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Top 5 Starting Places for Family Foundations and Donors

By: Michael Moody, Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy These five resources in the LearnPhilanthropy Knowledge Library are ideal starting places for grantmakers involved in family giving in some way – as a trustee or staff of a family foundation or a donor-advised fund, as an individual donor, as a consultant or family advisor, etc. This list also points to some of the primary infrastructure organizations serving family grantmakers, and each source has multiple other resources for family donors who want to dig further. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors: Your Philanthropy Roadmap – The “Philanthropy Read more





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TEDx and TED Talks About Learning

By: Megan Murphy, former project manager at LearnPhilanthropy  Here at LearnPhilanthropy, we are interested in how you learn as much as providing resources to help you learn. We believe it is important to think about our own learning styles. Having information on different styles and techniques can help us overcome frustration and be more intentional about focusing effort toward learning. Below are some of our favorite TEDx and TED Talks about learning how to learn. Learning How to Learn: Barbara Oakley talks about learning how to use focused energy to learn something new with the Pomodoro Technique. The First 20 Read more





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Jump Start Learning In Your Organization – Webinar

Understanding how to build a culture of learning to support your staff can be challenging. Whether you are a small foundation just starting to develop a new approach to learning or you are a well-established grantmaker looking for fresh ideas, this free, 45-minute webinar will help you support learning in your organization. Listen to the webinar, or download the slides.





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Top 10 Lessons Learned in Grantmaking – Webinar

Presented by: Caroline Altman Smith and Helen Davis Johnson of the Kresge Foundation Philanthropy can be a complex field. Whether you’re starting your career, transitioning into a new role, or simply want a refresher, let us be your guide. This free, 30-minute webinar will introduce you to essential topics every philanthropic professional should know and give you three strategies for getting more informed about and connected to the field. Listen to the webinar or download the slides. *Please note that the webinar recording starts a few minutes into the presentation.





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Strengthening Philanthropy through Strategic People Practices – Presenter Guide

PRESENTER GUIDE Background on the Presentation In 2013, during its centennial year, the Rockefeller Foundation launched a dialogue on people and talent within philanthropy, bringing together twenty leaders from 16 countries around the world for a symposium at the Bellagio Center entitled “Talent Management for Innovative and Impactful Philanthropy in the 21st Century.” The event’s agenda explored a range of issues, including what skills, experiences, and attributes are most needed in philanthropy today and how an investment in people can contribute greatly to organizational success. Since the Bellagio symposium, participants have remained committed to exploring the issues that the convening Read more





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Top Learning Frameworks for Grantmakers

By: Dara Major, Principal, Dara Major Philanthropy Consulting The specific learning needs of grantmakers can vary widely – depending on mission, goals, structure and context and, ultimately, individual roles and competencies. We’ve scanned the sector for existing, high-quality learning frameworks that illustrate a range of perspectives on roles and competencies in a variety of operating contexts, with the understanding that most grantmakers work within multiple frameworks. The examples below include a mix of knowledge (what grantmakers should know) and competencies (what grantmakers should be expected to do) – and are useful whether you are an individual program officer new to your Read more





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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





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Expert Q & A: How can grantmakers best read and analyze nonprofit financial statements?

By: Chad Gorski, Grants & Finance Coordinator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Understand the goal of the statement analysis and consider the risk assessment needs of your organization: What part of the required due diligence process does it fulfill? How much risk is acceptable? What red flags will impact decision-making? Is a ground-up analysis necessary or can third party info be used? See Project Streamline’s guide on Grant Budgets and Financial Reports, which helps grantmakers think through what information is really needed to make a grant. The Due Diligence Done Well guide from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is also very useful. Understand the Read more





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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





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Expert Q & A: How can we make learning fun for new grantmakers?

