2013 Outlook Report

To assess the outlook for grantmaking in Minnesota in 2013, the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) conducted its 2013 Outlook Report survey in October and November of 2012. The survey asked grantmakers to predict how their 2013 giving will compare to 2012. A total of 104 organizations responded, representing 75 percent of annual grantmaking in the state.

Categories: History, Role in Society, Financial Stewardship

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A Handbook for Giving Circle Hosts: Tools and Resources for Developing and Sustaining Giving Circles

The Forum’s handbook of tools and resources for giving circle host organizations, including tools for deciding whether to host a giving circle, key questions to ask and a checklist of giving circle and host duties.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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A Hedgehog Moment: The Roles and Pitfalls of Strategic Philanthropy for Family Foundations and Donors

The growing quantity of giving has not been matched by improved quality. The growth in the quantity of new philanthropy and the search for more effective philanthropy has now produced a “significant moment in the marketization of philanthropy.” A recent outpouring of books by foundation officials, consultants and academics has broadly emphasized the idea that “strategic philanthropy” in some form promises significant improvements. With these books, then, do donors, family foundations, and philanthropy generally have new usable knowledge to meet the challenge of quality grantmaking?

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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About Mission Investing

This resource discusses market-rate and below-market mission investments made by foundations and other mission-based organizations to further their philanthropic goals.  

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Analyzing and Understanding Nonprofit Financial Statements

With corporate accounting practices under increasing scrutiny, it is important for nonprofit managers and board members to familiarize themselves with financial reports and to understand how they reflect the viability of an organization. Learn about financial statements, understand how to use them, and explore the nuances and implications of financial reporting. Coursework addresses both legal and accounting implications for nonprofit organizations, including government entities, universities, schools and colleges, healthcare providers, and other social service programs. CEU: 2

Categories: Laws and Legal Issues, Financial Stewardship

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Capital and Collaboration – Strengthening Community Investment in Smaller, Postindustrial Cities

To better understand the system of community investment, and with the hope of developing interventions that would permit it to achieve greater scale, efficiency, and impact, the authors developed a framework they called “capital absorption.” This work offers potential routes forward for understanding and addressing need in low- and moderate-income communities in postindustrial cities throughout New England.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations

This actionable guide to impact investing will help those new to the field get started. It includes definitions, key questions to consider, resources, and case examples from small foundations across asset classes and issue areas.   This guide was produced in partnership with Mission Investors Exchange and Arabella Advisors.

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Everything You Need to Know About Impact Investing (In 1 Hour!)

It seems like everyone is talking about impact investing these days… but is it right for you and your organization? In this webinar experts will elaborate upon what it is, how to decide if it’s right for your organization and explore some of the the biggest hurdles holding individuals and organizations back from directing funds to impact investing. Industry experts Jean Case, Melanie Audette, and Dan Brillman, who will now be joined by Stacy Donohue and Kate Ahern lead the discussion and share how organizations can unite purpose with profit.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Everything You Need to Know About Impact Investing (In 1 Hour!)

In this webinar experts elaborate on what impact investing is, help you decide if it’s right for your organization, and explore some of the the biggest hurdles holding individuals and organizations back from directing funds to impact investing.  

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Expert Q & A: How can grantmakers best read and analyze nonprofit financial statements?

By: Chad Gorski, Grants & Finance Coordinator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Understand the goal of the statement analysis and consider the risk assessment needs of your organization: What part of the required due diligence process does it fulfill? How much risk is acceptable? What red flags will impact decision-making? Is a ground-up analysis necessary or can third party info be used? See Project Streamline’s guide on Grant Budgets and Financial Reports, which helps grantmakers think through what information is really needed to make a grant. The Due Diligence Done Well guide from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is also very useful. Understand the Read more

Categories: Grantmaking, Online Publication, Financial Stewardship, Ask an Expert

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Five Proven Ways to Use Donor Advised Funds

Through this webinar we explore and discuss the basics of Donor Advised Funds (DAF) with a wide range of topics covering: What is a Donor Advised Fund How does a Donor Advised Fund work How does a Donor Advised Fund differ from a Private Family Foundation Starting a Charitable conversation with your clients and Trends  

