ years in length; capacity-building grants averaged $50,000 for 1½ years. In all, 323 social-determinant accomplishments were identified. The Read more
This report reveals practical insights that can help foundations realize greater effectiveness through increasing inclusivity investments. This piece will prove particularly timely and instructive for funders embarking on the practice of evaluation with a diversity lens (EDL). EDL is an approach to program evaluation that emphasizes the importance of incorporating diverse voices (particularly those of intended program beneficiaries) to identify problems and to engage in program design, implementation, and data analysis.
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
In principle, the role of the foundation board does not differ from that of other nonprofit boards, but foundation boards do have specific challenges, which we address here. A grantmaking foundation is a charitable tax-exempt organization whose primary function is to distribute funds for charitable purposes. Private foundations are typically formed by individuals, families, or corporations. Regardless of whose generosity is benefiting worthy causes, a foundation needs a governing board (or a board of trustees as foundation board members usually are called) because it is structured as a tax-exempt organization.
The Council on Foundations’ Foundation Management Series provides foundation boards and staff with the tools needed to benchmark their practices and operations against peers in the field. Containing data from the Council’s 2009 Foundation Management survey, the series consists of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.
In the first Alliance Audio series, editor Charles Keidan hosts a roundtable discussion with Angela Kail (Head of the Funder Team, New Philanthropy Capital), Cathy Pharoah (Co-Director of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University London), and Jake Hayman (CEO of Ten Years’ Time) on the topic of philanthropy sector payouts. Following on from their pieces in Alliance over the last few months, these philanthropy experts and practitioners discuss the controversial topic of payouts; why they should be imposed, why they should not be imposed, and what they might mean for the sector as it stands at the Read more
Family foundations are often led by family members, generation after generation. But no one is born with the knowledge to run a foundation. In order to ensure smooth transitions, or at least minimize challenges, some critical points must be addressed in the very structure and practice of the family foundation. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
Given the changing demographics of the U.S. and documented racial and ethnic health disparities, behavioral health service providers must look at adapting their services to better meet the needs of their diverse client populations. Grantees implemented three types of cultural adaptations: sociocultural/organizational, structural/ service delivery, and clinical. Most adaptations were not directly related to the specific evidence-based practice and would be relevant in many service-provision settings.
Creating a separate but affiliated fundraising organization — a foundation for the purpose of raising funds — is not for every nonprofit. If your board is considering the option, it is important to identify the various challenges and benefits such a foundation might bring with it.
A new report from Women’s Funding Network, Public interest Projects and TrueChild calls to reinvigorate feminist and social justice philanthropy by grounding it in “gender transformative” approaches. Gender transformative approaches highlight, challenge, and ultimately try to change rigid gender norms and inequities. “Gender” remains a contested term in American philanthropy; donors who say they have a “gender lens” usually mean they prioritize increased funding and opportunities for women and girls. Yet such approaches often leave out men and boys, LGBTQ people, as well as issues of race and class. The report calls for a new philanthropic approach that addresses not 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
Former Gill Foundation Executive Director Rodger MacFarlane describes Gill’s strategic approach to funding the LGBT civil rights movement. He shares details of the Foundation’s strategic planning process and subsequent restructuring to better serve its grantees and advance its mission.
Grantmakers are in a unique position to strengthen the governance of their grantees and nonprofits in their communities. For grantmakers already engaging around issues of good governance, this report provides new ideas to consider and suggestions for enhancing current activities. For grantmakers that are just beginning to engage nonprofits on governance issues, this report presents the case for investing in governance and shares a variety of ways to advance those efforts.
This article explores how Big Brother Big Sisters Metropolitan Chicago, a participant in The Wallace Foundation’s nonprofit financial management program and client of FMA, has utilized greater transparency about their financials, which has led them to make more informed business decisions. (FMA is pleased to share this resource with the permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)
CAAP developed this core publication as a useful tool to enhance your giving. The Guide summarizes basic information on giving options and ways to refresh and improve your giving strategies. The Guide aims to help you practice the art of philanthropy more fully and in a more meaningful way.
Since nonprofit board meetings depend on interaction among people with different values, perspectives, and communication styles, conflict is likely to occur. The impact of this conflict, however, largely depends on how it is handled. Use these key tips to manage conflict in your board meetings and ensure that all board members can have candid and productive discussions.
This research paper by PolicyLink, with Kresge support, examines how housing and development policies affect economic opportunity and community health, reviews recent trends that have increased housing insecurity, surveys practices that link health and housing opportunity, and suggests a reform agenda for policy changes.
