What Are You Communicating?

Last week in Palm Beach, FL I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with and learn from 25 of the world’s top consultants, culminating in a discussion and dinner with James Carville. He advised us to clearly communicate who we are in order to stand out from the crowd and “break through the clutter.” He asked us to consider five questions: 1. What is your brand? 2. What do you stand for? 3. Are you authentic? 4. Do others say consistent things about you? 5. What can you do better than others? Coincidentally, I am currently advising a growing family foundation on the development of a communications plan. The questions James asked us as consultants are the same that funders … Continue reading What Are You Communicating?

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Uber Philanthropy

I am a recent user and fan of Uber, a new app that allows you to immediately find a car service, visually track the car, communicate with the driver, and pay remotely. It’s easy, reliable, fast, and consumer-driven. I think philanthropy leaders can learn from Uber about how to innovate for greater impact. It’s all about taking a standard practice we take for granted, turning it on its head, and radically improving the customer experience.   That’s what Uber did. We’ve all stood on street corners watching taxi after taxi drive by, wondering when and if one would ever become available. Uber took the obvious (a stressful, risky, and inefficient mode of transportation) and created a radically different customer experience (you select … Continue reading Uber Philanthropy

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3 Ways to Reduce Labor Intensity

Grantmakers, and their consultants, tend to overcomplicate things. Let me give you two simple examples of how this wastes time and prevents success. First: biweekly meetings. I’ve worked for funders who wanted me to stage biweekly meetings, for groups both large and small. In all cases, the process came before the goal: Each funder decided to have biweekly meetings before thinking about what they really wanted to accomplish. How effective the meetings were in reaching the goal was not a consideration. Second example: one-year grants. Offering a year of funding sounds fiscally responsible, since you’re checking for success before funding another year. But if you’re really likely to keep funding this organization, aren’t you being fiscally irresponsible? Think about the … Continue reading 3 Ways to Reduce Labor Intensity

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Stop the Board Docket Madness

5 practical ways to reduce labor intensity, simplify work, and generate more creativity among your staff  Every year, and generally every quarter, tens of thousands of foundations and their staff go into a frenzy of activity preparing for board meetings. They prepare binders of carefully scripted summaries of the grants they’re recommending for approval. These involve layers of bureaucratic approval processes, PowerPoint presentations, page lengths, word counts, and wordsmithing. I have clients who warn me in advance that they will not be available for two full weeks before their board meeting deadlines. Then they spend another half week on the actual board meeting, and finally they spend the next week catching up on emails, voicemails, and meetings they couldn’t get … Continue reading Stop the Board Docket Madness

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Four Strategies for Communications Planning in Grantmaking Initiatives

  Kris discusses the importance of having open, transparent communication from all participants within a grant making program. This podcast provides examples of how to implement top-down, bottom-up, inside-out and all around communication. https://putnam-consulting.com/wp-content/uploads/Putnam-131107-Q2-4-Strategies-for-Communications-Planning-in-Grantmaking-Initiatives-Rev.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadShare

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Myths Surrounding Philanthropy

Kris dispels myths that often surround philanthropy. https://putnam-consulting.com/wp-content/uploads/Putnam-130816-Q2-Myths-Surrounding-Philanthropy-Rev.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadShare

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