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Foundation Expenses and Compensation: How Operating Characteristics Influence Spending

Questions about how much U.S. grantmaking foundations spend on staff, trustees, overhead, and other administrative expenses—and how much is appropriate to spend—are at the forefront of current debates on foundation practices. Over the past several years, stories in the media have spotlighted foundations with questionably high compensation and expenses. In turn, this media scrutiny has prompted action by policymakers to address perceived improprieties. In the foundation field, it has sparked widespread discussion at the national and local levels about what constitutes appropriate practice. Missing from these debates has been adequate information about current practices across a wide spectrum of foundations. Read more

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Foundation Payouts

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

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse

What are the characteristics that make organizations vulnerable, from a capitalization point of view? Too much real estate Too much debt “Under Water” balance sheets and negative liquidity Torturous labor economics Any one “horseman” can make an organization more vulnerable in an uncertain, changing economy. But when these horsemen ride together, they can be fatal. This article by Clara Miller explores our sector’s problematic approach to making financial decisions – and what organizations that are in over their heads can do.

Categories: Grantmaking, Financial Stewardship

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Fundraising Foundations

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.

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Giving in Minnesota

Giving in Minnesota provides a comprehensive analysis of the trends and patterns of giving by organized philanthropy in the state. The report is intended to present the scope of philanthropy in Minnesota to a diverse audience, including nonprofits, the news media, public officials and the general public, as well as to foundations and corporate giving programs. Minnesota Council on Foundations first published Giving in Minnesota in 1976 and has been producing it annually since 1997.

Categories: History, Role in Society, Financial Stewardship

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Grantmaking Strategies: Corporate Philanthropy

In today’s challenging economic environment, it is imperative that a company’s corporate citizenship program be strategic and tied to business goals while also meeting community needs. A company must maximize the impact of its community investments. Learn how to design and implement a strategic program, including writing a philosophy of giving, determining the giving guidelines, structuring the program, and developing a budget.

Categories: Grantmaking, Grants Management, Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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How to Find (or Develop) Impact Investing Deals (webinar)

This impact investing how-to guide is a must for foundations with few or no staff who want to align their investments with their mission. Walk away with a list of resources to explore with your team and grow your knowledge base on the tools available to further your mission.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Hype or Promise: Pairing philanthropy and profit takes work—and smart regulation

(Posted by NFF with permission from Americas Quarterly) The rise of impact investing is not inevitable… Most resources and most investors—whether trustees controlling large assets or individuals with smaller personal accounts—remain locked in a traditional approach that limits the social engagement of market forces and business. At the same time, established policies and regulations, educational opportunities, career paths, capital markets, and language all fail to support their aspirations and practices. In fact, most of the time they get in the way. Realizing the full potential of impact investing requires moving beyond the aggregation of a few inspiring anecdotes to build Read more

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Impact Investing: An Introduction

For many years philanthropy and investing have been thought of as separate disciplines—one championing social change, the other financial gain. The idea that the two approaches could be integrated in the same deals—in essence, delivering a financial return while doing good—struck most philanthropists and most investors as far-fetched.   Not anymore.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Lessons in Financial Management

The following article discusses how FMA and The Wallace Foundation are strengthening and improving the quality of afterschool groups in the Chicago area. Provides a snapshot of capacity-building efforts in one community. (FMA is pleased to share this article with the permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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Life Spans of Charitable Foundations: Arguments for and Against an Assumption of Perpetuity

As foundations struggle with reduced assets in a still declining economy, what are the considerations regarding the current state of foundations and charitable life span? With a range of strategies to consider, how should foundations approach their asset base? Publications by panelist Francie Ostrower and Arthur Schmidt will frame the discussion.

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Mapping the Journey to Impact Investing

Existing resources in the field can provide the technical blueprints for making impact investments; by openly sharing its experiences, the Surdna Foundation hopes this report will serve as a case study for others in the philanthropic community who choose to explore impact investing tailored to their mission and goals, and that it will contribute to collective learning in the fields of mission-related investing and family philanthropy.    

