“Effective Giving”

In this issue on “Effective Giving” in More than Money, people with surplus income talk about what they’ve learned about giving–what’s satisfying, what’s hard, what makes giving most effective. You’ll hear from “ordinary people,” as well as well known philanthropists. From Steve Kirsch, large-scale venture capitalist with his own multi-million dollar foundation, to Wayne Muller, who advocates giving small and simply on a local scale, this issue invites you to explore the range of available options –and find out what giving effectively means you.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide

Do you know if your communications are working? Have you ever asked? If the answer to both questions is “no,” you’re not alone. Few foundation communicators claim they regularly – if at all – formally evaluate their work. To help, the Communications Network has published Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide. This guide walks users through a nine-step process for creating plans for monitoring and measuring their communications. In addition to step-by-step planning advice, the guide includes several case studies from the Lumina Foundation for Education, The Wallace Foundation and others where the data from evaluation efforts helps Read more

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Can Foundations Train Their Grantees to Be Effective Communicators?

How can foundations assess the effectiveness of training programs designed to help grantees develop effective communications skills? The Hewlett Foundation commissioned a study to explore just this question, and shares lessons learned including: – Make sure participants, and the organizations they’re from, are ready for training and can “put adequate human and financial resources into place to support communications.” – Invite teams, not individuals, to take part in training. – Robust follow-up is key. What people learn in class won’t stick if the lessons aren’t reinforced. and: – Support efforts to integrate communications with program strategy. If foundations really want Read more

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide

GEO and Monitor Institute partnered to release this guide, to explore what it takes for grantmakers to cultivate a network mindset, offer recommendations for how funders can effectively build the capacity of networks and identify five network approaches that are helping grantmakers and social change makers to harness the power of networks.

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Change Incubator Story — What Are Some Whys and Hows of Grantee Inclusion?

One of the goals of this program is for the participants to share their experiences with the broader field. See what grantmakers have learned while developing strategies, particularly as it relates to the principles, practices and benefits of grantmaker-grantee partnerships.

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Coaching and Philanthropy: An Action Guide for Grantmakers

This guide was created as a resource for grantmakers as they explore these and other questions about coaching. The guide has three parts: Master the Basics, Make the Case and Make It Work. The guide also includes examples of grantmakers that have embraced coaching as an important form of support for grantees, as well as recommendations for the field of philanthropy as it seeks to broaden the use and effectiveness of coaching.

Categories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Collaborative Funding for Greater Impact: A Case Study of the Cincinnati Experience

What does it take to bring a diverse group of local and regional grantmakers together to apply for a Social Innovation Fund grant and, on receiving the grant, to design and implement a consensus plan for moving forward on issues of shared concern? Last year, a group of 15 grantmakers launched the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Social Innovation Fund to deliver coordinated funding and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations working to improve outcomes — from cradle to career — for young people in the region. But how does this partnership really work? This guide explains Greater Cincinnati’s story and offers takeaways that Read more

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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CRACKING THE NETWORK CODE: FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR GRANTMAKERS

GEO’s newest publication sets out to crack the code behind the network mystique. In fact, there is a method to working more efficiently and effectively through networks, and a critical first step for grantmakers is adopting a network mindset, which may require dramatic shifts in attitude and behavior for some. Cracking the Network Code outlines four principles that comprise the network mindset, illustrates the principles with a range of examples of networks that have achieved real results, and offers practical questions and recommendations to help grantmakers achieve the benefits and avoid common pitfalls of working through networks.

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Cultivating Change: A Statistical Review of Grantmaking That Impacts the Lives of Black Men and Boy

Based on a survey of 24 foundations distributing 120 grants for black men and boys, the report analyzes foundation and grant characteristics, provides implications for philanthropy, and lists the grants used in the dataset.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Eliminating Discrimination and Inequalities in Access to Water and Sanitation

This policy brief aims to provide guidance on non-discrimination and equality in the context of access to drinking water and sanitation, with a particular focus on women and girls. It also informs readers on the duty of States and responsibilities of non-State actors.

Categories: Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Entering the Lion’s Den: Developing the Skills to Create Long-Lasting Community Improvements

In this video from the Community Leadership Video Catalogue, seasoned leaders share how they affect policy and provide lessons on how to manage the risk.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Equity: is Your Foundation Ready to Invest in Building Opportunity for All?

Research shows that one of the greatest impediments to a prosperous future for all of Michigan’s people is unequal access to resources. To help foundation leaders and their boards begin essential conversations about marginalized populations and determine the extent to which their organization’s culture and grantmaking practices are aligned with a commitment to expanding opportunity in the communities they serve, CMF developed this discussion guide and self-assessment.

Categories: Inclusive Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Evaluating Community Change: A Framework for Grantmakers

Place-based initiatives involve multiple partners joining together to tackle pressing community-wide issues. In order to better understand and quantify the positive impact of these complex, long-term initiatives, this publication offers a framework of measures and potential indicators that can help grantmakers’ evaluating process and ultimately improve their work.

