Assessing the How of Grantmaking

As grantmakers, most of us pay attention to what we fund—grantmaking strategy and impact—and who we fund—the grantees we support. But what about how we fund? Practices matter. Your grantmaking practices are one of the most public—and sometimes one of the only—expressions of your organizational values that grantseekers experience. How do you want the world to see you?

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , General Grants , Making and Managing Grants









Building Collaboration From the Inside Out

This publication is focused on building an organization’s collaboration muscles. It offers guidance on steps grantmakers and nonprofits can take to adopt a “collaborative mindset” and align values and practice so they can be better partners in collaboration. It is based on research and interviews with grantmakers, nonprofit leaders, technical assistance providers and thought leaders from 2013 through 2015.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Making and Managing Grants, Program Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









Certificate in Grantmaking and Foundations

The Certificate in Grantmaking and Foundations is designed for entry- to mid-level grantmakers, both professional and volunteer. The curriculum provides a structured program built upon the core competencies necessary for philanthropic giving by individuals and grantmaking organizations. This program, the only one of its kind in the United States, addresses a long, unmet need—to train grantmakers to give wisely and with more sophistication. Upon completion of the program, students have: Knowledge of the history of philanthropy in the United States and elsewhere in the world Familiarity with the law, the financial structures, and the nature of nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations Read more

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Catagories: CONTENT PARTNER, Essentials, In-Person Workshop, Making and Managing Grants, Strategy and Evaluation









CMF/JCP Grantmaking Series

For the second year in a row, the Council of Michigan Foundations is pleased to partner with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy to offer the Grantmaking Series, a practitioner-led learning series that teaches the techniques of effective grantmaking to both new and seasoned foundation professionals. The sessions are highly practical, academically rigorous, and designed to be as accessible and affordable as possible. Participants who complete the series will receive a Certificate of Completion. This year, we will offer five live and five on-demand webinars (1.5 hours each). To qualify for the Certificate of Completion, participants of the 2015 Grantmaking Series Read more

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Catagories: CONTENT PARTNER, Developing Your Talent and Leadership, Essentials, Making and Managing Grants, Strategy and Evaluation, Webinar









Consumers Guide to Integrated Software for Community Foundations

GMN is pleased to share the Consumers Guide to Integrated Software for Community Foundations with you. The report was developed by Idealware with support from GMN and the Technology Affinity Group. The Guide looks at the features and processes used by five different integrated software solutions to help community foundations and donor-advised funds manage funds, track grants throughout their life cycles, solicit donations, provide online support for donor advised funds, and tracking accounting data. We hope you find this helpful in your work and will share it with your colleagues. It compares the strengths and weaknesses of the packages, showing Read more

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Catagories: Making and Managing Grants, New Grants Management









Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity

From 2003-2012, the country’s top foundations dedicated only 0.8 percent of total grants to nonprofit leadership development. And yet, as shown by recent historic progress around immigration, criminal justice and other social justice movements, we need leaders who are strong, skilled and connected to successfully realize positive, social change.

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Catagories: Developing Your Talent and Leadership, General Grants , Making and Managing Grants, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









Data at a Foundation’s Fingertips: Creating and Building Dashboards

Idealware is proud to announce the release of our latest report, Data at a Foundation’s Fingertips: Creating and Building Dashboards. Technology Affinity Group (TAG) commissioned us for this report on how foundations use dashboards, which combines insights from conversations with 10 different foundations–including previous research on methods for thinking about data-based decision making–to offer a step-by-step process to design and create your own dashboard. To help you learn from the experiences of those foundations that have gone before you, we also included eight detailed case studies of foundations that have created their own dashboards and what into the design and Read more

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Catagories: Making and Managing Grants, New Grants Management









Due Diligence

Due diligence—the process by which a funder assesses an organization before deciding to invest—can cause anxiety for grantmakers and grantseekers alike. In part, this is because it’s poorly understood. In this guide, we dispel five myths, distinguish between legal compliance and the rest of the due diligence process, and clarify legal requirements.  A publication of Project Streamline – an effort of funders and nonprofits to improve grant application, monitoring and reporting practices. It is a collaborative initiative of the Grants Managers Network, in partnership with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Small Foundations, the Council on Foundations, the Forum Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Making and Managing Grants, Resources









Foundation Grantmaking over the Economic Cycle

American grantmaking foundations must pay out a minimum of 5 percent of their investment assets each year for charitable purposes, and they are penalized for dropping below a five-year average rate with a higher excise tax. These rules, combined with many foundations’ tendency to simply pay out at a fairly constant rate, tend to make foundation grantmaking procyclical: payouts decline during economic downturns. This brief covers a conference discussion on whether grantmaking might productively be made more countercyclical and examines changes in foundation grantmaking between 1997 and 2010, largely based on National Center for Charitable Statistics data.

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Catagories: Essentials, Grantmaking, Making and Managing Grants, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society









Funding Locally

Imagine sustainable change at the grassroots. Imagine giving to address specific issues in specific places while building local communities and infrastructure. Now don’t limit yourself to your hometown or a place where you have roots or relationships. Instead, imagine you can do it anywhere in the world.

