“Effective Giving”

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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“How Much is Enough?”

This issue of More than Money, “How Much is Enough?” offers guidance for forming a realistic assessment of your assets. Because there is no objective definition of enough, and because there will always be others who have more. Millionaires and those with far less net worth can share similar anxieties about having enough.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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“Partners in Social Change”

This issue, “Partners in Social Change,” of More than Money offers stereotype-busting profiles of rich people who share power and resources and work passionately for the common good. One writer describes becoming a successful businessman specifically so that he would have more money to give away. Others describe the process of donating money and resisting the temptation to become controlling or patronizing of those who receive the resources. Alternative formats for foundations and finding grantors are detailed. Writers describe including spouses as partners, learning activism (or teaching activism) to their partners. A family confronts its political polarity, finding acceptable middle ground on Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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#ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

In this special feature on community philanthropy, alliance proposes a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions – and resulting distortions – of mainstream development. The ‘three-legged stool’ of community philanthropy combines asset development, capacity building and the strengthening of trust between multiple local and external stakeholders. Durable Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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10 Ways Foundations Can Work With the Public Sector

This resource shows how foundations can be potential partners in making public policy.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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6 Steps to Evaluating your Program

This tool will help you to create an accurate process for documenting and evaluating the entire effort.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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A new era for African philanthropy

There has never been a greater time for African philanthropy and philanthropy in general than today. The momentum and interest around philanthropy have grown – at times surprisingly so, given that not so long ago philanthropy was accorded no role in formal and intergovernmental processes. Not many governments considered philanthropy in their policy processes; if they did, they would do so in disparaging or suspecting ways. African governments viewed philanthropy (particularly international foundations) as part of a western agenda to influence regime change. This view, which many still hold, has in part been fuelled by the fact that many foundations Read more

Categories: Resources

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A Plan of One’s Own: A Woman’s Guide to Philanthropy

This guide examines women’s roles in philanthropy and features “how to” sections on creating and using a variety of forms of charitable giving, as well as working with professional advisers.

Categories: Resources

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A Self-reflection Tool for Black Trustees on Foundation Boards

ABFE brings a point of view: Black trustees who sit at tables of power and influence have a unique opportunity to significantly influence outcomes for Black communities by “leveraging the trust” that they hold as trustees. A companion to ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities: A Framework and Agenda for Change, this tool discusses the unique role of Black trustees and opportunities for reflection as they fulfill their roles.  ABFE encourages the use of this tool as a way to make a difference for Black communities.

Categories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources

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A Snapshot: Compensation in Corporate Responsibility

This info graphic provides a snapshot of salaries and compensation for corporate responsibility professionals. The full report is available with membership to ACCP.

Categories: Human Resources Management, Foundation Management, Resources

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Advanced Intensive Grantmaking

This course is targeted to philanthropists, foundation staff and trustees, and individual funders with at least five years of experience. It includes an in-depth analysis of the cutting edge issues in the grantmaking field, such as outcome models, impact philanthropy, advocacy, alternative and inter-sector approaches, and more. The curriculum is modified each time based on emerging developments in the field.

Categories: Grantmaking, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Resources

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Alliance Breakfast Club – How much influence does philanthropy have?

Foundation professionals, academics, and NGOs discuss the nature of philanthropic influence and what limits, if any, should be imposed. Discussions are presented in three videos.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Alliance Breakfast Club- Markets for good: removing the barriers

In this video, the participants are discussing why so few market-based solutions to poverty are getting to scale, what can be done so they can deliver meaningful benefits to the poor, and more.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Alliance Magazine – #ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

Guest editors of the December 2016 issue of Alliance magazine Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight explore the issues of community philanthropy, durable development, and the collective sharing of resources.   In this special feature on community philanthropy, we propose a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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B Corps/Benefit Corporation

Two new hybrid forms of incorporation, available in a growing number of states, in which a for-profit corporation formally commits to meeting standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Similar in concept tothe  new “L3C” form of incorporation but a legally distinct form .Often categorized as a “social businesses” or “social enterprise.”

Categories: Resources









Beldon Fund Final Impact Assessment

This final impact assessment provides an inventory of Beldon’s legacy, five years after its grantmaking ended. It tells the story of a foundation that brought innovative ideas to its grantees, built capacity and infrastructure, and planted seeds that continue to bear fruit. As a spend-out foundation, it struggled with challenges that other spend outs share, and the lessons learned from this assessment are intended to help others embarking on similar paths.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Beldon Fund Lessons and Tips for Spending Out

The Beldon Fund’s ten-year experience with spending out while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission yielded a range of useful lessons that we believe are applicable more broadly. They cover the practical nuts and bolts of putting a foundation on a spend-out course as well as specific tips on effective program strategies to achieve impact. In addition, this page will take you to brief downloadable stories that illustrate Beldon’s program strategies.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Resources

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Bequest

A method of planned giving in which money, property, or other assets are donated to a charitable organization after a person passes away. Bequests are usually included in a donor’s will or other estate plan documentation.

Categories: Resources









Beyond Compliance: Measuring to Learn, Improve, and Create Positive Change

At their best, systems for monitoring and measuring nonprofit performance illuminate what an organization is accomplishing, where its resources are going, and how that organization might address weaknesses and build on successes. At their worst, such systems become an expensive compliance exercise, diverting resources from program delivery without returning a greater understanding of how to achieve an organization’s goals. With that context in mind, the Center and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative developed this report to tackle questions central to effective philanthropy: How do non-profits and donors measure and manage results? What tools exist, whom do they serve, which questions Read more

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Resources

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Black Out: Understanding LGBTQ Advocacy and Black Communities

This webinar, part of ABFE Third Thursday Webinar Series and co-sponsored by Funders for LGBTQ Issues and The Third Wave Fund, examines how leaders and organizations connect racial and LGBTQ identity to secure social justice for LGBTQ people.

Categories: Webinar, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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Board Self-Assessment for Community Foundations

A community foundation board has a particular responsibility to identify emerging issues in its community, set funding goals or priorities accordingly, and determine when or if the foundation should act as a leader and convenor. BoardSource’s board self-assessment tool for community foundations is designed to meet the unique needs of a community foundation board by assisting in strengthening the board’s governance practices as well as its ability to respond appropriately as opportunities and challenges arise within its community. It is based on BoardSource’s standard BSA and includes questions on grantmaking and community leadership, funding and public image, and stewardship and Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Governance, Resources

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Bringing grantmaking in from the cold

Increasingly, the practice of grantmaking as a tool for bringing about social change has fallen out of favour, replaced by newer, snappier-sounding forms of philanthropy. In laying out their wares, venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism and, most recently, ‘catalytic philanthropy’ have all made claims for greater effectiveness.  

