“I’m not Rockefeller”: 33 High Net Worth Philanthropists Discuss Their Approach to Giving

This report describes findings from a study conducted by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy to determine how high net worth philanthropists are making their gift choices and the limitations they confront.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Mission and Values









A Call to Action: Organizing to Increase the Effectiveness and Impact of Foundation Grantmaking

Many nonprofit organizations are constantly struggling to find enough resources to make their organizations more effective and sustainable. A Call to Action illustrates how the lack of core operating support is at the center of this struggle. It tells of the needs and aspirations of nonprofits by enabling them, in their own words, to share their stories. Printed copies are available for purchase.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









A Model for Multilevel Advocacy Evaluation

The Colorado Trust provided three years of general operating support to nine advocacy organizations working to increase access to health through policy change work. The nine grantees had a variety of goals and strategies and had different levels of organizational capacity, but were evaluated using a uniform evaluation approach. The evaluation was designed to build grantees’ own evaluation capacity to incorporate real-time feedback, monitor progress toward goals, and to assess growth in the overall health advocacy community in Colorado. Individual grantees identified short- and intermediate- term outcomes related to The Trust’s intermediate outcomes, which were in turn related to the Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, New Standards, Codes, and Ethics









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

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking









Advanced Mini-Intensive in Grantmaking

This course includes an in-depth analysis of evaluation models; proposal assessments; funder-grantee relationships and models, especially as they apply to particular funding areas and values-based grantmaking; changes in the philanthropy law and environment; and participant-presented case studies. Course content is updated based upon recommendations of the larger philanthropy field and past participants. The course is coordinated by Richard Marker, an internationally known thought leader in the grantmaking and philanthropy field. He is joined in class by several highly respected and prominent philanthropy experts. CEU: 4

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , General Grants , Grantmaking, In-Person Workshop, Issue-Specific Grants, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Learning and Evaluation









Advocacy Capacity Tool

This tool helps assess organizational advocacy capacity by taking a snapshot of an organization’s skills, knowledge, and resources, and by providing analysis of the results. Comparisons to other organizations will be available after a database is established.

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, New Grants Management









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

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Attitudes and Practices Concerning Effective Philanthropy

If efforts to strengthen philanthropy are to be effective, they must be informed by reliable data on the current state of the field. In 2003, the Urban Institute conducted a survey of 1,192 grantmaking foundations in order to construct a wide-ranging and rigorous portrait of attitudes and practices concerning effective philanthropy in the foundation field. The survey results tell us a great deal about how foundations see themselves, how they function, and whether they are fully functioning in the ways that they feel they should be. The specific attitudes and practices covered in the survey fall under the following general Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society









Bolder Giving Workbook

How do you figure out how much to give? Whether you wrestle with this question yourself or are helping other givers, the Bolder Giving Workbook offers unique perspectives and step-by-step guidance. Enjoy articles, exercises, and stories from amazing givers.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Mission and Values









Building Financial Strength & Program Quality: A case on grant making to strengthen organizations in a field

Work alongside a grantmaker who created a new program to strengthen community foundations – building both their financial wealth and the effectiveness of their programs. What choices would you have made? Highlights: Choosing a strategy; Shaping a new program initiative; Using an RFP to advace your goals.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking









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.)

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Building teams for innovation: a response to ‘Talent for Philanthropy’

By: Simon Willis I enjoyed reading the special feature on ‘Talent for philanthropy’. How we staff philanthropic organizations is an important topic for discussion, and it’s incredibly valuable to have carefully grounded contributions calling for increased effectiveness and professionalism for the sector. Click Go To Resource to read more…

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









Case for Change Capital in the Arts

Explore a series of written and video materials on the need for capital in the arts. This series conveys stories and lessons learned from NFF’s $15 million Leading for the Future Initiative, the first national Initiative to deploy a specific kind of investment – change capital – to help arts organizations adapt their programming, operations and finances to thrive in a changed and changing economic and cultural landscape. Ten artistically excellent performing arts nonprofits are working with NFF over five years to develop and implement plans for achieving this transformation. Nearly three years into this exciting Initiative, we now have Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









Case Study: Central Minnesota Community Foundation: Creating a Community Leadership Compass

Creating a Community Leadership Compass is a case study that describes the Central Minnesota Community Foundation’s transformative path into community leadership work. It looks at how the board and staff worked together to create a vision and framework for community leadership and at early community leadership efforts. It also includes criteria developed by the foundation for embarking on community leadership projects.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Case Study: Greater Milwaukee Foundation: Built for Leadership

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

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Governance , Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide

GEO and Monitor Institute partnered to release Catalyzing Networks for Social Change, 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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Mission and Values, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Celebrating 100 Years of Community Foundations: Stories and Lessons from 35 Years of Supporting the Community Foundation Field

The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation in the U.S. This milestone brings with it both increased attention to the field of community philanthropy and the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of these institutions to the communities they serve. The goal of this microsite is to share what the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has learned in more than 35 years of supporting the field, offer key insights, and highlight our legacy of partnering with community foundations in a way that advances the vital work they do to strengthen their communities.  

