Innovation Network identified eight key steps in our 2005 evaluation of a U.S. federal policy change campaign.These steps may also be useful in other advocacy evaluations.
Innovation Network identified eight key steps in our 2005 evaluation of a U.S. federal policy change campaign.These steps may also be useful in other advocacy evaluations.
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
This self-assessment tool is designed to be a comprehensive resource to help you determine if your unstaffed private foundation (family, independent or corporate) is complying with key federal laws and regulations and is engaging in generally recommended good practices for being accountable to the public. Addressing issues of accountability is an ongoing process for an organization, and this tool is designed to help organizations with that process.
The legal staff at the Packard Foundation, Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and Moore Foundation developed this free, first-of-its-kind resource, which covers the basic legal rules around what staff are allowed to fund and engage in at a private foundation. It takes less than an hour to complete and features “Maya,” a new program officer that leads participants through the course. Participants can also return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics. Course covers: Private Foundations and Public Charities Definition of Lobbying Direct Lobbying Spotting Lobbying Issues Read more
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.
With corporate accounting practices under increasing scrutiny, it is important for nonprofit managers and board members to familiarize themselves with financial reports and to understand how they reflect the viability of an organization. Learn about financial statements, understand how to use them, and explore the nuances and implications of financial reporting. Coursework addresses both legal and accounting implications for nonprofit organizations, including government entities, universities, schools and colleges, healthcare providers, and other social service programs. CEU: 2
The legal staff at the Gates Foundation developed this free resource, which covers the basic legal rules around anti-bribery/anti-corruption. It takes approximately twenty minutes to complete.
Key Points The seven-year SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) initiative, created by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), aimed at systemically linking the pre-K and kindergarten worlds as a way to position vulnerable children for greater success in the early grades. At the foundation, the initiative served as a departure point for WKKF to move from its traditional grantmaking role to a changemaker role. To create change, a foundation must articulate – and commit to – a point of view about how change can occur. A theory of change can be a powerful tool to guide ongoing planning Read more
FMA’s Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program is the only nationally recognized certification program for existing and aspiring nonprofit accounting and fiscal management professionals. The course, offered in person or online, covers practical skills that can be immediately applied to your day-to-day operations, including: Financial Reporting Internal Controls Budget Development Governance As the only licensed provider of CNAP in New York, Chicago and online FMA holds regular courses taught by instructors with extensive nonprofit financial backgrounds. Learn Philanthropy members are entitled to a special discount of $100 off the cost of both the in-person and online CNAP programs using the code LP2020. Please Read more
This publication will guide board members and foundation managers in defining conflicts of interest, identifying which transactions are absolutely prohibited and which are permissible if properly handled, and developing a conflict-of-interest policy that protects foundations, board members, and foundation managers by taking self interest out of the decision-making process. Additionally, a sample conflict-of-interest policy and disclosure questionnaire for foundations is provided. For foundations, the bottom line is this: Conflicts of interest should either be avoided or managed in such a way that the foundation and its board and managers are protected from liability or unwelcome publicity. By answering the following Read more
Most family foundations prefer to focus on the business of giving, without having to worry about tripping over the sometimes obscure rules and regulations that govern this work. But the fact is that family foundation boards need to be aware of potential potholes on the road named philanthropy. Driving blind down this road can get you into trouble. One potential pothole is real or perceived conflict of interest, a topic frequently misunderstood, and often confused with self-dealing.
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.
Many recent proposals for budget and tax reform would change the value of the charitable contribution deduction. This report provides context for policymakers who may be considering one or more of these reforms, as well as for other interested observers. We first offer a basic overview of charitable giving and the legal rules for claiming the deduction. Next we discuss the various rationales that have been offered in its support and highlight critiques of the deduction. We then examine various proposed reforms, including caps, floors, credits, and grants, in light of those critiques.
