Administrative Management Capacity Report

FMA partnered with The Wallace Foundation to conduct a study of the administrative management capacity of organizations providing out-of-school time (OST) services. Based on a sample of 16 high-performing programs in New York City and Chicago, the report concludes that many OST providers need additional investment in administrative management capacity in order to most effectively support, develop and expand their programs. While the study focuses specifically on organizations providing OST programs and services, the report’s lessons and observations should be relevant and useful to the broader nonprofit sector as well. (FMA is pleased to share this report with the permission Read more

Categories: Grantmaking, General Grants 

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Advocacy Capacity Tool

Assessing the capacity of the organizations you fund to deliver on those efforts can be difficult. ACT is a powerful tool for foundations that want to understand and evaluate the skills and readiness of their grantees, identify the specific gaps and opportunities in their own advocacy portfolios, and focus resources where they matter most.

Categories: Grantmaking

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Assessing Nonprofit Networks Prior to Funding: Tools for Foundations to Determine Life Cycle Phase and Function

Foundations and other funders can use life cycle analysis tools to determine a nonprofit network’s stage of development and functional characteristics as a precursor to funding network activities. Characteristics that determine a network’s readiness for funding include network cohesion (trust and communication), cooperation (mutual purpose and goals), and capacity for externally focused action. Network Mindset Survey analysis can help determine a network’s readiness for funding by measuring members’ understanding of the power and utility of networks; degree of membership engagement; identification of specific, common concerns; and readiness for productive action. Three networks that received foundation support for networking principles, mapping, Read more

Categories: Grantmaking

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Building Stronger Nonprofits Through Better Financial Management

Weak financial management hinders nonprofits, including after-school organizations. This research publication examines early results of a Wallace Foundation capacity building program FMA is providing Chicago area after school programs. The report gives insight into the participant organization financial management conditions and identifies that they are making “encouraging progress” to: understand their full program costs; improve monitoring of program expenses and meet monthly expenses in prompt fashion. (FMA is pleased to share this report with the permission of The Wallace Foundation.)

Categories: Grantmaking

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Grantmaking Should Be Grounded in Real Costs

This article explores what needs to be done in order to ensure that effective grantmaking is grounded in understanding the real costs of operating individual nonprofit organizations.  This article was originally published as Pay-What-It-Takes-Philanthropy, published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review in June of 2016.

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In-Depth Knowledge on Working with Grantees

To many nonprofits, foundation operations are shrouded in mystery. Because prospective grantees are seeking funding from foundations, there may be a perceived power imbalance. However, building strong and effective relationships with grantees can help foundations develop new knowledge and insights into issues, and to test and scale innovative strategies. Open communication, approachability, sharing lessons learned, and collaborative evaluation are key to developing strong partnerships with grantees. Resources are free or for Council members. Grantmaking Application Process Resource Guide: A Grantmaking Primer Tips for Effective Grantee Relations Exiting Responsibly: Best Donor Practices in Ending Field Support The Sustainability Formula: How Nonprofit Read more

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Interview: Fay Twersky

The philanthropy programme at the Hewlett Foundation is changing. Fay Twersky, director of its Effective Philanthropy Group, tells Caroline Hartnell how and why. She talks about Hewlett’s new emphasis on ‘two-way openness’ and collaboration and the need to create incentives to encourage foundations and grantees to be more open. Finally, she offers her views on ‘emergent philanthropy’ and effective altruism.

Categories: Grantmaking, Grants Management

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NNCG’s Knowledge Center

NNCG’s Knowledge Center is 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.

Categories: Grantmaking

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Nonprofit Due Diligence: Donor Decision Tool

Deciding the level of nonprofit research your grant warrants will help you focus on the most important questions and be efficient with your time (and the potential grantee’s). On this webpage are a list of documents that focus on varying degrees of research. Choose the “Light-Touch Approach” for grants that are smaller or less critical, then move to a more intensive approach as your grant warrants.  

Categories: Grantmaking

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Sharpen Your Focus – 5 Questions That Will Improve Your Grantmaking

Giving money away is a complicated business, but Putnam Consulting Group has found a few simple questions that can bring a lot of clarity to the process. The questions are straightforward, but they lead to deep issues that can have a profound impact on the way you direct your grantmaking. As you consider your next initiative, take some time to ask these questions.

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Tactics in Philanthropy: The Case of the Moving Spotlight

In philanthropy, tactics are about choices of style and method in making grants or loans. They can be as significant in foundation program design and management as substantive strategic choices. The author describes the tactical pattern of “the Moving Spotlight.” He concludes that tactical principles can provide internal discipline for private foundations. Self-discipline deserves close and explicit attention from foundation trustees, managers, and staff because it is nearly the only kind available to them.

Categories: Grantmaking

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The Resiliency Guide

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.

Categories: Grantmaking

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