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Building Collaboration From the Inside Out

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

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Building Evaluation Capacity

Evaluation is a process that applies systematic inquiry to program management, improvement, and decision making. Evaluation is also used to assess the status or progress of a strategy (i.e., a group of meaningfully connected programs, not just the simple aggregation of multiple programs) or an initiative (a grouping of strategies). Evaluation Capacity is the ability of staff and their organizations to do evaluation. Because evaluation is systematic, it involves proficiency in a particular set of skills.

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Can Foundations Train Their Grantees to Be Effective Communicators?

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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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

Categories: Foundation Management, Governance, Resources

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Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Cause-Related Marketing/Embedded Philanthropy

When a charitable contribution or philanthropic act is built into (or “embedded” in) a commercial transaction, such as when a percentage of proceeds from sale of a product are then donated to a charitable cause or organization by the company selling the product. The company often uses the charitable aspect of the transaction to market the product or service.

Categories: Resources









CFLeads Executive Leadership Institute

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is a one-year intensive learning opportunity tailored specifically for community foundation CEOs to strengthen their ability to step into complex leadership roles in their communities. Through three, small group, face-to-face meetings supplemented by one-on-one coaching, it is designed to strengthen CEO leadership skills and relationships. With a focus on challenging CEOs in positive ways in a supportive peer environment, the Institute is designed to stimulate creativity and inspire “out of the box” thinking. The initial ELI cohort will consist of 15 community foundation leaders drawn from a pool of CEOs from community foundations in older Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Individual Professional Development , Resources

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CFLeads White Paper: Community Foundations and Community Leadership

This white paper explores the imperatives – both market and moral – for a community foundation to embrace community leadership.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Charitable Gift Annuity

A planned giving instrument in which a donor transfers money, property, or other assets to a charitable organization and receives a partial tax deduction, and then the charity pays the donor a fixed sum at regular intervals during his or her lifetime. Upon the donor’s death, the charity keeps the remaining assets as a gift.

Categories: Resources









Charitable Lead Trust

A planned giving instrument in which a donor transfers money, property, or other assets to a trust at the time of their death, and the trust then pays out a fixed amount to a charitable organization for a set number of years. After this time, the remaining assets in the trust are transfered to the donor’s heirs or other beneficiaries.

Categories: Resources









Charitable Remainder Trust

A planned giving instrument in which a donor transfers money, property, or other assets to a charitable organization and receives a partial tax deduction, and then the charity pays the donor a fixed sum at regular intervals during his or her lifetime. Upon the donor’s death, the charity keeps the remaining assets as a gift.

Categories: Resources









Co-Creation: Viewing Partnerships Through A New Lens

Collaboration remains an on-going discourse throughout the funder community, but little has been written about explorations or innovations into different ways of working collectively, beyond what was established decades ago. For large-scale systems change, co-creation may be a more fitting approach; it acknowledges self-interest, existing alongside shared goals and purpose, as necessary to sustain voluntary efforts. Co-creation is predicated on the notion that traditional topdown planning or decision-making should give way to a more flexible participatory structure, where diverse constituencies are invited in to collectively solve problems. This case study examines the partnership of the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, the Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Coaching and Philanthropy: An Action Guide for Grantmakers

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

Categories: Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Come On In, The Water’s Fine: An Exploration of Web 2.0 Technology and Its Emerging Impact on Foundation Communications

Foundations that have adopted new and still emerging forms of digital communications—interactive Web sites, blogs, wikis, and social networking applications—are finding that they offer “opportunities for focused convenings and conversations, lend themselves to interactions with and among grantees, and are an effective story-telling medium.” Acknowledging that adoption of new media tools will require some cultural and operational shifts in foundations, the report urges foundations to: Build up the individual “human capital” of their staffs and provide them the competencies they need to operate in the new digital world. Make internal institutional reforms to reward creativity and innovation in using these Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Community Foundation

A grantmaking institution with a broad charitable mission, almost always tied to a specific geographic area. Legally categorized as a public charity rather than a private foundation, a community foundation meets the public support test by raising donations from individuals or institutions. It then make grants or other philanthropic investments in the community, under the guidance of a board that is representative of the community. Community foundations offer different methods of giving to donors, including donor-advised funds, gifts to the foundation’s permanent endowment, various planned giving options, or other earmarked gifts or special funds.

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Community Foundations and Advocacy

This fact sheet shows how community foundations can play an active role in the public sector and can support lobbying, advocate, lobby, and support other election-related activities.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Community Leadership Stories

Leadership in Action Stories provide insight into how community foundations are approaching their community leadership work and putting the community leadership building blocks into practice. These stories illustrate the pathways and elements contained in the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation.

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Community Leadership Tools – CooL Tools

What makes these tools so cool? They were developed and are being used by your community foundation colleagues! And they can help build your community leadership potential. Check out the variety of tools shared by your colleagues to advance community leadership work. Includes: Strategic Plans and Frameworks; Choosing and Timing Community Leadership Opportunities; Diversity and Inclusion; Donor Engagement; and Metrics

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Conflicts of Interest at Foundations: Avoiding the Bad and Maintaining the Good

Multiple loyalties can create conflicts of interest. In private foundations, conflicts of interest occur when the financial or personal interests of board members or foundation managers are, or may appear to be, inconsistent with the interests of the foundation. This resource guides 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, we provide a sample conflict-of-interest policy and disclosure questionnaire.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Resources

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Conflicts of Interest at Foundations: Avoiding the Bad and Managing the Good

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. By answering the following five questions and by following the processes recommended in this paper, foundations can minimize legal risks; protect themselves and their board members and foundation managers against bad publicity; and most of all, ensure the integrity of their decision-making process.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Resources

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Considering Culture

This case study examines how organizations are applying evidence-based practices in culturally relevant ways and how local programs are adopting nontraditional approaches to successfully serve communities of color. Considering Culture is the fourth installment in a five-part Race for Results case study series.