Foundation CEOs and trustees share insights and personal stories related to significant paths of change and how they overcame setbacks. Download a copy and gain best practices to help you successfully lead your foundation, boards and staff.
Racial inequities in health care, education, incarceration rates and economic stability have persisted, in spite of federal policies to promote equity. The Denver Foundation launched what is now known as the Inclusiveness Project in 2002 to help nonprofits, including funders, become more inclusive of people of color. The Project defines diversity as one component of inclusiveness; inclusive organizations are defined as learning-centered organizations that value the perspectives and contributions of all people. The Project operates on three levels: individual, organizational and sector. An extensive evaluation has shown that there are impacts at all levels, including increasing the number of people Read more
Not long ago, foundations routinely produced print documents meant to be held and read. Now, with more and more organizations shifting to online publishing, the resulting “publications” are beheld and experienced in different ways than their former print counterparts. As we recently explored in a Communications Network webinar, online publishing is also moving far beyond simply uploading a pdf version of a print document. Instead, the ability to add video, link to other information sources and even invite users to read and post comments, provide opportunities to create online publications that contain content that is both informative and engaging. This Read more
This report provides a concise summary of the East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative, with a focus on how the Annie E. Casey Foundation used innovative financing techniques to support the project. The report provides background on the initiative, which is working to transform an 88-acre area near the Johns Hopkins medical campus that has been hard hit by disinvestment and social problems. The report details transactions that helped finance the initiative and highlights the critical role innovative financing can play in complex redevelopment efforts. The report also offers lessons from these transactions for the philanthropic community, local officials, developers and lenders Read more
This recap of a presentation given at The Communications Network’s 2016 annual conference explains why internal communications are as important and necessary as external communications for the long-term impact and sustainability of your foundation. A framework and suggested activities are offered along with a handout and powerpoint presentation.
Leadership is one of a number of factors that determine the effectiveness of a nonprofit organization’s work. Visionary leaders possess the ability to assess the way things are and then inspire us to help create new solutions. In this sense, leadership does more than set policies and define goals; it creates a paradigm for a better world. This brief guide, part of the Philanthropy Roadmap series, is designed for both emerging and established philanthropists. It sets out five key questions that donors can ask to evaluate leadership.
These first-person accounts from a community foundation’s CEO and the investment advisor provide candid assessments of how they addressed the issue of increasing investment manager diversity. The hope is that by sharing these observations other foundations and their investment advisors will find the courage to discuss and address the issue of investment manager diversity, the hardest taboo to break.
This article offers a theory-of-change framework to help those engaged in social-justice advocacy to reflect on whether social-justice values are being retained in the process. A reproductive rights effort in South Africa provides an example of how social justice values can be lost in the advocacy process. The failure to sustain work on the ground pointed to the need to maintain a base of support even after a policy victory. Strategies must be revisited as social and political contexts change. One of the critical social-justice values that supports the establishment and maintenance of alliances is collaboration, which must continue to Read more
When done well, community leadership can provide enormous benefit for both a community foundation and the community it serves. During this webinar, you will hear how emerging community foundations define their leadership opportunities.
This report chronicles five years of work to build and strengthen relationships between organized philanthropy and Native Americans and First Alaskans in our region. With pictures, poetry and stories, the report explores how Philanthropy Northwest members are seeking to better understand Native history and culture, and to expand opportunities for deeper, strategic philanthropic partnerships between Natives and non-Natives. We hope that this report will spark new and deeper conversations, ultimately increasing the ties between Native communities and philanthropy. Download the full report, and the report’s addendum, “Trends in Giving to Northwest Indian Country.”
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.
The purpose of this two-part article is to enable foundations to increase the leverage of their grantmaking resources by working effectively with the dynamics of complex social systems. This article examines how foundations can align planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts with the behavior of the social systems they seek to improve. Asking powerful questions of staff, board, grantees, and other stakeholders helps to transform how they think about their goals and strategies. In addition to using the power of questioning, foundations function more systemically by suspending their assumptions about their effectiveness and what is possible, creating the cultural shifts needed, Read more
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
This leadership program offers: A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations they serve, combining world-class training and executive coaching. Wisdom from seasoned experts in leadership, organizational development, and philanthropy, plus the collective experience of fellow foundation executives. A small cohort that supports deep connections, real accountability, and a personalized learning experience for each participant.