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Online Publication, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Resources









Center for Community Foundation Excellence Series

These courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field in short order. You’ll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field, to help you work more effectively.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Governance , Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Children’s Futures: Lessons From a Second-Generation Community Change Initiative

This article describes Children’s Futures, a 10-year initiative in Trenton, N.J., that seeks to improve the health and well-being of children from 0 to 3 years old and ensure that they are ready for school. During the first five years, the initiative was successful in implementing a number of evidence-based practices to improve children’s health, such as providing home visits to pregnant women, measuring and improving the quality of day care centers, and improving the use of information systems to track childhood immunizations. Efforts to provide services for fathers and improve home-based child care were not successful; these are areas Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources









Community Building for Children’s Health: Lessons From Community Partnerships for Healthy Children

This article describes Community Partnerships for Healthy Children (CPHC), a 10-year, $17 million initiative of the Sierra Health Foundation targeted at improving children’s health in northern California by mobilizing communities to use their assets. Implementation grants were modest ($50,000 annually), but technical assistance and communications support were also provided. The initiative rolled out in four phases. Overall, a total of 31 communities participated in the initiative. Twenty-six communities remained through phase three, with 18 engaging in the final fourth phase. Evidence indicates that CPHC improved the health of some children in some communities with regard to some outcomes, but did Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









Community Leadership Framework Toolbox

A tool for community foundations for using the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation. It can help your community foundation: Understand community leadership Assess your community leadership strengths and challenges Plan new community leadership work Analyze past and current community leadership efforts.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Conversations with Remarkable Givers

“Conversations with Remarkable Givers” is a groundbreaking, free video series of frank and candid conversations with more than 60 remarkable, results-oriented philanthropists, providing unprecedented access to their strategic thinking, insights, and wisdom.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Creative Giving

A comprehensive look at giving. Who gives, how much, where to, and why. Sprinkled with statistics and analysis, powerful individual stories describe giving outside the lines. Writers talk about giving money unconventionally, seeking ways to give, and seeking gift recipients by their own rules, not according to established giving norms. Some giving alleviates the loneliness often endemic to inheritors. Others seek to share the joy in giving. Models for giving beyond that which supports culture, arts, education and policy institutions that serve the donors lifestyle. Compare your giving habits: amounts, causes, mechanisms, and goals.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, Mission and Values, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Critical Issues in General Operating Support Volume 2: Assessing the Impact

Many grantmakers agree that general operating support can boost effectiveness and impact for nonprofits. At the same time, however, the field continues to struggle to answer a question that has become a significant barrier to the wider use of general operating support: How are we going to measure its impact? GEO’s review of grantmaker practices suggests some answers.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Program Learning and Evaluation









Developing Foundation-University-Grantee Collaboratives as a Model for High-Impact Philanthropy

This article reports on results from the Weingart Foundation’s Urban School Districts Reform Initiative. The goal of the initiative was to improve urban education, and ultimately raise student achievement, by supporting sustainable reforms in school districts educating high numbers of low-income students. The Weingart Foundation determined the scale and scope of the effort, and set forth specific goals and timelines; the districts were invited to propose projects that were organic and integrated into their own strategic plans. Based on research conducted by an intermediary, potential grantees were identified; six grantees were interviewed about their strategic plan priorities and four were Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Diversity, Inclusion, and Effective Philanthropy

Philanthropists who want to increase impact and reduce waste are turning to diversity and inclusion as tools for effective giving. Good intentions do not make for philanthropic success on their own. Blind spots cost philanthropists – and the causes they espouse – dearly. A gift can be given for the right reasons to the wrong group. A grant can be generously dispersed, but without careful research. An investment in a social enterprise with great promise can be rendered impotent by a misguided business plan. To make the most of their philanthropic dollars, donors practice due diligence. Staff, advisors and even Read more

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Catagories: Essentials, Grantmaking, New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









Donor Decision Tool: How to Research a Nonprofit

What is the best way to research, or perform due diligence on, a nonprofit organization you’re considering funding? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including how much you already know about the organization, the size of your grant, and its importance to the nonprofit, among other things. You will want to balance the extent of your effort with respect for the busy leaders of these organizations. To get started, just answer the questions you’ll find in this tool. We’ll recommend a tailored research plan based on your responses. Includes: Due Diligence guide Site Visit guide Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking









Donor Decision Tool: Questions to Ask When Researching a Nonprofit

Whether you are a donor or a grantmaker, as you embark on getting to know your potential grantees, you may find it helpful to keep this guide with key questions pertaining to: Strategy and results Leadership Financials Organization and operations The guide also includes a worksheet to help you keep track of your progress and there is a supplemental resource here: http://learnphilanthropy.org/donor-decision-tool-research-nonprofit/

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources









Donor Education Seminar

This donor education seminar is an invitation-only, purely educational effort to inform participants about the latest research, biggest ideas and best efforts underway in four key areas: 1) Access to food; 2) Housing; 3) Health; 4) Economic success for vulnerable families. On Sunday, November 7th and Monday, November 8th, 2010, we brought together experts in these four areas to highlight proven, high impact strategies that individuals can implement to achieve greater impact through their giving. We believe this seminar represents a new approach to donor education that provides information that people cannot get easily or anywhere else in a safe Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









Donor Profile: Dwayne Steele Inspires a Hawaiian Renaissance

Is it possible to help preserve a language and culture that is not your own? Dwayne Steele worked together with local Hawaiians to reverse the decline in native Hawaiian speakers and catalyze a broad cultural preservation movement.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









Donor Profile: The Hilton Foundation Sees a Need — and Finds a Partner

According to Steven Rothstein, president of the Perkins School for the Blind, if it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a “big village” to raise a child with disabilities. It also takes a donor with a special kind of focus, patience, and willingness to learn.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values









Donor Profile: The Lynch Foundation and Teach For America: How Philanthropy Can Help Ideas Become Reality

Peter and Carolyn Lynch take a portfolio approach to their philanthropy, and Teach For America is just one example of how they’re returning outsized impact for their investment dollars.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, Program Learning and Evaluation









Donor Profile: Brian Olson Lays New Groundwork for Charter Schools

Too often, it’s not the academics that bring down a charter school; it’s the building. Together with Civic Builders, hedge fund manager Brian Olson is offering leases to charter schools—under one condition.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Program Learning and Evaluation