By: Jessica Bearman, principal, Bearman Consulting I went to Google and did a quick search on “Fun and Learning” and quickly noticed that with or without the quotation marks, all the hits were resources for kids. Searching on Adults Learning and Fun yielded a bunch of websites devoted to icebreakers… as though fun can be part of learning, as long as it’s contained at the beginning of the meeting or workshop. And so then I asked myself: “What makes learning fun and how can fun make learning better?”  Based on what we know about how adults learn, here are some quick Read more





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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





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Expert Q & A: How can philanthropic organizations create a learning culture even while “leading under pressure?”

By: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, Associate Dean and Clinical Full Professor, University of Michigan Ross School of Business; co-author with Dr. Erika Hayes James, Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis For the last decade my co-author, Erika James, and I have researched how organizations lead under pressure and especially in crisis situations. Although most organizations do not frequently confront crises, leading under pressure has become a new norm. Pressurized situations can be the result of budget constraints, time limitations, stakeholders’ demands, shortage of resources or employee strife.   From our research, we discovered that Read more





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Expert Q & A: What can someone working at a corporation in an area unrelated to corporate philanthropy do to orient himself or herself when joining the corporate citizenship team?

By: Ann Cramer, director, Americas, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs 1.   Get a basic orientation of your own corporate culture, values, and direction – corporate philanthropy and citizenship today is a lot different than employee engagement (volunteerism) with “tee shirts and balloons,” or even community relations and contributions.  Use local corporate donor groups as well as the Council on Foundations and United Philanthropy Forum affiliates to learn with and from colleagues. 2.  Read some of the really key/basic works.  For example: Rosabeth Moss Kanter”s “From Spare Change to Real Change;” The work of Michael Porter, Mark Kramer, John Kania on  foundation strategy, collective impact, shared value; Read more





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Expert Q & A: What can someone new to grantmaking, but joining a foundation in mid-career, do to accelerate his or her learning curve in this new field?

By: Judy Mohraz, trustee, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust 1.   Start by getting a handle on the soul of philanthropy, as well as the work of philanthropy.  Read the key works, for example: Mark Constantine’s Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination; Joel Fleishman’s book, The Foundation:  A Great American Secret; Harvard Business Review articles on strategy written by Mark Kramer, Michael Porter, and others. 2.  Get some exposure, if you don’t already have it (and if you do, don’t let it lapse…) to non-profits and the pressure they live under every day.  Know the basic mechanics of good governance, in a non-profit context, and the Read more





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

By: Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation 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.





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Top Philanthropy Job Boards

Nonprofit and Philanthropy Job Boards Associated Grant Makers Bridgespan Chronicle of Philanthropy The Communications Network Common Good Careers Council on Foundations Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy (EPIP) Idealist National Council of Nonprofits Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group The Nonprofit Times Opportunity Knocks Philanthropy Journal Philanthropy News Digest Professionals for Nonprofits United Philanthropy Forum Regional Job Boards Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers  Colorado Association of Funders Connecticut Council for Philanthropy Council of Michigan Foundations Northern California Grantmakers Philanthropy New York Philanthropy Northwest Philanthropy Ohio





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Expert Q & A: How Can a Young Professional Prepare for Advancement?

By: Karen McNeil-Miller, former president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Identify a potential role/level you would like to attain and seek out several people who already have those roles.  Find out the competencies/behaviors/skills needed to be effective in the role currently and in the future Be intentional in your career to seek roles along the way that can offer you an opportunity to develop those skills and competencies. Join EPIP (Emerging Professionals in Philanthropy) Volunteer inside and outside your organization to develop your skills Look for internal developmental assignments such as task forces, workgroups, committees, etc. Network with the people Read more





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LearnPhilanthropy’s Real Simple Taxonomy

Navigate LearnPhilanthropy’s resources on good practice from sources across the sector with this small, simple taxonomy. To ensure the taxonomy remains relevant, we’ll iterate to improve it over time, and remain highly flexible and responsive to changing environments as we go. Download the LearnPhilanthropy Real Simple Taxonomy.