Categories: Foundation Management, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources

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Corporate Foundation

A philanthropic entity funded by contributions from a corporate entity, but established as a legally distinct entity. Almost always organized legally as a private foundation focused primarily on grantmaking, but can be a public charity or operating foundation. Contributions from the corporate entity are often made at regular intervals and so corporate foundations usually have smaller permanent endowments than other foundations. While legally distinct from the corporation’s internal giving or social responsibility program, the corporate foundation very often maintains close ties to the corporation beyond simply financial ones. The foundation often gives in geographic areas in which the corporation operates, Read more

Categories: Resources









Corporate Giving/Corporate Social Responsibility

Philanthropic contributions made by corporations, using the same methods as individuals (e.g. giving money/grants, time/talent, in-kind products or services, and more). Corporations can give as a corporate entity and/or through a corporate foundation set up as a separate legal entity. “CSR” refers to the general commitment of a corporation to social benefit, including its corporate giving.

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CRACKING THE NETWORK CODE: FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR GRANTMAKERS

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Crowdfunding

A method of raising money for an initiative or organization – often one in the initial or “start-up” phase – from two or more people contributing to the fundraising goal, usually through an online platform.

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Crowdfunding

A method of raising money for an initiative or organization – often one in the initial or “start-up” phase – from two or more people contributing to the fundraising goal, usually through an online platform.

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

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Data Playbook

A Measured Approach. For purpose-driven organizations, data means more than just numbers and graphs — it is about understanding what more you can do to change lives and strengthen communities. The Data Playbook is designed to help you make sense of the data you already have and to build upon it. In it, you will learn about what data you need; how best to collect it; how to analyze it to meet your needs; how to present it; and how to use it to inform your work and tell your story. Whether you are looking for guidance on how to Read more

Categories: Strategic Philanthropy, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Doing What it Takes: Organizing Your Foundation For Impact

In this video, Paul Grogan discusses how The Boston Foundation has taken on a significant community leadership role in addition to its stewardship and grantmaking roles. Hear how The Boston Foundation: uses research to help guide its direction gathers citizen input to inform its activities makes the most of communications to promote its work and directly engages in public policy activity to ensure a deep and long-lasting impact.

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Donor Strategies to Prevent Childhood Obesity: Lessons from Greater Philadelphia

Across the United States, donors are working on multiple aspects of the fight to prevent childhood obesity. While this guide features approaches implemented nationwide, we have focused on examples of their implementation in Philadelphia, as a city that may serve as a national model due to its decreases in childhood obesity amongst some of the most affected populations (African-American, Hispanic, and low-income youth). The guide identifies three strategies for donors who seek change: start early; increase access to healthy foods and physical activity; and enable healthy choices.    

Categories: Issue Specific Grantmaking, Resources

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Donor-Advised Fund

A fund established – with an initial gift and perhaps subsequent gifts from one or more donors – at a nonprofit public charity which then (for a fee) invests the money and manages the process of making grants from the fund as advised by the donor(s). The most common sponsors of DAFs are community foundations, charitable arms of for-profit financial institutions, and certain national host organizations. DAFs are not subject to the same legal rules at private foundations and are considered gifts to the public charity managing the fund even if the money is then re-granted as “advised” by the Read more

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Donor-Advised Fund

A fund established – with an initial gift and perhaps subsequent gifts from one or more donors – at a nonprofit public charity which then (for a fee) invests the money and manages the process of making grants from the fund as advised by the donor(s). The most common sponsors of DAFs are community foundations, charitable arms of for-profit financial institutions, and certain national host organizations. DAFs are not subject to the same legal rules at private foundations and are considered gifts to the public charity managing the fund even if the money is then re-granted as “advised” by the Read more

Categories: Resources









Eliminating Discrimination and Inequalities in Access to Water and Sanitation

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

Categories: Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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

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

Categories: Inclusive Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Evaluating Community Change: A Framework for Grantmakers

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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

By: Karen McNeil-Miller, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Find/Create a network of other African-Americans as one of the many professional/social/personal networks you seek to form. Join and become an active member of ABFE (Association for Black Foundation Executives) Intentionally seek out and request one-on-one conversations with: Several experienced African-American executives to provide perspective; Executive Director of ABFE; Prominent African-American philanthropists in your town. Don’t allow yourself to be viewed as solely responsible to represent and be sensitive to the minority perspective in your foundation.

Categories: Inclusive Grantmaking, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Expert Q & A: How do learning needs and styles differ across generations, and how can family foundations teach philanthropy to the next generation?

By: Sharna Goldseker, Executive Director at 21/64 From your work across multiple generations in philanthropic organizations, what are you seeing as key learning needs? Much of the work we’ve been doing at 21/64 for the past twelve years coincides with research that shows each generation brings a unique set of values, skills, and experiences to the philanthropic table. The first key learning need is around values clarification, which we believe leads not only to better working relationships among funders but also to more effective philanthropy. Beginning to uncover one’s own values and learn what values motivate others is critical to bridging the generational divide. Often, Read more

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Expert Q & A: Strategic, Emergent, or (fill in the blank) Philanthropy: What’s the Right Approach?

By Dara Major, Principal, Dara Major Philanthropy Consulting Over the last century or so of philanthropic practice, multiple pathways for achieving results have emerged. Two of the most widely adopted  (and most recently debated) are “strategic” and “emergent” philanthropy. Both have deep roots in the field, as well as a range of adherents and even skeptics.  Other approaches in various stages of experimentation, adoption, or rejection include “philanthrocapitalism,” and “venture,” “catalytic,” and “high engagement” philanthropy. What’s a grantmaker to do? Which approach, hybrid, or combination of approaches is right for you/ your program or initiative / your organization?   How can Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Family Foundation

While there is no legal nor widely accepted definition of what qualifies as a “family” foundation, the term is usually applied to a class of independent, non-operating private foundations in which: the mission and giving continues to be strongly influenced by the intent of the founding donor(s), the founding donor(s) or familial descendants play some governance role in the foundation (e.g., as trustees or even staff), and the assets come from a founding family or individual. However, some public foundations, operating foundations, and other types have these qualities as well so can be considered family foundations. Many independent foundations began Read more

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Foundation Board Basics

A grantmaking foundation is a charitable tax-exempt organization whose primary function is to distribute funds for charitable purposes. Private foundations are typically formed by individuals, families, or corporations. Regardless of whose generosity is benefiting worthy causes, a foundation needs a governing board (or a board of trustees as foundation board members often are called) because it is structured as a tax-exempt organization. In principle, the role of the foundation board does not differ from that of other nonprofit boards, but foundation boards have specific challenges.