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Expert Q & A: How can African-American philanthropy professionals network more effectively?

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.

Categories: Inclusive Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Getting Started in Philanthropy

Giving Communities is a resource developed by Bolder Giving to help you find communities of donors with whom you share common interests and values. As you start your giving journey, the six questions offered on this website are a great place to begin. With each one, we’ve offered some suggestions or ideas for reflection to help get you started.

Categories: Grantmaking and Changemaking

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How Can We Prepare for Collaboration?

Because collaboration is hard and messy, many grantmakers and nonprofits are uncertain about the best way to move forward. The first step is to look inward and ensure that the right elements are in place. This piece discusses several steps that grantmakers can take to prepare for any type of collaboration.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Investing for Impact: Building the Capacity and Infrastructure of High-Performing Nonprofits

Investing for Impact: Building the Capacity and Infrastructure of High-Performing Nonprofits explores the experience of Social Innovation Fund subgrantees to understand the capacities that enabled these nonprofits to scale up their programs rapidly and the types of support from their intermediary grantmakers that proved most helpful. While the SIF model may differ from other grantmaking, the experiences of subgrantees and intermediaries have much to offer the broader philanthropic community in reinforcing what it takes to grow nonprofit impact.

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Investing in New Orleans

This report tells an important story of the positive role philanthropy can play in developing new communities and affordable housing. The effort of reshaping post-Katrina New Orleans was part of what Casey calls “responsible redevelopment,” the activities and support services required to make the rebuilding process successful for low-income families and their kids through economic development and community action. The paper distills insights from the Foundation’s experience that may be useful to philanthropies and their partners in other places.

Categories: Types of Grants, Strategy and Evaluation, Grantmaking and Changemaking

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Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?

Grantmakers recognize the value of supporting effective, well-led organizations — strong organizations create meaningful changes in the world. To help us understand whether we are making progress in supporting nonprofits in ways that allow them to be successful, GEO conducts field research to track trends in grantmaker practice. In short, we want to know: is grantmaking getting smarter? GEO’s 2014 study highlights some important shifts in how grantmakers support nonprofit results, but also reveals where we’re falling short. To help inform this study, we convened a nonprofit task force and feature the perspective of nonprofit leaders throughout the report to Read more

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter? A National Study of Philanthropic Practice

A comprehensive study of the attitudes and practices of staffed grantmaking foundations in the U.S., which examines the connection between listening to and learning with grantees and improving practices to achieve better results. In light of the global economic downturn, this survey also highlights some of the key shifts in grantmaking since 2008 and what they mean for supporting nonprofit resilience.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Jargon Finder

To help you keep your writing and speaking free of jargon, we are pleased to present Jargon Finder – an online collection of foundation and nonprofit jargon, defined and discussed. Examples include “capacity,” “impact,” and “leverage.” Most of the examples are excerpted from Tony Proscio’s three book-length essays on jargon originally published by The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation: In Other Words; Bad Words for Good; and When Words Fail. The Communications Network thanks the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation for its permission to feature these words on our site.

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Laying the Groundwork for Collective Impact: A Working Paper

This paper offers detailed suggestions for leaders of multisector initiatives working to generate collective impact on local community issues. It focuses on the critical early phases of the work and tackling issues such as poverty, education and workforce preparation. Topics such as cultivating leaders, creating a “backbone” organization, using data, engaging the community and promoting equitable opportunity are discussed. This paper will be of interest to funders, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and civic leaders interested in improving their communities.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Lending, Learning, Leading

This report tells the story of the CDFI Leadership Learning Network, a Casey Foundation initiative to equip leaders of community development finance institutions with the tools of results-based leadership (RBL). The Foundation shares lessons learned from the network, core RBL concepts and profiles of CDFI leaders as they apply RBL skills and tools to the work of their organizations.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Local Donor Collaboration: Lessons from Baltimore and Beyond

This study takes a close look at four Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG) funder cooperative groups that range in style from the relatively simple to the complex. The unique lens of the research is local donor collaboration as seen by the participants and staff themselves. In particular, the research explores three key issues: how local cooperatives begin, what makes them effective and sustainable over time, and the unique role that a regional association can play in furthering funder collaboration.

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Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook

Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook: Leveraging Your Dollars is designed to provide foundations with the information they need to both fund and conduct advocacy. The Playbook provides examples of how foundation investments have generated meaningful policy change, as well as links to other publications and fact sheets that will allow foundation leaders to quickly answer their questions and access additional information. Many nonprofit leaders view advocacy as a tool that advances their mission, empowers their supporters and members, triggers public debate and discussion, and leads to solutions for pressing problems. Active, successful nonprofits with policy goals understand that employing advocacy strategies is perfectly legal including, within limits, tactics Read more

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Program and Communications – Making Good Things Happen Together

Michael Smith, SVP Social Innovation, the Case Foundation, admits he’s a convert to the benefits communications can bring to program work. As he says in this video, in his early days at the foundation, he thought his job was to create program strategy and then hand off his work to the communications team to think about what they can do with it. Not so anymore. Smith says his conversion came after seeing “the real benefits the communications team was bringing to the work we were doing.” While Smith acknowledges his views may not be shared widely by foundation program staff, Read more

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Project Streamline Champions Toolkit

These tools and resources can be used to understand your current practice, make the case for streamlining, benchmark against colleague organizations, and identify opportunities to make meaningful change.