Donor Profile: Carrie Avery and the Durfee Foundation – Honoring Family Values, while Forging New Paths

With an innovative sabbatical program for nonprofit leaders, Carrie Avery is translating her grandfather’s values into the third generation of family involvement with Durfee.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Donor Profile: Jeff Walker and NPower: Building on Existing Success

Philanthropist Jeff Walker began with a desire to help nonprofits struggling with technology, discovered that a nonprofit with a similar mission already existed, and built it into a thriving national network.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Program Learning and Evaluation









Donor Profile: Pam Omidyar and the Science of Giving

Pam Omidyar’s philanthropic work—including founding or co-founding with her husband, Pierre, the Omidyar Network, Hope Lab, and Humanity United—demonstrates how she has translated her passions into social change. Includes: International philanthropy, Microfinance, Medical philanthropy.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Program Learning and Evaluation









Donor Profile: The Buffetts Find “The Sound”

What would you do with one billion dollars? Jennifer and Peter Buffett were faced with this extraordinary challenge and opportunity.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









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









Due Diligence Done Well

The challenge for you as a grantmaker is to learn as much as you can about potential grantees without asking for more information than you really need and, as a result, placing an added burden on the nonprofit organizations you work with. Learn about effective due diligence and how to create a grantee-friendly approach to information gathering that enhances communication, trust and confidence.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Effective Giving

It takes time and experience to learn how to give effectively, but the journey can be fun and rewarding. In this issue, 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.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Mission and Values, Program Learning and Evaluation









Effective Giving

It takes time and experience to learn how to give effectively, but the journey can be fun and rewarding. In this issue, 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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









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

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









Families Step Up to Meet Economic Crisis

Based on what family foundations are telling us they are doing, NCFP offers the following 10 steps you can consider during a tough economic climate.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Governance , Grantmaking









Family Foundation Sample Documents

Explore a curated collection of templates designed to assist with Family Foundation operations.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources









Family Foundations

Many tales from the family foundation frontlines. Lots of cartoons supporting stories of challenging family dynamics en route to matching funding decisions to personal values. First person descriptions of decision-making styles both affirming and autocratic; conflict between generations; upsetting the family order. Also, stories of family foundations structured to welcome input from all who wish to participate, foundations reorganized and given to community leaders, and creative cooperation in finding areas to fund.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Final Impact Assessment

During its time-limited lifespan, the Beldon Fund sought to maximize its impact with focused investments in environmental advocacy and health. The Fund pursued three unique but interrelated strategies to advance positive change on the issues it cared about: 1) Build capacity and clout, 2) Support civic engagement, 3) Broaden the base of support. A fourth strategy, Giving more than grants, supplemented the three main strategies. To pursue these strategies, the Beldon Fund developed two program areas through which it made long-term grants: 1) the Key States Program, which invested in building long-term sustainable infrastructure, capacity, and tools in a limited Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Online Publication, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Financial Reporting Done Right

Financial Reporting Done Right introduces a new way of financial reporting that improves transparency around how organizations manage their capital resources. While conventional accounting and reporting treat capital and revenue in the same way, NFF recommends that nonprofits make straightforward adjustments for capital that better reveal their true operating performance and progress.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Financial SCAN (Situation and Comparables Analysis)

Assessing a nonprofit’s financial health is time-consuming and challenging. Which metrics and trends should you focus on and what do they mean? What should you consider when comparing organizations? NFF and GuideStar have partnered to create Financial SCAN, an affordable, web-based way for nonprofits to show a clear, comprehensive picture of their financial condition and history. Financial SCAN brings meaning and insight to financial information, helping organizations make the connection between money and mission in financial reporting, communications and planning. Learn more about how grantmakers use Financial SCAN reports as part of their own due diligence, and view a product Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management









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









Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

The philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Print Publication









Foundations for Civic Impact: Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit for Community Foundations

This toolkit is a collaborative project of Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI), CFLeads, Council on Foundations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It provides provide practical advice and essential knowledge to help community foundations integrate public policy practices into their everyday leadership work to achieve greater community impact.

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits









Four Essentials for Evaluation

GEO created this guide to help grantmakers get to the next level in their evaluation efforts. Four Essentials for Evaluation builds on our previous publication, Evaluation in Philanthropy, to offer grantmakers a practical perspective on how to build or strengthen the capacity of their organizations to tap the transformative power of evaluation for learning. This guide provides grantmakers with ideas, insights and examples from their peers to help them develop and strengthen the following four essential elements that are part of any successful evaluation approach: lead, plan, organize and share.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Program Learning and Evaluation









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.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Grantmaking









Getting Results in Nonprofits and Philanthropy: Key Lessons in Strategy, Funding, and Leadership

An effective nonprofit sector can be a powerful force for change as well as a source of human inspiration. Three key levers can influence a nonprofit’s effectiveness and, ultimately, its ability to have impact: solid strategy; access to the necessary funding, and talent that begins with leaders and senior managers. This book shares The Bridgespan Group’s best thinking from the past 10 years on these key levers. The articles examine such essential topics as identifying nonprofit funding models, building stronger management teams, and creating plans to accomplish nonprofit goals.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









Give Smart Content Library

Getting real, lasting results from your philanthropic giving requires planning, strategy, realism and partnership. Whether you’re new to philanthropy or farther along, the materials in the Give Smart library can help guide you in your philanthropic journey.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Mission and Values, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Program Learning and Evaluation









Giving Circle Facilitation Guide

This guide will equip you to be a rockstar giving circle leader by taking you step-by-step through your philanthropic journey, from rallying a group to celebrating your grant.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Giving More Than Grants

As a foundation with an ambitious policy agenda and limited time frame, Beldon needed to be more than a grantmaker. Beldon founder John Hunting strongly believed that marshaling the foundation’s non-financial resources – its expertise and experience, convening power, influence with other funders, and the capacity to broker relationships among grantees – was key to creating lasting change.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Giving Toolkit: Give More/How Much Could You Give During Your Lifetime?