Categories: Governance, Resources

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Foundation Payouts

In the first Alliance Audio series, editor Charles Keidan hosts a roundtable discussion with Angela Kail (Head of the Funder Team, New Philanthropy Capital), Cathy Pharoah (Co-Director of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University London), and Jake Hayman (CEO of Ten Years’ Time) on the topic of philanthropy sector payouts. Following on from their pieces in Alliance over the last few months, these philanthropy experts and practitioners discuss the controversial topic of payouts; why they should be imposed, why they should not be imposed, and what they might mean for the sector as it stands at the Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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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

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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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.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Fundraising Foundations

Creating a separate but affiliated fundraising organization — a foundation for the purpose of raising funds — is not for every nonprofit. If your board is considering the option, it is important to identify the various challenges and benefits such a foundation might bring with it.

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Giving Circle/Pooled Fund

A method of giving in which a group of people combine their contributions into a single joint gift or on-going pooled fund. While there are many specific variations in form and process, most giving circles or pooled funds involve some sort of group decision-making about the target and recipients of the joint gift(s).

Categories: Resources









Giving Money – Offline, Online, Mobile

Giving money to a charitable organization or cause using offline or online means, or mobile technology. Offline means include checkwriting and direct cash donations as well as formal grantmaking by institutions. Online means include giving through a charity’s direct website, social media, a giving portal or other online giving platform, or a crowdfunding site. Mobile giving uses technology such as text messaging and mobile “apps.” The different methods have different advantages and disadvantages – e.g., the level of convenience, information, fees and restrictions, etc. – and so appeal to different donors or those in particular circumstances. Whether a donor can Read more

Categories: Resources









Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story

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. Though it draws on historical materials – reports, strategy papers, financial models, written policies and external evaluations – the context and insights come from interviews with key staff members, grantees, John Hunting, and board members.  

Categories: Models & Approaches, Resources

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Grantmakers’ Role in Advancing Good Governance

Grantmakers are in a unique position to strengthen the governance of their grantees and nonprofits in their communities. For grantmakers already engaging around issues of good governance, this report provides new ideas to consider and suggestions for enhancing current activities. For grantmakers that are just beginning to engage nonprofits on governance issues, this report presents the case for investing in governance and shares a variety of ways to advance those efforts.

Categories: Foundation Management, Governance, Resources

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Grantmaking

A formalized process of giving money, usually through a private foundation or grantmaking public charity. Grants are usually distinguished from other gifts of money by the formal application and reporting requirements, the specific purposes for which grant funds may be used, a bounded time period for grant funds to be used, and the more explicit strategy used to guide grantmaking decisions.

Categories: Resources









Greater Influence, More Impact

Influence can be one of the most important tools for impact. Here are five steps for organizations — foundations or otherwise — to build their own strategy.

Categories: Strategic Philanthropy, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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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.)

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Guiding Principles and Effective Practices for Connecticut Grantmakers

Guiding Principles and Effective Practices for Connecticut Grantmakers is a concise resource listing eight guiding principles for Connecticut grantmaker accountability and suggested effective practices. The Connecticut Council’s Board of Directors offers these Guiding Principles and Effective Practices to its members and other Connecticut funders to articulate a shared commitment to excellence and to serve as a guide for Connecticut funders as we pursue our missions. CCP recognizes that there are different ways to implement each of the Guiding Principles and offers suggestions for effective practices that can be adopted or adapted to best suit your organization.  More information on implementing these Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Resources

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Handling Conflict During Board Meetings

Since nonprofit board meetings depend on interaction among people with different values, perspectives, and communication styles, conflict is likely to occur. The impact of this conflict, however, largely depends on how it is handled. Use these key tips to manage conflict in your board meetings and ensure that all board members can have candid and productive discussions.

Categories: Foundation Management, Governance, Resources

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Health Conversion/Health Legacy Foundation

A type of private foundation created when a nonprofit hospital or health/insurance organization is sold and converted to a for-profit enterprise. Federal law requires that the proceeds from such a sale must go to a charitable purpose, so often these proceeds are used to create a new endowed grantmaking foundation. Health conversion or health legacy foundations usually have health as their primary grantmaking focus, and often give to health causes in the geographic region formerly served by the nonprofit that was sold. Note, however, that these foundations are not legally a separate type or regulatory category.

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High Impact Philanthropy Blog: Five Myths And A Question About Impact

Everyone seems to be talking about it. Most say they want it. But who really gets to define impact and for whom? This blog series grew out of a collaborative effort between our team at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and Women Moving Millions.  

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Individual Professional Development , Resources, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team

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High Impact Philanthropy Blog: Rethinking the E-Word

The following post was originally published on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog as part of a series exploring the meaning and value of strategic philanthropy. Evidence-based philanthropy. To some, that phrase offers the promise of long-overdue rigor. If the first principle of philanthropy and social impact is to do good, then evidence-based philanthropy ensures that we honor its corollary: Do no harm. To others, that phrase represents all that is going wrong with philanthropy and social innovation—the rise of the ivory-tower theorists and technocrats whose logic models and fixation with metrics blind them to real-world knowledge and common sense. It’s time Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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High Impact Philanthropy to Improve Teaching Quality: Focus on High-Need Secondary Students

For donors seeking to improve student outcomes, the critical question is: How can my funds improve teaching quality? This report outlines high impact philanthropic models based on our analysis of available evidence from academic research, expert advice, and practitioner information.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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How Can We Prepare for Collaboration?

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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How Does Your Community Foundation’s Public Policy Work Stack Up?

This blog asks How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice

This publication offers recommendations and methods to help leadership programs promote racial justice through their work.