Organizational advocacy capacity is an increasingly important area of inquiry, raising questions about the opportunities (and limits) for achieving and sustaining policy change. The California Endowment implemented the Clinic Consortia Policy and Advocacy Program to expand grantee advocacy capacity to support the policy and operational needs of California’s community clinics. In-person meetings with decision-makers and developing working relationships were among the key advocacy activities undertaken by 19 grantees. Grantees secured several policy wins through a variety of strategies, including mobilizing member clinics to be potent advocates. The “return on investment analysis” indicates that grantees secured policymaker support for clinic programs Read more
The legal staff at the Packard Foundation, Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and Moore Foundation developed this free, resource, which covers the basic legal rules around expenditure responsibility. It takes less than thirty minutes to complete and features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course. Participants can also return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics. Course covers: Grantees that do and do not require expenditure responsibility How it is exercised (pre-grant inquiries, grant agreements, separate accounts, reports, IRS) How to handle complicating issues Read more
This program helps foundations and nonprofits influence policy and public opinion by offering workshops, examples of documents, and technical assistance.
Supporting election-related activities is an effective way for foundations to strengthen democracy by broadening the civic dialogue and giving a voice to underrepresented communities. Find out how your foundation can support election related activities in this fact sheet.
Foundations may support grantees that engage in ballot measure advocacy. This document discusses how foundations may influence ballot measures while staying within legal guidelines.
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.
Most foundations don’t think of themselves as publishers, yet many of them act as such – making information available by funding research and publications, or by authoring their own. And failing to think of these activities as publishing efforts has serious consequences for shared learning in the social sector. The shift toward knowledge-sharing strategies and approaches that embrace new search technologies, the logic of open access and open source, and the realities of the Internet as a largely decentralized and dynamic selfpublishing space offers the possibility of coordinating publishing efforts, and possibly agreeing to the use of shared practices that Read more
Staff from the Urban Institute, GuideStar and the Foundation Center submitted joint comments to the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives for its hearing on “Public Charity Organization Issues, Unrelated Business Income Tax, and the Revised Form 990” July 25, 2012. The authors make recommendations for achieving greater transparency, accountability and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector by requiring electronic filing of IRS Forms 990 to improve the quality of data on nonprofits and the speed with which those data become available.
A review of the legal basics of how grantmakers can be involved in advocacy and lobbying work, with specific information for private foundations, community foundations and corporate grantmakers.
This publication was created to address the many questions nonprofit organizations have about advocacy in the new environment of dynamic digital communication; to ensure that nonprofit advocates stay within the law; and to demonstrate that robust participation in our nation’s democratic process is not just possible, but actually enhanced by new technologies.
This book is an indispensable guide for foundations in explaining the various roles they can play in the advocacy process. Investing in Change can serve as an in-depth guide to navigating the tax code surrounding support of public charities, or a quick reference guide to answer a specific question.
Discover how to organize, archive, and protect your important documents. Includes: The costs of recordkeeping — in money and time; what to keep and for how long; advice on establishing a records management system and records retention policy; how recordkeeping can help you fulfill your mission and program; audits; what records you must share with the public.
The latest (Spring 2012) publication from Alliance for Justice is Keeping Track: A Guide to Recordkeeping for Advocacy Charities designed to help public charities comply with federal tax law by tracking their lobbying activities. Funders are encouraged to share this publication with their grantees that engage in lobbying. Lobbying is an essential tool for many 501(c)(3) public charities. In addition to activities such as public education, research, and policy advocacy, lobbying can be an effective tool for advancing an organization’s mission. Of course, the primary goal of recordkeeping is to meet the requirements of the IRS. “Keeping Track” explains that Read more
This course empowers fundraisers, board members, staff, and volunteers of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations to enhance their knowledge of the legal and ethical considerations of fundraising. Topics include forming and maintaining a nonprofit corporation, as well as acquiring and maintaining tax-exempt status. Also, discuss the regulation of fundraising; innovative fundraising techniques; charitable registration; corporate governance and the duties, responsibilities, and potential liabilities of members, the board of directors, and the staff; and standards of professional conduct for fundraisers.
The Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal authorizes the IRS to require electronic filing (e-filing) of returns filed by all tax-exempt organizations. While mandatory e-filing of these forms will yield more robust and timely data for potential donors, nonprofit managers, regulators, and researchers, some observers are concerned about the potential impact on paper filers and tax preparers. In this brief, we will examine this concern in more detail and report findings from a small survey of certified public accountants, thought by some to be opposed to e-filing, that shows instead that they are widely in favor of it.
This fact sheet provides guidance for public foundations to safely and legally participate in the redistricting process and fund grantees that engage in this work.
Leadership development for foundation executives June 21-December 30, 2015 At Exponent Philanthropy, we know some things about you. You are committed to serving your foundation, your board, and your community. You make it a priority to leverage the most from your time and money. And you often put others first, not always getting around to investing in yourself and your professional development. With you in mind, we developed the Master Juggler Executive Institute, a carefully crafted 6-month program for those in the most senior staff role at their foundations. Program Highlights A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations Read more
This article describes six pilot initiatives of the Alliance for Children and Families — New Voices at the Civic Table (New Voices), a philanthropy-funded effort to challenge human service organizations to integrate civic engagement as a permanent part of their infrastructure. All six New Voices models included common elements: leadership training, civic education, experiential learning, participatory decision-making, networking, and reflective evaluation. Each also reflected one of four primary variations to civic engagement based on their community needs and demands: self-efficacy, constituent involvement, mobilizing, and organizing. Results demonstrate that civic engagement in human services not only produces a means for promoting Read more
Grantmakers can and should play an active role during elections, particularly by educating and activating voters. Learn about permissible activities during an election cycle from the Donors Forum of Chicago.
Both proponents and opponents of changes in the laws, regulations, and practices of charitable foundations have the same goal: enhancing public well-being through the best use of charitable resources. In the language of investment, that goal implies maximizing the social return on those assets. Measuring the social return on different types of activities and comparing outcomes or even outputs over time, however, is not so easy. Moreover, the issue of how to treat existing foundation assets and activities cannot be separated from the broader issue of the development of the charitable sector as a whole, including the establishment of new Read more
According to a 2009 Foundation Center report, 12 percent of foundations plan to spend-down their assets, and 63 percent plan to give in perpetuity. What’s surprising is that 25 percent of foundations are undecided. No one likes to dwell on his or her own mortality, but thinking about how you want your philanthropy to be managed after your lifetime is essential.
For much of the past century, when donors wanted to give away their money, establishing a private foundation was the go-to structure. Indeed, many of America’s earliest philanthropists—Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller—achieved impact through self-named foundations that continue to operate. Increasingly, however, donors are turning to additional giving structures, with many philanthropists employing multiple structures to advance their giving. The right mix of philanthropic legal structures is different for everyone, so it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions philanthropists have when ramping up their giving is “what structure or combination of structures should I use?” This guide is not Read more
The goal of this guide is to provide foundation trustees and, where or when appropriate, staff with a process to create both an overall policy for mission-related investing as well as specific paths for implementation.
This article describes six key roles for philanthropic organizations’ engagement in communities. It draws on Living Cities, a consortium of financial organizations, private foundations, and public sector organizations that has been working since 1991 to improve distressed neighborhoods in 23 cities. The six civic roles described are (a) convening and leveraging diverse networks of relationships, (b) developing local data and plans for community change, (c) leveraging new resources on behalf of communities, (d) mobilizing political will, (e) framing new messages about community development and communicating more strategically, and (f) generating and testing new ideas and building and sharing knowledge. Typically Read more
While private foundations incur a prohibitive tax when they engage in or fund advocacy, they may still engage in a variety of advocacy activities. This fact sheet explains how private foundations can engage in a variety of advocacy activities.
Foundations that work on national public policy issues face challenges in demonstrating impact. This case study of how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiative to support choice of program provider for developmentally disabled adults uses some advanced statistical techniques to demonstrate the impact of the foundation’s funding. This study suggests that to get the greatest impact on policy change, foundations should consider offering modest competitive grants to governmental departments; spending the funds in regional groupings; and focus on jurisdictions that have demonstrated interest in the policy area by spending their own funds.