This worksheet will enable you to reflect on how much giving you could do personally, as well as influence in your lifetime. This includes the amount you might fundraise, plus the amount of giving others might do because of your influence.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Mission and Values









Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is a diverse community of more than 500 grantmakers reshaping the way philanthropy operates to invest in nonprofit success. Mission: Understanding that grantmakers are successful only to the extent that their grantees achieve meaningful results, GEO promotes strategies and practices that contribute to grantee success. Nonprofits are successful at achieving more meaningful change in our communities when they have the resources and skills to be effective. By not adequately responding to what nonprofits say they need most to maximize impact, funders can inadvertently do harm to the organizations and causes we intend to support. Changing grantmaker Read more




Grantmaking Strategies

Designed for grantmakers, this interactive workshop provides an introduction to the grantmaking process using the case-study method. Topics covered include setting priorities, developing a style and mission for your foundation, establishing constructive parameters and ground rules, and measuring the impact of your grants. Also, discuss the role of needs assessment and organizational capacity.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









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.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship, Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Program Learning and Evaluation









Great Power, Great Responsibility: Grantmakers’ Role as Conveners

Funders are finding ways to use the power of convening to benefit their grantees and their communities in countless ways. GEO’s digital publication contains a series of ideas to help grantmakers become better at bringing stakeholders together.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Greater Openness About Finances

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.)

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Catagories: Communications , Grantmaking









Guide to Arab American Giving and Workbook

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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Mission and Values, New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









Healthy Reserves Are No Accident

FMA’s Founder and Managing Director, Hilda H. Polanco discusses the value of maintaining healthy reserves: “Whether to be used as a ‘rainy-day fund,’ to help smooth out transitions during turbulent times, or to leverage an opportunity in a strategic push, few will question the value of a strong balance sheet defined by ample, liquid unrestricted net assets.” (FMA is pleased to share this resource with the permission of Philanthropy Journal.)

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking









High Impact Holiday Giving

Around the world, the end of the year marks a time of reflection, celebration, and giving. In the United States alone, roughly 25% of philanthropic giving will happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Whether a donor has $10 or $10,000 to contribute, high-impact giving means using that money to do the most good. Our year-end giving guidance highlights seven high-impact opportunities for giving, based on evidence of results and cost-effectiveness. We’ve also provided resources that donors can use to ensure that they are achieving their greatest impact year-round. 

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









How Much to Give?

It is challenging to define how much is enough to give. Enough is subjective, arbitrary. Trying to apply a formula is ultimately unsatisfying, as the circumstances surrounding wealth are different for everyone. This issue details specific creative approaches for individuals arriving at their own definition of how much is enough to give.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









How To Guide: Getting Better Over Time

To be a successful philanthropist, you’ll need to make good decisions about how to spend your money, time and influence. Here’s advice on how to do just that. Three practices will help you stay on track: Measure your grantees’ performance thoughtfully. Request and reflect on data that can inform decision-making. Ask: are my grantees and their programs getting results? How can I help them do better? Ensure your philanthropic strategy is tied to grantee strategies. Ask: Do my grantees’ results contribute to the overall success I am aiming for? Am I clear on how? Take into account external factors. What Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Program Learning and Evaluation









Impact investing in a democracy: A response to ‘Markets for Good: removing the barriers’

When I first started out in social impact investing, it was hard to find anyone writing or talking about it (apart from my boss at Venturesome, John Kingston). But the tables have turned, and in the recent Alliance special feature, ‘Markets for good: removing the barriers’, we had not just one article but several from around the globe! It’s a joy to think that the field is now at a point that such an esteemed and diverse group of contributors can come together and debate the issues raised by Monitor Inclusive Markets’ report Beyond the Pioneer: Getting inclusive industries to Read more

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









In Search of Impact: Practices and Perceptions in Foundations’ Provision of Program and Operating Grants to Nonprofit

Informs the debate on operating support with new data about current foundation practices, attitudes underlying those practices, and the impact on grantees of foundation choices. The report explores what motivates foundation CEOs in their decision-making, examining the tension between CEOs’ sense of what is best for their foundations and what they believe will make the most positive impact on grantee organizations. In Search of Impact also probes the grantee perspective through an analysis of thousands of survey responses and a set of interviews with nonprofit leaders, revealing the importance of other grant attributes that have been overshadowed in the debate Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Inheriting a Grant Portfolio: A case on grant making in water management

Put yourself in the shoes of a grant maker who takes over a longstanding program, only to learn that it needs to be slimmed down and made more effective. This case surveys the landscape, then lets you decide what to do. Highlights: Reviewing what has gone before; Identifying a new focus and direction; Making your first decisions.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









International Programming, Local Development, and Youth: An Experience in Northeast Brazil

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation funded a 10-year program of local development work in selected geographic areas in Northeast Brazil from 1997 – 2007. This article reports on program achievements and difficulties, and examines the ways in which the practices of the foundation facilitated and obstructed advances in the local development initiatives. Two main strategies were used: direct funding granted to organizations in the targeted regions and the creation of a comprehensive support system (e.g., youth projects funds, capacity-building in leadership and evaluation, and transfer of expertise from organizations). A team of foundation staff and consultants worked closely to create Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, New Grants Management









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.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Investing In Leadership Volume 1: A Grantmaker’s Framework for Understanding Nonprofit Leadership Development