Categories: Foundation Management, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources

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How to Spruce Up Your Online Publications

Not long ago, foundations routinely produced print documents meant to be held and read. Now, with more and more organizations shifting to online publishing, the resulting “publications” are beheld and experienced in different ways than their former print counterparts. As we recently explored in a Communications Network webinar, online publishing is also moving far beyond simply uploading a pdf version of a print document. Instead, the ability to add video, link to other information sources and even invite users to read and post comments, provide opportunities to create online publications that contain content that is both informative and engaging. This Read more

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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How-To: Content Strategy

This 8-minute read outlines five essential steps to the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Impact Investing

A general term for a number of methods for making socially responsible financial investments. Impact investments seek to generate multiple forms of value, to create positive social and/or environmental returns or impacts in addition to financial returns. Also called “social investing” and encompassing “mission-related investing” (MRI), “program-related investing” (PRI), and other emerging methods. Investments can be made by individuals, organizations, or collectives using a variety of investment vehicles. Impact investment seeks to encourage socially responsible business practices, disinvest in businesses that contribute to social or environmental harm, and provide seed or low-interest loan capital to socially-responsible business ventures. Can also Read more

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

In the recent Alliance special feature, ‘Markets for good: removing the barriers’, we had not just one article but several from around the globe about social impact investing. 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 scale. For me one big issue the report raises is the role of government vis-à-vis impact investing in addressing social problems.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Improving Child Survival Rates: Guidance for Donors

Every year almost seven million children die before they reach their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes such as pneumonia and diarrhea.1 The good news is that we have many proven effective tools to prevent and to treat disease and community-level approaches that are relatively low-cost within easy reach of a donor to support. In fact, an estimated two-thirds of child deaths can be prevented with the interventions available and feasible today.2       Footnotes 1 Unicef. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality report 2012. http://www.unicef.org/videoaudio/PDFs/UNICEF_2012_child_mortality_for_web_0904.pdf 2 Jones G et al. “How many child deaths can we prevent this Read more

Categories: Issue Specific Grantmaking, Resources









In-Kind Giving

Donations of goods or services of any kind – e.g., clothing, “toys for tots,” free advertising space – except money or appreciated property like real estate. Sometimes meant to include gifts of time, talent, and expertise.

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Independent, Non-Operating Foundation

A type of private foundation – with assets usually derived from a single source – that has grantmaking or other philanthropic investment as its primary focus, rather than operating programs, but that cannot be classified under other types of private foundations such as corporate, family, or health conversion. Many independent foundations were once family foundations but transitioned away from direct family influence or involvement at some point.

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Innovative Philanthropic Financing for Community Change

This report provides a concise summary of the East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative, with a focus on how the Annie E. Casey Foundation used innovative financing techniques to support the project. The report provides background on the initiative, which is working to transform an 88-acre area near the Johns Hopkins medical campus that has been hard hit by disinvestment and social problems. The report details transactions that helped finance the initiative and highlights the critical role innovative financing can play in complex redevelopment efforts. The report also offers lessons from these transactions for the philanthropic community, local officials, developers and lenders Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Internal Communications: Strategies for an Overlooked—But Critical—Communications Channel

This recap of a presentation given at The Communications Network’s 2016 annual conference explains why internal communications are as important and necessary as external communications for the long-term impact and sustainability of your foundation. A framework and suggested activities are offered along with a handout and powerpoint presentation.

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Interview with Carol Civita, Brazilian philanthropist

A disposition to give is not the same as a culture of philanthropy, argues Brazilian philanthropist Carol Civita. Brazil has always had the one but still lacks the other, she tells Caroline Hartnell. Part of the problem is that Brazilians see social problems as the government’s business, but in her view the country needs partnerships between the public sector and private philanthropy if social development is to catch up with economic development. But foundations are beginning to talk to each other, she says, a big step forward.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Invest in a Strong Start for Children: A Toolkit for Donors

In the past thirty seconds, three more children were born in the United States. All three of these infants may be equally capable, but as they grow older, there is a strong chance that only two will graduate from high school. And it’s not just about high school graduation. The lack of strong support in early childhood means that millions of children in the U.S. face lives of lost potential. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Donors can help all children get an equal chance at a strong start.  

Categories: Issue Specific Grantmaking, Resources

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

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Investing in Change: The Importance of Supporting Advocacy

When a foundation gives money directly to a program that provides community services, the impact is seen immediately: low-income children receive a new educational program or a charity hospital can provide health care to individuals in need. Supporting advocacy is a little different. The impact may be harder to see and measure at first, but changes in public policy are often a precursor to the meaningful, long-term success vital to tackling larger community challenges. This fact sheet shows how supporting advocacy is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools available to foundations for creating change.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Investment Manager Diversity: The Hardest Taboo to Break

This case study examines how one community foundation — Silicon Valley Community Foundation with assets under management of $4.7 billion — approached the issue of increasing investment manager diversity with its investment advisor — Colonial Consulting which advises $30 billion of capital. These first-person accounts from the community foundation’s CEO and the investment advisor provide candid assessments of how they addressed the issue of increasing investment manager diversity. The hope is that by sharing these observations other foundations and their investment advisors will find the courage to discuss and address the issue of investment manager diversity, the hardest taboo to Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources

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Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter? A National Study of Philanthropic Practice

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Jargon Finder

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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L3C

Short for “Low-profit, Limited Liability Company.” A new hybrid form of incorporation, available in a growing number of states, in which a for-profit venture has a stated goal of maximizing social benefits instead of profits. Designed specifically to allow and attract multiple sources of capital for the socially-oriented business, including program-related investments from foundations. Similar in concept to the new B Corps/Benefit Corporations form of incorporation but a legally distinct form. Often categorized as a “social businesses” or “social enterprise.” A set of methods for providing financial capital, credit, and banking services to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and low-income individuals who Read more

Categories: Resources









Laying the Groundwork for Collective Impact: A Working Paper

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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LearnPhilanthropy’s Real Simple Taxonomy

By: Dara Major, Philanthropy Consultant Good content needs a good search – but sometimes a simple keyword search is not enough to produce the result a user seeks. That’s where a taxonomy comes in: a taxonomy is a classification or categorization system that groups similar items into broad topics or buckets. A taxonomy can help to organize knowledge “at a glance,” describe concepts not found directly in the content, and includes terms, categories and keywords. LearnPhilanthropy has developed a Real Simple Taxonomy, created with extensive testing and feedback at each stage (and ongoing) by dozens of grantmakers and others across Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Lending, Learning, Leading

