10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 2)

Last week, we looked at five mistakes that new foundation boards often make, and how to avoid them. Below are five more practices that may get new boards off to a rocky start. Fortunately, they’re all avoidable with a little foresight, planning and honest introspection. Failing to learn The opportunity to expand your knowledge doesn’t stop with what you have to know. Instead, consider all of the aspects of governance, visioning, planning, collaborating, and grantmaking that you could learn because you want to know. If your foundation focuses on a particular interest area, such as education or health or social justice, consider engaging in conferences, trainings, reading, conversations, and consultations with experts to increase your knowledge. In addition, recognize the … Continue reading 10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 2)

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10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

The philanthropic sector has seen steady growth over the past decade, and while some new foundation boards may be made up of veteran philanthropists, I’ll wager that many of those entrusted are taking on the job for the first time. It’s a big responsibility, and many of the early choices made by a new board can determine whether the new foundation will move forward smoothly and effectively or become mired in a culture or in policies that stifle effectiveness. I was recently invited to speak with a new health legacy foundation board and shared with them 10 mistakes that new foundation boards often make, and how to avoid them. Here are the first five (I’ll cover the other five next … Continue reading 10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

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Use an Abundance Mentality to Streamline Foundation Processes

About a year ago, I wrote a newsletter article about grantmaking with an abundance mentality rather than a poverty mentality. That sparked a good bit of interest, some speaking requests, and an article in the December 2015 edition of GMNsight (a publication of the Grants Managers Network) about how an abundance mentality can help foundations streamline almost every process to boost efficiency, productivity and morale. In the GMNsight article (also available for download on my website), there are several examples of what a poverty mentality looks like and how it hinders effectiveness: Understaffing that subjugates networking and knowledge building with administrative tasks Lack of investments in technology or policies that prohibit its most productive uses (such as working remotely) Over-done … Continue reading Use an Abundance Mentality to Streamline Foundation Processes

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Want to Save Time? Get Laser-Focused

As the new year gets off to a rousing start, I know many of us are thinking that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I know that’s true for me, as I wonder how on earth it is already February! But at the same time, I’ve also begun looking at the ways in which I sometimes allow things to take longer than they should. As philanthropists, we have the luxury of time. We rarely have make-or-break deadlines (although we give them to grant seekers), and even at our busiest, we’re still moving at a leisurely pace compared to many of the people we fund. Too often we also allow our efforts to fill the … Continue reading Want to Save Time? Get Laser-Focused

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