Ask any grantmaker about the distinguishing characteristics of strong and effective nonprofit organizations, and the conversation inevitably will turn to leadership. But what kind of leadership do nonprofits need, and what role can grantmakers play in strengthening leadership development in the sector? Given the vast literature on leadership development and the challenges of translating research and theory into practice, this publication explores a sampling of the leadership development literature.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









Investing in Nonprofit Leaders

Strong leaders play an essential role in the success of nonprofit organizations, and as funders, your accomplishments hinge on theirs. By taking steps to support nonprofit leaders, you can bolster the organizations you trust, support the issues you care most about, and further your mission in a meaningful way. Includes: Why focus on leadership? Obstacles to strong, successful leaders Seeing your grantees clearly: tools and tips Grantmaking to support leadership

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Catagories: General Grants , Grantmaking









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

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Jewish Giving Circle Facilitation Guide

We understand that faith-based giving circles will look a little different from regular giving circles. We’ve incorporated teachings from Judaism into our Facilitation Guide to help you make the most of your Jewish giving circle.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Justin Laing on Successful Foundation-Grantee Relationships

Heinz Endowment Program Officer Justin Laing discusses keys to successful funder-grantee relationships with Philanthromedia’s Susan Herr.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Program Learning and Evaluation









Key to Long Term Financial Health: Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets

This article suggests strategies and solutions for long-term fiscal health. As FMA’s Managing Director Hilda H. Polanco, notes, “…Everyone knows that these have been difficult times for nonprofits. Our own research at Fiscal Management Associates and countless other surveys by intermediaries and industry associations find that nonprofits have been struggling with cutbacks in government funding, reduced corporate and foundation grantmaking, and weakened individual giving. “These fiscal pressures have led, in many cases, to annual operating deficits and emergency use of endowment funds or other financial reserves – if nonprofits had any to begin with. While there is widespread agreement about Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking









Learn and Let Learn

This publication explores how learning communities can be powerful tools in creating and shaping peer connections that help expand knowledge, deepen skills and enhance practice. Learn and Let Learn offers key insights for grantmakers drawn from six in-depth case studies of learning communities gathered for GEO’s Scaling What Works initiative by the Research Center for Leadership in Action at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking









Leveraging Grantmaking: Understanding the Dynamics of Complex Social Systems

The nonobvious interrelationships among elements in a complex system often thwart people’s best intentions to sustainably improve system performance. The complex, nonlinear problems that most foundations address can be solved most effectively by thinking systemically instead of linearly about these problems. Systems thinking offers a range of analytic tools to improve our capacity to think systemically, including ways to distinguish problem symptoms from root causes, reinforcing and balancing feedback, system archetypes, mental models, and system purpose and goals. Applying these tools enables us to target high leverage interventions that can lead to sustainable, system-wide improvement. These tools can be applied Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Listen, Learn, Lead: Grantmaker Practices That Support Nonprofit Results

GEO’s Change Agent Project seeks to inspire change in grantmakers so they can help their grantees achieve meaningful results. This report on Phase 1 of GEO’s Change Agent Project delves deeper into what is neccessary to instill change in grantmaking practices. This publication was reprinted in 2010.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career









Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money: Managing in For-Profits’ Shadow Universe

This article by Clara Miller looks at the rules of money and finance that govern the nonprofit sector in comparison to those in the for-profit sector. Test your knowledge of nonprofit finance – and the contortions that tie nonprofits up in knots.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Many Hands, More Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in Supporting Movements

GEO has prepared a publication that provides a framework for understanding the array of roles that funders can play in supporting movements and networks. Many Hands, More Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in Supporting Movements offers an orientation to some of the inherent benefits and barriers to supporting movements and provides insight into ways that grantmakers can explore collaborative efforts for social change.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









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.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship, General Grants , Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Program Learning and Evaluation









National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

The Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™. – See more at: http://www.cof.org/content/national-standards-us-community-foundations#sthash.X8jvRu5S.dpuf

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Standards, Codes, and Ethics









Next-Generation Philanthropy: Examining a Next-Generation Jewish Philanthropic Network

As a result of mobility, philanthropy among a Millennial group of Jewish donors is becoming divorced from the communities in which their parents live. This group’s members generally perceive themselves as thinking and acting more strategically than past generations. They expect philanthropic organizations to operate with increased transparency, and those entities will need to adapt to these expectations in order to thrive. The characteristics that define the Millennial generation – open-mindedness, a desire for meaningful employment and philanthropic activity, technological adeptness, innovation – are changing philanthropy. Despite those changes, philanthropic priorities among families remain substantially constant and transcend generations.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









NextGen Philanthropy Curriculum

Set sail with GCF Philanthropy Training, our portfolio of resources to help you navigate the murky, unknown waters of giving. Our online Philanthropy Curriculum guides you through Why Give, Finding Your Passion and Evaluating an Organization.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









NFF Capital Partners Portfolio Performance Report 2011: Philanthropic Equity in Action

Since 2006, Nonprofit Finance Fund Capital Partners has supported 18 campaigns for philanthropic equity, totaling $326 million in financial investments. This report analyzes the role of philanthropic equity in the nonprofit sector, results generated to-date by philanthropic equity investments, and key challenges to developing a robust capital marketplace for philanthropic equity. The Role of Philanthropic Equity in the Nonprofit Sector: Many nonprofits with strong programs and great results fail to thrive. One reason is the way the sector is currently financed. Nonprofits are rewarded for keeping margins tight, and few have access to the type of capital needed to explore Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









On The Money: A Review of Key Financial Challenges Facing Nonprofits Today — and How Grantmakers Can Help

Despite a wave of interest in recent years in what it takes to build stronger, more effective nonprofits, the sector as a whole still suffers from a chronic case of financial stress that inhibits effectiveness. Philanthropy can be a part of the problem, but also a part of the solution.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









Philanthropy FAQ: What Are The Five Most Common Traps I Should Avoid In My Philanthropy?