The Diversity in Philanthropy Project (DPP) was a three-year, voluntary effort of foundation trustees, senior staff, and executives of philanthropy support organizations committed to increasing diversity and inclusive practice across organized philanthropy’s boards, staff, grantmaking, contracting, and investing. DPP had significant achievements, including mobilizing greater commitment among foundation leaders to voluntary action on diversity and enhancing both the knowledge base and data methodologies available for understanding diversity, inclusion, and equity in foundation work. The initiative also faced its share of challenges, including difficulty assessing the impact on the diversity performance of foundations, slow adoption of recommended principles and practices, and Read more
Case studies and new industry data highlight how online and mobile technologies are changing the global cause-funding ecosystem and are providing opportunities for grantmakers, nonprofits, and others to engage more effectively and to increase their impact. This interactive course explores examples that illustrate the necessity of embracing technology, the challenges that organizations face as they implement technology, and opportunities for developing strategic approaches to effectively embark on innovation. Gain a deeper understanding of technology’s strategic importance to measuring, demonstrating, and increasing the impact of your organization. Also, acquire the know-how to improve engagement with global cause-funding ecosystem partners.
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
Enjoyment and meaning in giving begin with individual motivations and values. People with wealth share the challenge all human beings face—how to find your own individual way, your own path toward meaning, while also maintaining a connection to family, community and history. You must stand on your own even as you stand in the great and ever-evolving succession of ancestors and descendants. Philanthropy starts with an inward journey—an exploratory mission into the heart and mind.
Inform Your Practice. Increase Your Impact. Welcome to NNCG’s Knowledge Center — a searchable, online database of resources for and about grantmaking, produced by highly qualified and experienced philanthropy consultants. NNCG’s Knowledge Center contains a wealth of reports, case studies, infographics, issue briefs, videos and more that offer ideas, research and helpful information about almost every aspect of philanthropy. Each item was authored or published by an NNCG member. NNCG constructed the Knowledge Center in partnership with the Foundation Center’s IssueLab — one of the most respected and trusted sources of information in the philanthropic field.
Author: National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG)
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.
Philanthropy can be more effective when foundations reflect the full diversity of the communities we hope to serve and impact. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people are a crucial part of the tapestry of our communities, and a growing number of foundations are seeking to assure that their institutions are welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ people. An important step toward inclusiveness is explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This brief guide is intended to help your institution implement a nondiscrimination and equal opportunity employment policy that is inclusive of sexual Read more
This webinar helps participants better understand and work to optimize their organization’s capital structure, identify key sources and uses of capital, and understand how to budget for and monitor capital grants and expenditures over time.
Since 1994, BoardSource has been conducting the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index, a one-of-a-kind national survey of nonprofit chief executives and board chairs. The Governance Index is the only national survey to gather information from both chief executives and board chairs on their experiences in the boardroom. The Index identifies trends in board composition, policies, and practices as well as provides a detailed view of the challenges nonprofit boards are facing as they conduct their work.
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.
A survey conducted by NTEN and the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation revealed technology-based learning is a critical way in which nonprofits engage their stakeholders, but many are struggling to realize the cost savings of online learning and many lack the expertise to deliver training more advanced than webinars and videos.
Most nonprofit boards understand the potential benefits of board diversity and inclusion, yet many struggle to fulfill the promise offered. This resource provides two fictional case studies designed to highlight the mistakes boards can make when attempting to diversify. By explaining solutions to the problems illustrated in the case studies, this resource can help nonprofit boards grow more conscious and thoughtful about building an inclusive and diverse body.
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.
Giving publicly or anonymously isn’t black or white. Philanthropy is a public expression of personal values and family commitments, with its own set of rewards and rules. Whether or not you “go public” is a matter of strategy and personal style. Ask yourself, given the change you want to see in the world, what’s the right approach? Here are some key considerations behind public and anonymous giving.
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.
It is not a surprise that we are seeing a growing interest among trustees and foundation leaders in mission-related investing (MRI). With over $600 billion in the endowments of U.S. private foundations, it is logical to consider how these funds can be put to use beyond generating income for grantmaking and begin to be a catalyst for social change via investments in market-driven entities. With this guide, Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing, plus other research that has been collected on MRI, there is now a strong body of work that can provide donors, trustees, staff of foundations, and the Read more
The Analysis of Policies, Practices, and Programs for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (full report; executive summary, released in Fall, 2013) is a useful tool for foundation staff, leadership and other members of the philanthropy community who want to take action to advance DEI. It provides a comprehensive scan of existing written and web-based resources from philanthropy and the more general fields of organizational effectiveness and social justice in order to identify existing policies, practices, and tools that can inform and guide philanthropic action.