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization may be classified by the IRS as either a public charity (also called a public foundation) or a private foundation. Except for those nonprofits which are granted automatic charity status, such as churches, it is the organization’s responsibility to notify the IRS, by filing Form 1023, that it wants to be a public charity. Otherwise, it will automatically be categorized as a private foundation. Ensuring a correct categorization is important, because different regulations apply depending on your organization’s classification. This resource is designed to help you decide whether your organization should apply for public charity or Read more
501(c)(3) public charities, including grantmaking public charities like community foundations and women’s foundations, can lobby within the generous limits allowed by federal law. This fact sheet explains the lobbying rules for public foundations.
This chapter of the RWJF Anthology provides an overview of congressional scrutiny of foundations and charitable organizations and the sector’s response. They place the 2005 Senate hearings in the context of past congressional examinations of foundations, analyze the underlying issues, and explain how philanthropy is trying to address concerns about its lack of accountability. The authors conclude by discussing the approaches adopted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make its own work more transparent, especially through its evaluation and communications strategies.
An overview on the self-dealing law, including definitions, common problem areas, exceptions, penalties, and resources.
This publication aims to increase the rigor with which impact investors frame their investment decisions and demonstrate the integration of impact investing across asset classes. In conjunction with the team of academics and practitioners who have produced this monograph, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors highlights some of the areas in which behavioral economics and innovative organizational and legal structures can be applied to the discipline of impact investing. By describing best practices in transparency, disclosure and rigorous decision-making, we also hope to bridge the divide between traditional and social purpose investing.
To speak up for their causes effectively, nonprofits need the right tools. This guide was produced as part of Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy Initiative – which provides resources to help nonprofit organizations be confident participants in the policymaking process – to help those who govern and manage nonprofits select the organizational structure that will best enable them to achieve their policy goals. Using clear terms and plain language, “The Connection” explains the different roles and functions of charities, social welfare organizations, PACs and other types of nonprofits – and clarifies the federal rules on how organizations can work together Read more
This article reports on a study of 11 partnerships between public health departments and community organizations that were funded by The California Endowment to support advocacy and organizing to improve health outcomes in the communities. The evaluation examined the sustainability of the partnerships as well as the policy and advocacy work of the organizations. Almost 90 percent of the activities in policy change and community capacity building was sustained, whereas partnership and health department capacity building activities were the least likely to be sustained. The policy change legacies at the community level were strong and included empowerment of community members, Read more
This article provides guidance on how foundations can frame, focus, and advance efforts to achieve public policy reforms. Five essential steps for developing public policy strategy are described: choosing the public policy goal, understanding the challenges, identifying influential audiences, determining how far those audiences must move, and deciding how to move them. Two tools developed specifically to support foundations during the strategy development process are presented.
International grantmaking has increased dramatically in the past two decades, at a rate faster than domestic grantmaking. The increase in international grantmaking, stimulated by increased interest in global issues, was fueled by increased foundation assets and especially by new foundations created since 1990. While many of the issues confronting international grantmaking exist with domestic grantmaking, they have special aspects and increased importance because of the global context. Many foundations have now accumulated information about how best to work in partnership with other foundations, governments, and business; these lessons would benefit all foundations. Thoughtful collective action taken by foundation membership organizations Read more
This article examines success factors for a statewide initiative to reduce health disparities by establishing environmental policies to reduce asthma risk factors for school-aged children. Twelve local coalitions and a statewide network focused on schools, housing, and outdoor air policies. Multiple types and levels of policy advocacy were encouraged by the Initiative so that issues at the local level linked to larger issues across the state, and conversely state-level policies supported local endeavors. Factors that contributed to the success of the initiative included: structuring the initiative on a systems change model; employing multiple technical assistance providers to assure fidelity to Read more
Private foundation trustees and staff oversee countless activities. Several activities—some mandatory, others voluntary—call for additional care. In particular, according to your fellow foundation leaders and the advisors who serve them, missteps happen in conjunction with the following activities more often than elsewhere in foundation work. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
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.
A compilation of interviews with foundation leaders on the importance of supporting advocacy.