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Leverage the Trust

Leverage the Trust is an effort to identify and engage Black foundation trustees in ABFE’s mission through peer networking and learning opportunities. The work of Leverage the Trust is led by a committee of dedicated trustees of philanthropic institutions that are representative of the diversity of geography, type, and size of grantmaking entities in the sector.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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Leveraging Social Sector Leadership

Strong leadership is critical for effective social sector organizations, yet the sector chronically underinvests in its leaders. What do social sector leaders need to help them succeed and, just as importantly, stay in the sector? What can grantmakers do to support these leaders? This publication synthesizes findings from new research conducted by the authors and offers recommendations for grantmakers.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Lobbying Defined for Private Foundations

This fact sheet explains what activities count as lobbying under federal tax law for private foundations. Under federal tax law, private foundations incur a prohibitive tax on any lobbying expenditures, so it is important for private foundations to know exactly what activities meet the definition of lobbying.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Local Donor Collaboration: Lessons from Baltimore and Beyond

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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March 2017 issue | Philanthropy scholarship and practice – bridging the divide

Be sure to keep an eye out for the March issue of Alliance magazine as it looks at the ways in which we can bridge the gap between philanthropy scholarship and practice. As philanthropic studies gain speed and popularity in universities and academic programs around the world, we attempt to explain why studying philanthropy is important and how much priority should be given to informing policy and practice. Guest edited by Marta Rey-Garcia of Spain’s Coruna University, the issue answers some of the key questions that arise when philanthropy scholarship moves into practice and provides a detailed account of philanthropy’s growing Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources









Master Juggler Executive Institute

This leadership program offers: A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations they serve, combining world-class training and executive coaching. Wisdom from seasoned experts in leadership, organizational development, and philanthropy, plus the collective experience of fellow foundation executives. A small cohort that supports deep connections, real accountability, and a personalized learning experience for each participant.    

Categories: Foundation Management, Individual Professional Development , Resources

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Microfinance

A set of methods for providing financial capital, credit, and banking services to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and low-income individuals who otherwise lack adequate access to such capital and services. Can include loans, savings, “microcredit,” or other banking services and typically involves relatively small amounts of money. The transactions are often processed through online and/or local intermediaries, including specialized microfinance institutions.

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Mission-Related Investing

A type of – or sometimes alternate general term for – impact investing. MRI is most commonly used to refer to socially responsible financial investment practices used by foundations or other endowed entities, in which endowment funds are invested in ways that support the mission and values of the organization.

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New Perspectives on Michigan Community Foundations

How can we understand the activity of Michigan community foundations in the context of their local populations? How have Michigan community foundations changed over time? This report begins to explore answers to these two questions, building on a decade of work by the Council of Michigan Foundations and their annual Community Foundation Data Book to offer new insight into community philanthropy across the state. Combining both longitudinal and contextual population data, this report offers new ways to think about community foundation growth and alternative benchmarks for individual community foundation trustees and executive leaders to use in planning and evaluation.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Offshore philanthropy

Organized philanthropy exists because a few individuals are able to accumulate a vast surplus of resources. Given how much good is done with philanthropic donations, it seems ungrateful to look too closely at the source of that money. Yet recent financial data leaks, including the Panama Papers and the earlier HSBC Swiss Files, act like glasses for the myopic—they bring into focus one of the wealth management practices that enables private individuals to hold on to resources. Moreover, a number of named individuals are well-known philanthropic donors. With these revelations, the sector should look hard at the uncomfortable ways in Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Operating Foundation

A type of private foundation – with assets usually derived from a single source – that uses the majority of its assets to operate charitable programs or provide services, rather than to make grants or other philanthropic investments. Operating private foundations must follow the general IRS regulations for private foundations, but are treated and classified as a distinct legal category, separate from non-operating foundations. Most operating foundations have an endowment, and some make a limited number of grants alongside operating their programs.

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Pathways to Grow Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in the Journey

This publication shares new learning about the role grantmakers should play. it offers a framework for understanding different approaches to scaling impact, stories from nonprofit leaders who have successfully grown their organizations’ impact, and practical recommendations for grantmakers seeking more effective ways to achieve better results.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Philanthropy Scholarship and Practice – Bridging the Divide

Philanthropy scholarship has the potential to inform practice and policy so that societal wellbeing is enhanced and positive change achieved. How can we make this happen? This special feature suggests two possibilities and also documents some successful experiences of knowledge transfer that may serve as prototypes for bridging the divide.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Planned Giving

General term for a variety of methods of giving used in financial or estate planning, in which part or all of the donation is deferred to a later date, usually the death of the donor. Often allows donors to make larger gift commitments than they could otherwise.

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PowerCheck: Community Organizing Capacity Tool

Supporting community organizing is key to developing movements where change is needed at local, national, and all levels. PowerCheck can help you understand the skills and readiness of your grantee, identify gaps and opportunities in your funding portfolio, focus resources where most needed, and assess grantee programs in their organizations.

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Private Foundation

A tax-exempt entity legally defined under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, distinguished from “public charity” entities covered in that same section. Private foundations usually get their funds from a single primary source such as an individual, family, or corporation. The category is further divided by the IRS into “operating” and “non-operating” foundations, with the majority of foundations being the latter (including corporate, family, health conversion, and independent foundations) and pursuing their charitable missions primarily through grantmaking or other philanthropic investments. Many private foundations keep funds in an endowment, though some are “pass through” entities, and they can be Read more

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Program and Communications – Making Good Things Happen Together

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising

The George H. Heyman, Jr. Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU’s School of Professional Studies offers courses and intensive study options for fundraisers and grantmakers, professional development, and conferences and events designed to provide information on the latest industry trends and developments.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Program-Related Investing

A type of impact investing in which a grantmaking institution provides capital in the form of low-interest loans, loan guarantees, or related financing methods that involve some form of repayment. PRI financing is provided to charitable organizations as well as other types such as L3Cs and socially responsible businesses. PRIs are meant to further the mission of the grantmaking institution using means beyond traditional grants, andthey count toward the annual payout requirement (5% of endowed assets) for private foundations.