Discusses five common traps philanthropic decision makers make – and how to avoid them.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Program Learning and Evaluation









Place-Based Philanthropy: Investing in Community Change

Families engaged in philanthropy may view their giving through a variety of lenses. Some pay particular attention to the family’s legacy of giving, some focus on a particular issue or cause, and many choose to limit their grantmaking to a specific city, state or region. A growing number of family foundations have taken this commitment to geographic location to another level, and made the strategic decision to engage in place-based philanthropy, dedicating the majority of their giving and personal involvement in a specific community.

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Catagories: Governance , Grantmaking









Program-Related Investments

Most often associated with the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, which pioneered their use, Program Related Investments (PRIs) have become more common as the assets of foundations have increased. From 1998 to 1999, PRI authorizations nationally jumped from $203 million to $267 million—a rise of 31 percent. Still, PRIs represent only a small percentage of foundations’ awards; in 1999, the nation’s 50,000 foundations distributed $23 billion in the form of grants. This chapter explores why a foundation such as Robert Wood Johnson, with more than $8 billion in assets at the time this chapter was prepared, would make a Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Project Streamline: Grant Budgets and Financial Reporting

This guide addresses a single—if not simple—question: How can funders minimize financial reporting requirements for nonprofit organizations, while still carrying out proper financial due diligence?

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Project Streamline: Make Streamlining Stick

This framework illustrates the four basic phases that many grantmakers move through as they streamline and suggests activities and questions that can propel your process forward.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Project Streamline: Practices That Matter

The cumulative impact of grantmakers’ varied application and reporting requirements undermines nonprofit effectiveness, causing grantseekers to devote too much time to seeking funding (often without payoff) and reporting on grants (often without benefit) to the detriment of their mission-based work. Awareness is translating into streamlining action for many grantmakers. Yet our 2013 assessment reveals that, while nonprofits have noticed changes, all still encounter time-wasting practices. While 77 percent of donors have taken steps to simplify things, fundraisers say they don’t feel much of a change. Based on what matters most to grantseekers, as well as understanding of what keeps grantmakers from implementing streamlining and the context of other pressures Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Project Streamline: Right-Sizing Guide

Right-sizing is the concept that one size might not fit all when it comes to application and reporting. When grantmaking is right-sized, the information requirements are proportionate to the size of the grant, are appropriate to the type of grant, and take into consideration prior relationships with grantees.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, New Grants Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Reflection on Practice Video: Starting as a New Grantmaker

This video looks at a variety of issues commonly faced by new program officers as they take up their role — from finding promising ideas to support, to understanding the dynamics of good grantee/grantor relations, to helping grantees collaborate effectively with others.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Human Resources , Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career









Reframing the Conversation: A GEO Briefing Paper Series on Growing Social Impact

Conversations on scale and innovation continue to dominate philanthropic discourse as the social sector forges new ways to achieve greater impact with limited resources. Motivated by the desire to explore and expand upon current approaches to growing social impact, invite wider participation in the scaling conversation, and showcase practical examples and peer-to-peer advice, we developed this briefing paper series as part of the Scaling What Works initiative. The collection pulls together the best thinking, research and actionable approaches to scaling impact, and provides additional resources for grantmakers that want to dive deeper into paper concepts and questions.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships provides matching grants for innovative community-based projects aimed at improving the health and health care of underserved and vulnerable populations. The premise underlying Local Funding Partnerships has remained constant over its 25 years—by collaborating with local funders instead of acting alone, RWJF could improve the health and health care of Americans, while getting a larger return on its investment.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants









Setting the record straight: debunking philanthropic myths

Although much has been written about ‘what donors believe’ and ‘how modern foundations work’, hard data about how private foundation donors view themselves, their roles, and the non-profits they support is relatively scarce. With almost 1,200 US-based private foundation clients, Foundation Source is well positioned to put some of the common assumptions about this sector to the test. Last November, we carried out a survey of our clients that debunked some of philanthropy’s most established axioms – especially those relating to foundation attitudes to non-profits.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropy's History, Role in Society









Should we be afraid?

At the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy blog, posted his five ‘scariest’ trends in philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends, we wondered, or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? We asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. In spite of Callahan’s injunction to ‘be afraid’, few of them seem inclined to quake in their boots, even where they see similar tendencies Read more

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Catagories: Governance , Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Smarter Grantmaking in Challenging Economic Times: Insights for Foundation Leaders

We have produced this briefing, based on conversations we’ve had with hundreds of grantmakers, to provide foundation leaders with a framework and considerations to help guide decisions about how best to support grantees.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking









Social Impact Bonds: Analysis of a Mechanism for Financing Social Program Expansions

Little is known in the United States about social impact bonds (SIBs), which are relatively complicated and expensive instruments for bringing evidence-based social programs to scale. They require an effective partnering by government, service providers, coordinating intermediaries, and socially conscious investors. A research team at McKinsey & Co. studied the potential of social impact bonds in the United States, in particular for financing the expansion of proven programs in homelessness and crime prevention. The team also created tools for stakeholders—investors, nonprofits, government agencies, and others—to help them determine whether SIBs are instruments they should consider.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









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

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









Stewardship Principles for Corporate Foundations

Stewardship principles for corporate grantmakers

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Grantmaking









Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations

Stewardship principles for Family Foundations.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Grantmaking









Stewardship Principles for Independent Foundations

Stewardship principles and practices for independent foundations.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Grantmaking









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









Strategic or emergent: why are we stuck in the swimming pool?