Why is it that private foundations spend so little of their endowment on mission investing? Is there an opportunity to make it bigger? In this paper you will find an explanation of the barriers to mission investing, also known as Program Related Investment and Mission Related Investment, and a concluding hypothesis about what it will take to help remove the barriers. Educating foundation leadership, building foundation staff expertise, improving data quality and lowering the cost of making a mission investment are all issues to understand and address. If our hypothesis is correct, the time is now to build the necessary data, education Read more
Author: Center for High Impact Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania
As young adults pursue degrees, settle into careers, and start families of their own, participation in a foundation can be far from the top of a to-do list. But this stage of life can be a wonderful time to be involved in the work of a foundation—a rewarding change of pace and a chance for new perspectives, ideas, and enthusiasm at the foundation table. Whether you’re a young adult excited about becoming involved in your family’s foundation or a family member hoping to engage the next generation, where do you start? *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
Historically, organized philanthropy has given scant attention to giving among communities of color; however, as the population changes it is becoming more important to learn about and promote giving in these communities. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation supported the Cultures of Giving (COG) initiative over a five-year period to understand, develop, and support philanthropic giving within and among communities of color. COG began with two major principles of action – advancing strategies, approaches, and tactics of community philanthropy and connecting leaders of color in a community of practice such that they might learn, share, and collaborate with each other. Based Read more
This paper is a review of relevant research related to the civic engagement of Asian-American youth. Little work has been done to understand the civic engagement activities of Asian-American youth. However, unique promoters and barriers to Asian- American youth civic engagement exist, given this group’s distinct historical, cultural, and sociopolitical experiences. Asian-American youth may have two different ethnic and racial identities, and these identities may be related to different kinds of civic engagement. Asian-American students who have a stronger pan-Asian identity are more aware that their fate is linked with other Asian-Americans and therefore are more likely to engage in Read more
Our all-time bestseller with over 175,000 copies sold, this book not only explores the board’s 10 core responsibilities, it also puts them into the context of the governance challenges facing nonprofits today. We clarify and distinguish the board’s responsibilities from those of the chief executive and senior staff. In addition, it includes two appendixes, one covering the individual responsibilities of board members and the other providing a sample self-assessment for individual board members.
This guide is designed to help foundations consider how more diverse and inclusive practices might advance their mission by making their work more effective and more reflective of communities served. By highlighting 10 ways family foundations can approach diversity, this guide seeks to spark ideas and launch further dialogue.
As communications professionals, storytelling is what we do. We do it because it is one of the best ways to evoke an emotional connection to an abstract issue – to put a human face on the messages we convey. However, it’s how the story is framed that matters. Studies in neuroscience and psychology show that while stories can evoke a quick emotional response, carefully framed narratives that appeal to reason are also needed to inspire action. To help people understand this new research and learn more about how to use it in their communications practice we recently held a webinar, Read more
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
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.
For chief executives committed to building a constructive partnership with their board. Whether you are new to the chief executive position or a seasoned leader, you will learn practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job, including: Attending to the overall chief executive/board relationship Building relationships with individual board members, including the board chair Engaging board members without inviting them to micromanage Increasing the effectiveness of your board Sharing the good and bad with your board Working effectively with officers and other small groups of the board, such as committees and task groups
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
The number one responsibility of any board—for-profit or nonprofit—is effective management of the senior executive, especially a new one. Yet, nonprofit leaders often report to Bridgespan that their boards fall short of that goal. Here are five ways nonprofit boards can improve onboarding and their support of new CEOs.
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
The Organizational Effectiveness team at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has developed a Resiliency Guide – a framework for assessing organizational resiliency, and a resource for understanding its characteristics. The tool and accompanying resources are designed to be useful to grantees and grantmakers – hopefully facilitating their dialogue about the challenges of operating in a dynamic context. The Guide and related materials draw on the experience of the Foundation’s program staff and external experts, and incorporate feedback and perspectives from a range of grantees and colleagues.
The Casey video, Leading for Results: Creating the Container, shows how the foundation’s results-based leadership faculty create an environment so meeting participants can effectively focus on achieving measurable results.