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Sink or Swim? Jumping into the pool of foundation communications

This webinar is designed to give communications practitioners in foundations insight into important things to know about their jobs, including: How important is brand? How do you make things run smoothly? (No staff posting drunken pics from grantee site visit on foundation Facebook page) Do we need a communication plan? What’s my role with other staff and our grantees? How do I know if I am doing a good job? Whether you are brand new to this work or an old hand curious about questions people new to this work bring to their jobs, watch the webinar, listen and learn.

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Smarter Grantmaking in Action: GHR Foundation

Co-designing with grantees and partners from Day 1 can lead to stronger collaborations, flexible solutions and more meaningful impact. GHR Foundation is using its design-build approach to engage at three levels of partnership: direct service, systems change, and global platform.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Smarter Philanthropy for Greater Impact: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale

This sponsored supplement, “Smarter Philanthropy for Greater Impact: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale,” was produced by Stanford Social Innovation Review for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). It was created to capture the latest thinking about how nonprofit organizations, grantmakers, public funders, and social entrepreneurs can increase the impact of successful solutions to urgent social challenges. In the following pages, leaders from across the social sector offer their perspectives on “scaling what works”—what it means, what it takes to do it right, and what needs to happen to ensure that proven and promising solutions find their way to more communities and Read more

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State of the Practice 2011: Survey Finds Use of Digital Communications on Rise In Foundations

Communications professionals at America’s grantmaking foundations are responding to the digital age, according to a new survey from the Communications Network. This survey of 155 foundation communicators shows U.S. foundations are making use of all forms digital communications, especially social media, a top priority. The survey results suggest the growth of social media and other emerging digital technologies is changing the way foundations communicate with target audiences.

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Stepping Up and Stepping Out: Profiles of Philanthropy Responding to an American Crisis

Stepping Up and Stepping Out profiles three philanthropic organizations that are making investments with a specific intent to create opportunities for black males: A Legacy of Tradition, Chicago Community Trust, and Schott Foundation for Public Education.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Stop managing grants. Start managing your network.

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.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Strategic Co-Funding: An Approach for Extended Impact

Co-published by GEO and REDF as an update to REDF’s 2008 article “Out of Philanthropy’s Funding Maze: Roadmap #1, Strategic Co-Funding,” designed to re-introduce the idea of strategic co-funding and highlight effective strategies and current examples.

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity

Capacity building enables nonprofit leaders and organizations to develop the skills and resources they need to improve their work. Since each situation is unique and circumstances are always changing, effective capacity-building support is tailored to best suit the needs of grantees. This publication offers practical guidance and considerations to help grantmakers design an impactful approach.

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Talking to Ourselves? A Critical Look at Annual Reports in Foundation Communications

Communications matters more than ever before for foundations, and to be strategic means making the best use of all your resources and in ways that advance programs, goals, and missions. Annual reports deserve credit from earlier times for helping foundations be more transparent. But over the years they seem to have been saddled with an unrealistic expectation that they can also serve larger strategic communication goals. It’s likely that the work annual reports are expected to do might be better accomplished in other more effective, and perhaps less costly and time-consuming ways. This report was co-produced by the Philanthropy Awareness Read more

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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The DOs and DON’Ts of Working with Local Funders

The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers presents practical guidance for national funders to further relationships and deepen the impact of philanthropic investments made in collaboration with local funders.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Top 5 Starting Places for Family Foundations and Donors

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

Categories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources, Top 5 Lists

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What does effective due diligence look like?

Due diligence is a process that helps grantmakers get to know grantseekers. Typically, it’s seen strictly as a means to ensure an organization’s financial and legal compliance. However, when done well, due diligence has the potential to provide insight into such critical attributes as the role of the organization’s board, the position the nonprofit holds in its field and community, and the level of alignment between our own mission and the goals of the grantseeker. The difficult part of due diligence is in asking the right questions and in a way that makes the most of the nonprofit’s time and Read more

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When is transparency a really bad idea?

Fashions in philanthropy can be every bit as startling as the catwalk: evaluation methods and grantmaking approaches change as fast as hemlines. But onefashion that is probably here to stay (a bit like men’s suits) is transparency, which makes it worth taking a longer look at. Transparency for funders is a helpful idea, but it’s not a panacea. If private foundations and grantmakers think it is, then their attempts to bring a measure of sunlight to a sector shrouded in mist are likely to fail or, much worse, do damage. We need to recognize that glass-pocket principles need to be Read more

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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