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Catagories: Essentials, General Grants , Making and Managing Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Funding the Extraordinary: An Evaluation of the Kresge Foundation Arts and Culture Program’s Institutional Capitalization Grantmaking

This report showcases NFF’s evaluation of 36 capital grants made by the Kresge Foundation to arts organizations between 2010 and 2012. To see two executive summaries that distill findings from this report, see “Building a Culture of Capitalization in Your Organization” and “Recommendations for Capital Grantmakers.”

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Catagories: Issue-Specific Grants, Making and Managing Grants, Program Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









NNCG’s Knowledge Center

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.

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Catagories: Developing Your Talent and Leadership, Essentials, Making and Managing Grants, Online Publication, Strategy and Evaluation









Paper Diet Report

A new way to (not) think about paper In 2010, the amount of paper recovered for recycling averaged 334 pounds for each person living in the U.S., according to the American Forest & Paper Association. And that’s just the paper that was recovered. In 2010, GMN released “Beyond the Recycling Bin: Greening Practices of Grantmakers,” (PDF) which reported on paper use, energy efficiency, and green travel practices of member organizations. GMN’s survey showed that grants managers are overwhelmingly interested in greening practices, and their actions can impact the overall greening of their organizations. The Paper Diet began in 2011 where “Beyond the Recycling Read more

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Catagories: Making and Managing Grants, New Grants Management









Recommendations for Capital Grantmakers

With the generous support of the Kresge Foundation, NFF released two summaries sharing lessons learned on capitalization in the arts sector. The summaries distill findings from NFF’s study of 36 capital grants made by the Kresge Foundation to arts organizations between 2010 and 2012. This summary, Recommendations for Capital Grantmakers, is written for arts funders who are looking to make smart and impactful investments. It includes tips for planning a grantmaking strategy, making the grant match the need, and ensuring that the grant is implemented successfully.

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Catagories: Issue-Specific Grants, Making and Managing Grants, Program Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Making and Managing Grants, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









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.

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Catagories: General Grants , Making and Managing Grants, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









Supporting Social Entrepreneurship

For philanthropists accustomed to more traditional grantees, yet interested in backing these groundbreaking leaders, funding social entrepreneurs can feel like entering uncharted territory. Donors might find themselves intrigued by the potential for change, and yet, at the same time, unsure of what to expect in a field where the unexpected is the norm.   That’s why we wrote this brief guide. Think of it as an introduction to social entrepreneurship. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap series, the guide is designed to help philanthropists evaluate whether they want to include support for social entrepreneurs in their giving or investment programs, and Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Essentials, Making and Managing Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









The 2014 Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits

For more than eight years, Idealware has researched the software that can help nonprofits more easily meet their missions. We’ve interviewed countless nonprofit staff members on hundreds of different topics to gather the impartial information that organizations need to make better decisions, and spent thousands of hours analyzing it to create easy-to-understand overviews. The Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits is the culmination of our work, summarizing all that information into a handy, easy-to-use publication–and we’ve just updated it for 2014. Through straightforward overviews, it helps nonprofits pinpoint the types of software that might be useful for their needs and Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Making and Managing Grants









Three Key Roles Funders Can Play in a CEO Transition

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.

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Catagories: Developing Your Talent and Leadership, General Grants , Governance , Making and Managing Grants









Understanding Software for Program Evaluation

In our increasingly data-driven world, nonprofits need more than ever to be able to measure and monitor the effectiveness of their programs. It’s difficult to improve program services or reach without first measuring current effectiveness. How many meals served at a soup kitchen, the number of students in a mentoring program who graduate high school, the percent of the target population without access to affordable housing—such numbers help organizations identify the areas where they can improve their programs. Like many big-data issues, the sector looks to technology to help with program evaluation. We have donor management databases, case management systems, Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Making and Managing Grants









Vital Funding Part Two: Grantmaking Strategies for Improving LGBTQ Health

Vital Funding Part Two builds upon the rich conversations from the first LGBT Health Funding Summit and Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ special report, Vital Funding – Investing in LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing. This second report identifies several potential strategies for funders concerned about health disparities, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ communities to increase access to insurance coverage for LGBTQ people; build the capacity of the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ health services sector; increase LGBTQ cultural and clinical competence of health service providers and systems; strengthen HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ health policy and advocacy infrastructure; and support efforts to address mental and behavioral health and Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Essentials, Making and Managing Grants, New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









Vital Funding: Investing in LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing

LGBTQ communities face stark health disparities ranging from high rates of HIV/AIDS and cancer to disproportionate levels of substance use and mental health challenges. This report assesses the scale and character of foundation funding addressing the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ communities. Between 2011 and 2013, domestic foundation funding for LGBTQ health totaled $50.4 million. In a rapidly changing landscape for both health policy and LGBTQ issues, funders now have several unique opportunities to achieve lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ communities.

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Catagories: Essentials, Issue-Specific Grants, Making and Managing Grants, New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









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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Catagories: Grantmaking, Making and Managing Grants