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Mini-Intensive for New Philanthropists and Grantmakers

Immerse yourself in a comprehensive learning experience, and fuel your passion for grantmaking and private philanthropy. Faculty members and guest speakers from across the philanthropic community help you to learn how to give wisely. Explore a variety of funding approaches through presentations, discussions, graded assignments, and problem-solving exercises for groups and individuals. If you are an independent philanthropist, a member of a philanthropic family, or a professional grantmaker with just a few years of experience in grantmaking, this intensive is designed for you.

Categories: History, Role in Society, Mission, Vision and Values, Grantmaking, Grants Management, Models & Approaches, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Issue Specific Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Beyond the Grant , General Grants , Financial Stewardship

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Philanthropic Foundations: Payout and Related Public Policy Issues

Both proponents and opponents of changes in the laws, regulations, and practices of charitable foundations have the same goal: enhancing public well-being through the best use of charitable resources. In the language of investment, that goal implies maximizing the social return on those assets. Measuring the social return on different types of activities and comparing outcomes or even outputs over time, however, is not so easy. Moreover, the issue of how to treat existing foundation assets and activities cannot be separated from the broader issue of the development of the charitable sector as a whole, including the establishment of new Read more

Categories: Laws and Legal Issues, Financial Stewardship

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Philanthropy FAQ: Do I Spend Down or Form a Foundation in Perpetuity?

According to a 2009 Foundation Center report, 12 percent of foundations plan to spend-down their assets, and 63 percent plan to give in perpetuity. What’s surprising is that 25 percent of foundations are undecided. No one likes to dwell on his or her own mortality, but thinking about how you want your philanthropy to be managed after your lifetime is essential.

Categories: Laws and Legal Issues, Financial Stewardship

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Philanthropy FAQ: What Is Impact Investing and Why Should or Shouldn’t Philanthropists Consider It?

Impact investing has become a hot topic among donors and financial investors alike. But what does it mean, and why might you consider it as a philanthropic option? Broadly defined, impact investing means investing capital to generate social impact in a way that also provides monetary returns. These returns may vary from the initial principal amount upward (or, potentially, downward), depending on the nature of the investment.

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing. A Policy and Implementation Guide for Foundation Trustees

The goal of this guide is to provide foundation trustees and, where or when appropriate, staff with a process to create both an overall policy for mission-related investing as well as specific paths for implementation.

Categories: Mission, Vision and Values, Laws and Legal Issues, Financial Stewardship

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Proving Foundation Impact on Public Policy Empirically: The Case of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Consumer Choice for Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Foundations that work on national public policy issues face challenges in demonstrating impact. This case study of how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiative to support choice of program provider for developmentally disabled adults uses some advanced statistical techniques to demonstrate the impact of the foundation’s funding. This study suggests that to get the greatest impact on policy change, foundations should consider offering modest competitive grants to governmental departments; spending the funds in regional groupings; and focus on jurisdictions that have demonstrated interest in the policy area by spending their own funds.

Categories: Laws and Legal Issues, Financial Stewardship

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Rural Fund Development 101:Starting and Growing Rural Community Endowments

Across rural America, people are joining together to do something new and different. They are launching and growing community endowments. Community endowments resemble savings accounts that grow over time. Local residents are using the interest earned on these community endowments—and the local energy and leadership that come from building them—to improve the quality of life for people, organizations and the places they call home. This guide, Rural Fund Development 101, will help you understand the basics of community endowments and how to create one.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Spend-Out Lessons and Tips

Includes lessons and tips on: Developing a spend out budget Managing staff in the final months Building a field of practice Achieving impact in a limited timeframe Responsible exiting principles

Categories: Grantmaking, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Stewarding wealth for the common good: how an Asian family office incorporated climate change mitigation into its portfolio

‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’ So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.

Categories: Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Stewardship Principles for Corporate Foundations

Stewardship principles for corporate grantmakers

Categories: Grantmaking, Financial Stewardship

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Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations

Stewardship principles for Family Foundations.

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Stewardship Principles for Independent Foundations

Stewardship principles and practices for independent foundations.