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Program-Related Investments

Why is it that private foundations spend so little of their endowment on mission investing? Is there an opportunity to make it bigger? In this paper you will find an explanation of the barriers to mission investing, also known as Program Related Investment and Mission Related Investment, and a concluding hypothesis about what it will take to help remove the barriers. Educating foundation leadership, building foundation staff expertise, improving data quality and lowering the cost of making a mission investment are all issues to understand and address. If our hypothesis is correct, the time is now to build the necessary data, education Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Resources, Financial Stewardship

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Project Streamline Champions Toolkit

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Public Charity

A tax-exempt entity legally defined under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, distinguished from “private foundaton” entities covered in that same section. Public charities derive their funding primarily from the general public, through fees for service or products, contracts, and gifts and grants. Some public charities make grants or other philanthropic contributions such as scholarships (e.g., community foundations, public foundations), but most are focused on advancing their philanthropic missions through a variety of charitable services and activities.The IRS further subclassifies a number of types of public charities, including supporting organizations.

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Public Foundation/Grantmaking Public Charity

A type of public charity that has grantmaking (e.g., for medical research or scholarships) as its primary activity. While these institutions make grants like private foundations, they are classified as public charities and meet the public support test by raising the money they use for grantmaking from multiple public sources, including individuals, corporations, private foundations, contracts and fees, etc. Even though they raise new money from the public on a regular basis, public foundations can also have some endowment.

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Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide

Advancing race equity and inclusion can sometimes seem daunting and often leaves many wondering how and where to start. One way to achieve social change in an organization is to incorporate race equity and inclusion at every stage of work. The seven steps in this guide provide a clear framework for undertaking this important work. This tool adds to the resources already created by partners who have been working in the field. It works by demonstrating how a race equity lens can be adopted by foundations or other organizations that work directly with systems, technical assistance providers and communities.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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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

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Sink or Swim? Jumping into the pool of foundation communications

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Smarter Grantmaking in Action: GHR Foundation

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Smarter Grantmaking in Action: Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

This GEO blog post shows how the development of the Healthy Communities Leadership Academy has allowed the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to see more authentic and effective collaboration as well as stronger connections and relationships.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Smarter Philanthropy for Greater Impact: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Social Enterprise/Social Business

A commercial entity that uses business practices and provides products or services that generate revenue in the marketplace, but does so in order to advance a social or charitable mission. Related to the idea of “corporate social responsibility,” but in social enterprises and social businesses the social mission is top priority and all aspects of the business – the nature of its products and services, hiring and personnel policies, environmental practices, etc. – align with that philanthropic mission. B Corps/Benefit Corporations, and L3Cs, are usually considered social businesses.

Categories: Resources









Social Impact Bond

A new, performance-based investment mechanism bringing together government, service providers, and investors in a contractual relationship to provide the captial needed to achieve some desired social outcome. Also known as “pay-for-success” bonds. Investors provide funding, often through a coordinating intermediary, to a service provider such as a nonprofit organization. If the provider achieves certain outcomes goals and measurable results, then the government pays financial returns to the investors based on the cost-savings the government realizes because of this success.

Categories: Resources









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

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Stewarding wealth for the common good: how an Asian family office incorporated climate change mitigation into its portfolio

‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’ So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Stop managing grants. Start managing your network.

Scaling solutions, building resilience, catalysing innovation: these are the philanthropy sector’s buzzwords du jour. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these goals – except that the current programme officer position isn’t set up to deliver them. If you want to have social impact, stop thinking of this role as managing a set of grants and instead consider what it means to be a network manager.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Strategic Co-Funding: An Approach for Extended Impact

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Strategic or emergent: why are we stuck 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 of them have focused on the way consultants behave and how they interact with foundations and non-profits – in other words, the philanthropy system. We would like to broaden that debate and in doing so to leave the swimming pool and venture out into the sea.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Supporting Organization/Supporting Foundation

A subcategory of public charity defined in the Internal Revenue Code and subject to certain special requirements and restrictions. A supporting organizaton exists to benefit, or to perform functions for or of, one or more other public charities. A supporting organization has a very close relationship with another public charity in operations and control. While there are many variations under this IRS category, and while supporting organizations are technically public charities, they often have “foundation” in their name, such as university foundations or hospital foundations that exist to raise money and provide assistance to those institutions and are influenced by Read more

Categories: Resources









Taking the Bull by the Horns: Creating a Culture of Community Leadership

In this video from the Community Leadership Video Catalogue, a staff and board team share their perspectives on Spartanburg County Foundation’s transformation from charity to philanthropy.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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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.

Categories: Grantmaking, Beyond the Grant , Resources

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The Alliance magazine June issue – Solidarity – more in common?

Solidarity – more in common? ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’ These were the words of Jo Cox in her maiden speech to the UK Parliament on 3 June 2015. On 16 June 2016, just over one year later, Cox was murdered on her way to a meeting in her constituency. The Alliance special feature, guest edited by King Baudouin Foundation’s Stefan Schäfers, explores the complex and sensitive relationship between philanthropy and solidarity. Jo Cox’s murder was not just an affront to our common humanity but a Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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The Art and Science of Storytelling (VIDEO)

As communications professionals, storytelling is what we do. We do it because it is one of the best ways to evoke an emotional connection to an abstract issue – to put a human face on the messages we convey. However, it’s how the story is framed that matters. Studies in neuroscience and psychology show that while stories can evoke a quick emotional response, carefully framed narratives that appeal to reason are also needed to inspire action. To help people understand this new research and learn more about how to use it in their communications practice we recently held a webinar, Read more

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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The Center for High Impact Philanthropy Blog: How Can I Help?

In the wake of natural disasters, health crises, and violence donors often ask, “How Can I Help?” To shed some light on this question, we developed a blog series on a variety of different disaster relief and recovery topics.  

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Resources









The DOs and DON’Ts of Working with Local Funders

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

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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The Exit Interview: Perceptions of Why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking Institutions

In most major foundations today, it is now commonplace not just to track but to require diversity of staff and leadership both within their own organizations and externally among their grantees. Yet, emerging data suggest that the experiences of many Black professionals in grantmaking institutions may challenge the current thinking on the field’s increasing commitment to diversity. This study is patterned after a traditional “exit interview”—a brief conversation conducted with an outgoing employee for the purpose of helping an organization assess its own performance and understand why the employee is seeking opportunities elsewhere. By sharing these candid reflections, this report aims Read more

Categories: Equitable Evaluation, Resources

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The International Charitable Nonprofit Subsector

Though international nonprofits are just 2 percent of the U.S. charitable nonprofit sector, they have continued to grow in size and scope to meet pressing demands around the world. This policy brief provides a snapshot of the international subsector through an analysis of trends in their size, resources, and scope from FY 2001 to FY 2003 in three major areas of operation: international development and relief assistance, international understanding (e.g., educational exchanges), and international affairs. It gives an overview of the geographic concentrations and the depth of U.S. international nonprofit activities and enumerates the importance of small organizations in international Read more

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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The Setting Matters: How to Create the Container for Achieving Results

The Casey video, Leading for Results: Creating the Container, shows how the foundation’s results-based leadership faculty create an environment so meeting participants can effectively focus on achieving measurable results.  

