Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation

FavoriteKresge’s Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation Practice this week launched its first-ever page on the Kresge website to share its knowledge and evaluations with the sector and community partners across the country. The web page reflects the expansion of the practice with the hiring of Strategic Learning and Evaluation Officer, Anna Cruz, who joined Director Chera Reid. The foundation’s strategic learning, research and evaluation function was established in late 2015 to help Kresge program and practice teams connect data and insights with action to augment the expansion of opportunities for people with low incomes in America’s cities. Learn more here.

Bracing for a Downturn: Nonprofits, Charitable Deduction Worries, and How Foundations Can Help

FavoriteOn January 1, 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect, providing significant tax reductions for both individuals and corporations and doubling the amount of the standard deduction that individuals can claim in their tax returns. How are nonprofit and foundation leaders viewing the implications of this legislation? What role can funders play in helping grantees respond to it? In January and February 2018, CEP surveyed nonprofit and foundation leaders to gain insights into these questions. Based on survey responses from 170 nonprofit CEOs and 187 foundation staff who hold the highest level of responsibility for programmatic work at Read more

The Foundation Guidebook: For New Foundations and Those New to Philanthropy

FavoriteThe Foundation Guidebook provides the baseline knowledge you need for running a foundation and get to the really important work of making a difference. You’ll learn how to build a foundation through thoughtful design and careful construction. Recognizing, though, that you have a lot to do in too little time, this guidebook focuses on practical ways to get the job done simply.

Foundations 101 Virtual Seminar

FavoriteGet up to speed on foundation essentials with this series of virtual seminars on the key components of running a foundation: getting started, governance basics, legal issues, grantmaking, and investments. Learn the basics about the importance and the impact of each facet of foundation operations and come away with usable tips. Participants are encouraged to purchase the Foundation Guidebook to complement their learning experience. Series Schedule May 2: Getting Started May 16: Governance Basics May 30: Legal Basics June 13: Investment Management Over June 27: Grantmaking Basics

Digital Adoption in 2018 Advancements and Challenges to Digital Engagement at Nonprofits

FavoriteThe Digital Adoption survey seeks to understand how organizations are making decisions and addressing the challenges of internet access and use by both staff and the communities they serve. Nearly 60 percent of organizations surveyed said they do not provide any digital inclusion programming, and the biggest barrier to doing so is resource and capacity—not surprisingly, the top two indicators that organizations would provide digital literacy programs and other services were new or increased funding and training for staff.  The good news is digital adoption is increasing, but there are still gaps or needs among specific communities that digital inclusion Read more

General Operating Support: A Guide for Trustees

FavoriteThere is overwhelming evidence that general operating support grants can have significant impact on nonprofits and communities. This guide provides an introduction for trustees and boards on general operating support grants. Foundation leaders can use this piece as a way to broach this topic and have candid conversations with their boards.

Journey to Creative Placemaking: Lessons and Insights

FavoriteReflections, learnings and insights on Creative Placemaking are shared in this series of white papers from The Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture team in concert with partners from different fields and sectors for grantmakers and practitioners working to fully integrate arts and culture with community development and urban planning practices. The first paper, Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program, the First Decade, was posted in January, 2018, and subsequent papers will be posted throughout the year. Topics include: Kresge’s journey to creative placemaking Creative Placemaking on-the-ground impacts Creative Placemaking field observations Catalyzing Culture and Community Through community development finance institutions (CDFIs) Anchor strategies  

2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report

FavoriteThe 2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report is based on the 17th operations and management survey of members of Exponent Philanthropy that was fielded in summer 2017. The 2018 edition of our flagship report includes mission-critical statistics about member foundations’ boards and governance, investments, administration, and grantmaking. It also includes the latest benchmarking data on salary and benefits.

Pretty Good Tool: Talking About Evolutions

FavoriteEverything is in process. But our ways of thinking about organizational development often don’t account for that. This tool helps you think about where you have been and where you are headed by examining the ongoing change of your organization, team, project, strategy or field. The Giving Practice is Philanthropy Northwest’s national consulting team. Pretty Good Tools are created by The Giving Practice consultants for practitioners in philanthropy, based on our consulting engagements.

State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey 2018

Favorite NFF’s State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey is a major national effort that captures and shares real-time financial and operational data in a sector where data remains dangerously scarce. Launched in 2009, it quickly filled a gaping need, becoming a collective megaphone for nonprofits and a crucial evidence base for a wide array of sector funding discussions. Today, the Survey has grown to thousands of respondents and hundreds of distribution and outreach partners. The 2018 Survey represents quantitative and qualitative responses from nearly 3,400 nonprofits of all sizes and missions, across 50 US states. Sharing our Survey data widely and Read more

author Lynn Wooten

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

FavoriteBy: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations for Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; 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 Read more

Becoming Strategic: Finding Leverage Over the Social and Economic Determinants of Health

FavoriteThis article presents examples of how strategic thinking evolved in a sample of health conversion foundations as they determined how they would address various social determinants of health. The article also considers how a foundation can develop a strategic pathway that fits with its mission, values, philosophy, resources, and sphere of influence. 

Foundation Transparency: Opacity — It’s Complicated

FavoriteThis article examines transparent and opaque practice in private philanthropy, studying the literature as well as findings from interviews with foundation staff, trustees, and grantees that sought answers to two relevant questions: Does opacity exist in private philanthropy? Have foundations and grantees developed strategies for overcoming challenges related to opacity? 

In a Good Way: Advancing Funder Collaborations to Promote Health in Indian Country

Favorite This article examines how three organizations collaborated on work to control commercial tobacco use in Minnesota’s Indian Country, and shares lessons learned on how they came to incorporate tribal culture, respect traditional tobacco practices, and acknowledge historical trauma to inform their grantmaking. 

Top Blogs for Grantmakers

FavoriteLearnPhilanthropy staff collected blogs about philanthropy that can enhance your learning. Top 40 Philanthropy Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2018 — selected by Feedspot because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information. White Courtesy Telephone’s posts include news, opinions, and commentary from inside the third sector. Philantopic is a blog of Opinion and Commentary from The Philanthropy News Digest Lucy Bernholz’s blog Philanthropy 2173: The Business of Giving shares her opinions about the long-term vision of philanthropy. The Center for Effective Philanthropy Blog offers better data, better decisions, better philanthropy. Philanthropy411 Kris Putnam-Walkerly Read more