Categories: Grantmaking, Financial Stewardship

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Ten Nonprofit Funding Models

Through our research, we have identified 10 nonprofit models that are commonly used by the largest nonprofits in the United States. Our intent is not to prescribe a single approach for a given nonprofit to pursue. Instead, we hope to help nonprofit leaders articulate more clearly the models that they believe could support the growth of their organizations, and use that insight to examine the potential and constraints associated with those models.

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story

Beldon’s decision to establish a clear end date set the course for the foundation’s strategy and operations. Decisions about investment, staffing, programs, and preparing grantees for Beldon’s exit all flowed from the simple fact that an immutable closing date existed on the horizon. This monograph, “Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story” PDF, examines how Beldon handled the practical implications of putting the foundation on a ten-year spend-out course while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission. Some of the questions we sought to answer were: How does having a sunset date affect program strategy? What is the appropriate way Read more

Categories: Grantmaking, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Models & Approaches, Financial Stewardship

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Top Ten Finance Essentials for Funders

What we do and how we serve is inspired by our commitment to create a financially strong nonprofit sector that’s better able to serve the community. Throughout our 30 years, we’ve developed some core concepts and philosophies on nonprofit finance that inform all our practices. Our Top Tens, crafted for both nonprofits and funders, give a concise summary of these concepts. Concepts include: benefits of unrestricted funding, business model and business planning, and knowing your role (as either a buyer or builder) as a funder.

Categories: Grantmaking, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Financial Stewardship

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Twelve Activities that Require Extra Oversight

Private foundation trustees and staff oversee countless activities. Several activities—some mandatory, others voluntary—call for additional care. In particular, according to your fellow foundation leaders and the advisors who serve them, missteps happen in conjunction with the following activities more often than elsewhere in foundation work. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only

Categories: Grants Management, Laws and Legal Issues, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Financial Stewardship

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Washington-Area Nonprofit Operating Reserves

This report, funded by the Meyer Foundation, looks at the operating reserves—the cash and other liquid assets—of public charities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Using IRS Form 990 data, the report found that 57 percent had reserves insufficient to cover three months of expenses, a level that many experts consider the minimum necessary for financial stability. This leaves them especially vulnerable to the rapid declines in revenue or increases in expenses that occur in economic downturns like the present. A substantial perecentage of all types and sizes of organizations lacked adequate reserves.

Categories: Financial Stewardship

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Webinar Archive: Common Ways to Engage in Impact Investing

This is the second in a series of three webinars based on Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations, produced in conjunction with our partners at Arabella Advisors and Exponent Philanthropy. This new impact investing how-to guide is a must for foundations with few or no staff who want to align their investments with their mission. In Common Ways to Engage in Impact Investing you will hear about some of the diverse impact investing strategies that small-staffed foundations are putting to use. Foundations employ a variety of tactics, from below-market to market-rate investments, and across asset classes and Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Webinar Archive: Why Foundations of All Sizes Engage in Impact Investing

This is the first in a series of three webinars based on Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations, produced in conjunction with our partners at Arabella Advisors and Exponent Philanthropy. This new impact investing how-to guide is a must for foundations with few or no staff who want to align their investments with their mission. In Why Foundations of All Sizes Engage in Impact Investing, you will hear from small-staffed foundations as they discuss the motivations behind their impact investing programs, the benefits their foundations receive as a result, and the case they had to make to Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Who Manages the Money?: How Foundations Can Democratize Capital

For the past twenty-five years or more there has been a groundswell of activity among investment managers institutional investors, consultants and diversity advocates to democratize capital — that is, to create more opportunities for diverse investment professionals and the firms they lead, to manage institutional capital This effort, grounded in both fiduciary and equity principles, has led to the growth of many diverse investment management firms like Progress Investment Management Company LLC (“Progress”) and others. A range of stakeholders now recognizes that democratization of capital brings a range of positive benefits to our industry and society at large

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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Working with Financial Professionals

Practical advice for finding a good fit with financial professionals. Writers describe recognizing a disconnect between their values and the values of professionals who may have been inherited with the wealth from the prior generation. Tips for being a good client. Tips for managing financial professionals. Two readers share the unorthodox practices of professionals they depend on, letting readers know that there are alternatives to growing principal and reducing taxes as the goals of wealth management.

Categories: Financial Stewardship

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