Categories: Foundation Management, Individual Professional Development , Resources

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The Source Codes of Foundation Culture

This publication begins an exploration into the set of influences shaped by grantmakers’ founders and leaders that affect organizations’ internal cultures. Funders can use this document to support conversations among board and staff to articulate and understand the origins of organizational assumptions, examine beliefs and behaviors, and identify aspects of culture that drive or impede effective work.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Resources

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The Women Effect

Try this exercise. When you think ‘women’ and ‘investing’ what do you think about? This piece is going to ask you to think about the ‘women effect’ as a factor across multiple dimensions where ‘women and girls’ and ‘impact investing’ come together. Across all asset classes, and a variety of stakeholders.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Resources

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Tips for Evaluating Advocacy A Checklist for Grantmaking Organizations

This checklist will keep you on track for effective evaluation of advocacy.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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Top Readings and Resources on Learning From Failure

Over the past several years, there has been discussion in the world of philanthropy about failure. Here is a collection of ideas about failure – whether you learn more from it than success, how you learn from it, how organizations look at it, and the importance of failure in achieving eventual success. These different viewpoints on failure and learning come from both the field of philanthropy and from other sectors. Following Up on Failure – from The Chronicle of Philanthropy regarding learning from failure Failing Forward – posted on both Lucy Bernholz’s Philanthropy 2173 and Alliance Magazine’s blog Exploring Failure – Stanford Social Innovation Review Embracing Failure at Read more

Categories: Foundation Management, Individual Professional Development , Resources

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Top Resources for Philanthropists with Few or No Staff

By: Exponent Philanthropy  Across the country, tens of thousands of foundations, giving circle members, donor advised fund holders, and individual donors are intentionally keeping their operations lean and their ears to the ground. These “lean” funders seek to nimbly maneuver their dollars, skills, and influence to achieve the most good.   At Exponent Philanthropy, we’re dedicated to serving funders who choose to give big with few or no staff. We’re pleased to share the following top resources from our shop and trusted colleague organizations.   Get up to speed If new to philanthropy or in need of a refresher, turn Read more

Categories: Individual Professional Development , Resources, Top 5 Lists

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Transitions: an opportunity like no other

Following the January 2011 revolt in Tunisia against the regime of President Ben Ali, the country’s transition leaders adopted an open-door approach to foreign aid. An avalanche of mostly uncoordinated aid followed. Donors – private and bilateral – arrived asking questions like, ‘Who is your Mandela?’ They produced an event overload, sponsoring dozens of conferences and hotel-room trainings on identical topics. Funding opportunities and partnerships were concentrated in the capital, Tunis, and in few other parts of the country. Grant applications were often English-only. Talent was drained from local organizations to produce repetitive mappings of civil society for external donors Read more

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Volunteering/Giving Time

Giving time to a charitable cause or organization without receiving financial remuneration. Often refered to as “service” or expanded to include giving talent, energy, expertise, etc. Often combined with other forms of giving, but can be the sole method of donating. [gravity forms id=”5″ update]

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Watch it Now: An Introduction to Integrated Data Systems

This quick video shows how this powerful tool works by linking and leveraging secure information already gathered by public agencies. Participating organizations decide what data to share, where to store this information and how it can be used. This new picture has fewer statistical blind spots, which can help lawmakers and leaders develop smarter policies, programs and strategies for supporting system and community solutions.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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What Are We Talking About When We Talk About Impact?

Everybody’s talking about it. Individual donors, foundations, impact investors, and nonprofits all say they want it. But what do they all mean? This analysis examines the different ways people are using the term and the implicit assumptions that can prevent progress. It ends with the 3 key questions that enable donors to cut through the noise and stay on the path to making the positive difference in the world they seek. Although helpful to all donors interested in practicing high impact philanthropy, the analysis offers specific examples related to addressing the needs of women and girls, thanks to our collaboration Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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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.

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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What does effective due diligence look like?

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

Categories: Grants Management, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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What influence does philanthropy exert?

There are increasing signs of philanthropy influencing policy and policy networks but, as yet, no overarching theory of how it does so. Philanthropic traditions vary, as do the political, social and economic contexts in which foundations operate. Influence can be exerted in different ways – not only through the ‘hard power’ of financial resources but also through the influence wielded behind the scenes and out of public view. It can be exerted by empowering others or funding research. Influence over public policy is only one type of influence, but it is particularly important to debates about the role of private Read more

Categories: Resources









What Is High Impact Philanthropy?

High impact philanthropy means getting the most good for your philanthropic dollar. It is the process by which a philanthropist makes the biggest difference possible, given the amount of capital invested.  

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Models & Approaches, Resources

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What It Takes: How to Build an Effective, Modern Communications Shop

Communications Network has found that old modes of communication are no longer sufficient on their own, and it’s more important than ever for every member of your team to possess at least a basic knowledge of writing, messaging, branding, etc. They created a guide to help foundations improve their overall communication. There are steps you can take to improve your communications work in this ever-evolving field.

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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When is transparency a really bad idea?

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

Categories: General Grantmaking Skills, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Resources

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Why Bad Video Happens to Good Causes

Video is everywhere. Collectively, we upload 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute. Nonprofits and foundations upload hours of video to their websites, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. It seems like every good cause in the world is either using video or panicking because they haven’t started yet and feel like they’re falling behind. But simply posting video on your site doesn’t guarantee anyone will watch it. This webinar presents 10 critical elements of video production that you can begin applying to your organization’s video today. It all comes down to re-thinking your approach to video, the audience who Read more

Categories: Strategic Communications , Foundation Management, Resources

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Why funding research is not enough

Over ten years, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has run more than 350 studies in 51 countries to find what works in alleviating poverty. They have had some success in influencing policies of governments, NGOs, foundations and others. Here’s what they have found.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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