Gerry Salole, chief executive of the European Foundation Centre, once commented: ‘Philanthropy tends to get stuck in the swimming pool, when the real action is in the sea.’ The recent controversy about strategic philanthropy and the newly coined (or as it turns out not so newly coined) emergent strategic philanthropy seems to be a storm in the swimming pool. Responses to John Kania, Mark Kramer and Patty Russell’s ‘Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World’, published in the summer issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, have come largely from the US and from people who write regularly about philanthropy. Many Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World

To solve today’s complex social problems, foundations need to shift from the prevailing model of strategic philanthropy that attempts to predict outcomes to an emergent model that better fits the realities of creating social change in a complex world.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









TEDx: Amplify the Money You Give

The word “philanthropist” evokes the names of billionaire donors – Rockefeller, Gates, Pew – but in reality, most charitable giving comes from regular people giving smaller amounts. How can you, the non-billionaire, do the most good with what you give? Kat Rosqueta shows how to become a high-impact philanthropist, with a few tips for getting more engaged with your donations – one dollar, one cause, at a time. She believes the word is not just for Rockefellers; rather, a philanthropist is anyone who gives money, time, or skill with the goal of helping make the world better, at any scale.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Resources









Teen Philanthropy Cafe

Teen Philanthropy Cafe Snackable bites on giving, for teens This series introduces young people to strategic, thoughtful philanthropy, and inspires them toward giving with impact. Families and adults who work with youth can use these guides to facilitate peer discussions and fun activities around giving. On the menu Grantmaking Collaboration in Philanthropy The Path to Impact Leadership for a Changing World The Nonprofit Universe Thoughtful Site Visits Using Your Voice This project is a partnership of Exponent Philanthropy and Youth Philanthropy Connect, with funding by the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

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.

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Catagories: Governance , Grantmaking









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

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









The Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics: A Field Guide for Funders

The Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics brings together and updates the information, guidance, and tips found in Grantmaking Basics I and II with more essential tools for grantmakers. This book is a practical guide to honing your grantmaking effectiveness and adapting to the changing nonprofit world. It tells you how to evaluate your results and how to educate new board members. You will also have a step-by-step guide to setting a path to success by aligning mission, vision, goals, and strategy.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









The Donor-Grantee Trap: How Ineffective Collaboration Undermines Philanthropic Results for Society, and What Can Be Done About It

A guide for nonprofit leaders, their boards, and their donors.Scarce resources (both money and time) are routinely wasted in the critical linkage between donor and grantee. As a consequence, our communities—the causes and constituents we are trying to serve—are being unnecessarily shortchanged.What’s needed is more effective donor-grantee collaboration, so that philanthropists and the nonprofit organizations they support can get the absolute most from every scarce dollar they invest. Reduced to the essentials, there are three imperatives of true collaboration—for which both donors and grantees must share responsibility.The Donor-Grantee Trap details each imperative in turn. It is written for nonprofit executives, Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









The Grantmaking School: Advanced Proposal Analysis

The Grantmaking School recognizes that for most grantmakers, working with applicants and proposals is the bread-and-butter of their career and how they spend much of their time. In response, Advanced Proposal Analysis intentionally focuses on the essential skills of proposal review, recommendations, project management, and other core competency areas. We strongly believe that mastering this work is the key to excellence in grantmaking. Key concepts include: Assessing proposals more efficiently, Spotting financial red flags, Finding and closing any gaps in your due diligence process, Using specialty grants within your organization’s mission, Assuring transparent and ethical behavior, Grantee relationship management, and Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









The Grantmaking School: Customized Grantmaker Education

The Grantmaking School created Customized Grantmaker Education to respond to the needs of individual foundations that seek to create a specific culture of grantmaker practice with appropriate knowledge and skills to meet their individual strategies and goals. MORE We utilize select components of our state of the art grantmaker education curricula, foundation specific information, and the expertise of our highly experienced instructors to create a powerful and relevant professional development program that is second to none. Customized Grantmaker Education removes the limitations of time, place, and standardized courses to respond directly to the individualized needs of foundation learning and skill Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









The Grantmaking School: Grant Financial Analysis

This course does not attempt to transform program officers into financial professionals. Instead, our intent is to provide grantmakers with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct a comprehensive and effective analysis of organizational and programmatic financial information to improve funding decisions. Key concepts include: Creating a culture of comprehensive grant analysis, The relationship of financial condition to effective grantmaking, Fundamentals of grant financial review and analysis, Connecting grant budgets to funded program activities, The role of organizational capacity in producing program results, and Financial accountability in the post-grant process.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, New Grants Management, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









The Grantmaking School: Strategy Development in Grantmaking

Strategy Development in Grantmaking is an intensive two-day learning experience designed to help individual grantmakers and their foundations develop or refine a strategic lens to grantmaking and leverage improved program results for deeper impact. By defining strategic philanthropy and reviewing models and tools for strategy development and implementation, resources will be provided to guide and inform your foundation strategy. You and your colleagues will move through a series of individual and group activities and discussions, allowing for both interactive and personal reflection throughout the session. Key concepts include: Understanding what strategy means  within a foundation’s culture and how it applies Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, New Grants Management, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team









The Power to Produce Wonders: First Ever Report to Examine the Value of Family Participation in Philanthropy

Based on two years of research, this report is the first ever in-depth examination of the value of family philanthropy to the family, to communities and to democracy.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Program Learning and Evaluation









The Smarter Grantmaking Playbook

We know that grantmakers who understand and act in the best interest of grantees achieve better results. Practicing smarter grantmaking can make the difference between pretty good performance and achieving the best possible results. But, where should you start? Take smarter steps forward in your grantmaking with The Smarter Grantmaking Playbook. Find the answers you seek to more than 50 common questions captured from your GEO peers. Receive a primer on the grantmaking practices that are most supportive of nonprofit success. Turn knowledge into action with practical tools, frameworks and related resources that you can share with your colleagues to Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, New Grants Management









The State of Multi-Year Funding 2011

Looking at the 2011 data, The State of Multi-Year Funding found that nearly 90 percent of the top U.S. foundations in the sample did not report any multi-year grantmaking in 2011, which is consistent with results from previous years’ analyses.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









The Trustee Handbook

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.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Governance , Grantmaking, Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, New Grants Management, New Standards, Codes, and Ethics









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

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career, New Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Philanthropic Models & Approaches, Resources, Top 5 Lists









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.