Exceptional boards add significant value to their organizations, making discernible differences in their advance on mission. How does a board rise to this level? Are there standards that describe this height of performance? The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards defines governance not as dry, obligatory compliance, but as a creative and collaborative process that supports chief executives, engages board members, and furthers the causes they all serve. The Source enables nonprofit boards to operate at the highest and best use of their collective capacity. Aspirational in nature, these principles offer chief executives a description of an Read more
Find detailed guidance on small foundation governance, grantmaking, tax and legal issues, and financial oversight and investments. Our most comprehensive resource for every trustee and board member. Includes: Updates on recent laws affecting small foundations; Sample documents to save you time and money; The requisite information for an effective trustee — all in one place.
Changes in a nonprofit’s leadership affect the organization’s staff, its board, and potentially how it will achieve its goals. With so much at stake, it’s important that a funder works with the nonprofit it supports to ensure a smooth CEO transition—and help sustain the organization until it gets a new leader.
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.
Following the January 2011 revolt in Tunisia against the regime of President Ben Ali, the country’s transition leaders adopted an open-door approach to foreign aid. An avalanche of mostly uncoordinated aid followed. Donors – private and bilateral – arrived asking questions like, ‘Who is your Mandela?’ They produced an event overload, sponsoring dozens of conferences and hotel-room trainings on identical topics. Funding opportunities and partnerships were concentrated in the capital, Tunis, and in few other parts of the country. Grant applications were often English-only. Talent was drained from local organizations to produce repetitive mappings of civil society for external donors Read more
How do community foundation boards employ strategies that allow them to remain responsive to multiple constituencies (grantors, grantees, community representatives and providers of fiduciary oversight) while steering their organizations with accountability and authority? In March 2004, with a grant from the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund and additional support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, BoardSource and Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs set out to answer that question.
This simple method considers what a partner could potentially contribute, stacks up what a potential partner brings, and represents the value exchange at the heart of the partnership — in a single visual.
This year-long study surfaced two key findings for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion — organizational culture is central; and leaders need support from peer networks. The study also surfaced corresponding practical lessons: Leadership, from the CEO in particular, is critical to advance this work. Changing an organizational culture requires leaders to foster an environment that encourages learning. Talking with board and staff about race, sexual orientation, disability, class and other forms of inequality is difficult and complex, but essential. Experimenting is good, particularly when it comes to policies and practices to recruit and retain diverse candidates. Sharing life experiences builds trust. 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.
To better understand how community foundations can best respond to the current environment, CEP asked donors about how satisfied they are with the community foundations with which they work. What matters most to them? What do these donors want from their community foundations? The research reveals that donor satisfaction is vital for community foundations. Donors who are more satisfied with their community foundation are more likely to indicate that they plan to continue giving and more likely to recommend the foundation to others. The data also show that the strongest predictors of donor satisfaction are donors’ sense of the foundation’s Read more
Communications Network has found that old modes of communication are no longer sufficient on their own, and it’s more important than ever for every member of your team to possess at least a basic knowledge of writing, messaging, branding, etc. They created a guide to help foundations improve their overall communication. There are steps you can take to improve your communications work in this ever-evolving field.
Bringing people together is one of the key roles of philanthropy. It’s important to make sure you have the right people in the room so that the time spent is productive and the outcome is useful for everyone. To ensure you’ve tapped the right players for your next gathering, ask yourself these three questions before you issue invitations: What is our overall goal? What roles are essential to accomplish our goal? How can we make the best use of others?
Video is everywhere. Collectively, we upload 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute. Nonprofits and foundations upload hours of video to their websites, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. It seems like every good cause in the world is either using video or panicking because they haven’t started yet and feel like they’re falling behind. But simply posting video on your site doesn’t guarantee anyone will watch it. This webinar presents 10 critical elements of video production that you can begin applying to your organization’s video today. It all comes down to re-thinking your approach to video, the audience who Read more
Working Towards Diversity IV, released in 2011, paints a comprehensive picture of demographics, policies and practices on diversity and inclusion of Minnesota grantmakers. Survey results and analysis, focus group summaries and highlights from leadership profiles illustrate an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion in philanthropy in the state. The first Working Towards Diversity report was published in 1995. Now in its fourth iteration, this latest research is a mile-marker to help Minnesota grantmakers understand their progress in upholding the values of diversity and inclusion in their organizations, in their grantmaking and in the community.
This free (and fun) video resource covers the rules for private foundations related to working with government officials and ensure legal compliance, and takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. The training features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course in a way that reflects actual experiences. Participants can return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.