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









Voices From the Field III: Lessons and Challenges for Foundations Based on Two Decades of Community-Change Efforts

Building upon a previously published volume on Comprehensive Community Initiatives, this article focuses upon the implications for foundations of what has been learned about CCIs. CCIs can demonstrate increased community capacity and improved outcomes for some residents in their target neighborhoods, but they cannot demonstrate population-level change in key indicators of well-being. Five key questions about the role of funders and how they engage in community change are posed and discussed. Deep engagement in the community; thoughtful collaboration among funders of various types and sizes; the willingness to use other resources, capacities and tools in addition to grants; and using Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking









What can philanthropy do for Syria?

The war in Syria is now in its fourth year. It has cost over 200,000 lives, put 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country (USAID) and displaced 10 million, more than 3 million of whom have fled abroad as refugees. All of this has earned Syria a number of unappealing superlatives: ‘the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era’ (UNHCR); the creator of the ‘worst refugee crisis since the second world war’ (The Economist); and the world’s ‘worst crisis for children’ (UN). With a few notable exceptions, however, western philanthropists have not engaged in Syria.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Issue-Specific Grants, Mission and Values, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society









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









What Every Grantmaker Should Know & Frequently Asked Legal Questions

As part of our continuing efforts to help foundations maintain and improve the effectiveness of their work, the Minnesota Council on Foundations has prepared this comprehensive resource to help private, corporate and community/public foundations understand their legal requirements and obligations. This publication and its companion piece, Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations, are key publications in MCF’s Philanthropy & Public Trust series.

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Catagories: Financial Stewardship, Governance , Grantmaking, Human Resources , Legal Issues, Foundations, and Nonprofits, New Standards, Codes, and Ethics









What Is My Giving Style?

If you were to ask a donor, “What type of donor are you,” he or she might pause and respond with another question: “What kinds of donors are there?” A number of observers of philanthropy have written about different types of philanthropists. While categorizing donors into types may be useful, most philanthropists’ gifts will fall along a spectrum of giving styles. Donors may find themselves pulled to supporting direct services and write a check to an organization whose sole purpose is to feed the hungry. Later, they may be moved to make a gift that addresses the root causes of Read more

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









What Makes Giving Satisfying

Allen Hancock opens the issue with a personal vignette highlighting the need to create a proactive giving plan. Letters to the Editor make their first appearance, enhancing the magazine’s community feeling. Reader’s Views depict the challenges inherent in finding or creating satisfying opportunities for giving. An academic perspective classifying types of giving styles is offered, as are opportunities for ‘team giving,’ democratizing funding choices by involving others in funding decisions, using foundations to identify individual activists, and tips for creating donor-advised funds.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









What Makes Giving Satisfying?

Allen Hancock opens the issue with a personal vignette highlighting the need to create a proactive giving plan. Letters to the Editor make their first appearance, enhancing the magazine’s community feeling. Reader’s Views depict the challenges inherent in finding or creating satisfying opportunities for giving. An academic perspective classifying types of giving styles is offered, as are opportunities for ‘team giving,’ democratizing funding choices by involving others in funding decisions, using foundations to identify individual activists, and tips for creating donor-advised funds.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches









Why do dictators lock up the poets first?

Why should philanthropists fund the arts? Some have argued that as art is of lesser importance than basics like food, shelter, health and so forth, there is no justification for funding art until world hunger is solved. How then can one justify spending on so-called high arts? Can the arts be seen as effective tools to bring about personal and social change? Is art transformative? Our subject for this Alliance special feature is philanthropy’s attitudes to and role in funding ‘arts and social change’.

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Catagories: Grantmaking









WIDESPREAD EMPATHY: 5 STEPS TO ACHIEVING GREATER IMPACT IN PHILANTHROPY

Through examples from the field, the publication provides concrete steps grantmakers can take to build a gut-level connection with their stakeholders. Having widespread empathy allows funders to base their decisions and actions on an authentic, firsthand understanding of the perspectives of grantees, community members and other partners. In turn, we become more effective as our work is grounded in more thorough, ground-level knowledge of organizational and community priorities and needs.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Grantmaking, Individual Development - Strengthening/Building Your Career









Working Better Together: Building Nonprofit Collaborative Capacity

Collective action is an effective way for nonprofits to increase their impact, but key capacities are needed to enable these types of partnerships to thrive. This publication offers insights on the core capacities nonprofits need to collaborate and how funders can help.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, New Grants Management









Working with Grantees: The Keys to Success and Five Program Officers Who Exemplify Them

Successful foundation-grantee relationships hinge on the prowess of individual program officers, whose abilities may vary widely within a single foundation. This research explores what grantees value in their relationships with program officers and identifies four keys to success. MORE Five high-performing program officers share their stories.

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation 









Your Philanthropy Roadmap

This is the first in a series of guides to engage and educate donors – notably new and emerging donors – in planning, implementing and sustaining effective philanthropy programs. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap resources to support effective giving by donors worldwide, this guide sets up the framework for the topics in the series, as well as introduces the approach RPA has been using successfully for some time to guide donors along their philanthropic journey.

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Catagories: Grantmaking, Philanthropic Models & Approaches