Category Archives: Philanthropy 411 Blog

Job Opening – Project Director at National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers

I serve as the Chair of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG) and we are currently seeking a new Project Director. In this part-time position, the project director will work with a dedicated group of volunteer members and a virtual office staff to: Expand the visibility and use of our Directory of Consultants as a vital resource to grantmakers Achieve organizational growth by increasing membership, creating business partnerships and successful grant funding Assist the professional consultant members in developing thought leadership via programs and networking Work with a part-time administrative team (contracted firm) to manage routine financial processing and routine communications For more information and to apply, please view the complete job description.

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6 Ways to Find Funding Partners

One of the best ways to increase the impact of your grantmaking is to leverage the funding and expertise of other foundations by developing funding partnerships. The trouble, of course, is that it’s not always easy to figure out who else might want to partner with you on your project. In my experience, there are six easy ways to identify possible funders to support you and your work. We’ll take a quick look at each: 1. Ask staff of your local Regional Association of Grantmakers. These individuals are working day in and day out with various foundations in your region, and they are keenly aware of the different issues and projects that are currently active. They will probably have some great

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Why RFPs Waste Time: Choose a Better Approach to Finding a Great Consultant — Part I

Imagine that the foundation for which you work needs to find consulting expertise for a particular project. Everyone agrees to develop an RFP to get qualified consultants to respond. That’s thorough, fair, and transparent. Right? Wrong. I rarely respond to RFPs for consulting engagements. Their expectations are not thorough, fair, or transparent. I find most RFPs to be a poor use of time and an impediment to my ability to improve our clients’ conditions.  What’s worse, many foundations fail to understand how an RFP process can waste their time and hinder their success. Foundations use RFPs to find consultants for four primary reasons: 1. They hope the proposals will give them free insights. 2. They don’t know many consultants and

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12 Strategies for Spreading Your Small Grant Further

Do you want to make a big splash with grant dollars, but you can only make a small gift? Not a problem! Some of the most effective change starts with a small grant. Follow a few simple strategies to create a ripple effect with a small gift. Here are 12 ideas to help you make a big impact. Educate yourself. Who else is funding your issue? What’s needed and what can you do? Devote a day to researching your topic, and identify relevant experts and foundation program officers. Call or e-mail them to learn more. Invest in a great leader. Identify leaders you believe in, then support them. For example, provide executive coaching or management training so they can build

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5 Questions That Will Improve Your Grantmaking

Giving money away is a complicated business, but a few simple questions can bring a lot of clarity to the process. The questions are straightforward, but they lead to deep issues that can impact your grantmaking profoundly. As you consider your next initiative, take some time to ask these questions:   What’s the problem? The first question to ask is what problem you want to solve. You may know that homelessness is the issue you care most about. But what’s the underlying cause to address? Is it that there aren’t enough jobs available? Is insufficient help available for people suffering from foreclosure? Are people coming out of the prison system with no resources and nowhere to live? You could consider these

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The Power of Taking Stock: 5 Reasons to Conduct Evaluations

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, but I am not sure many foundations fully believe that. In the course of working with foundations across the country, I have made a somewhat surprising discovery: Many foundations grossly underestimate the importance of evaluating impact. This is unfortunate, because evaluation is both enlightening and empowering. In fact, measuring impact can give you power to ultimately increase that impact. Here are five reasons why foundations should regularly conduct evaluations. 1.  Evaluate to measure impact. The first reason to conduct evaluations is plain and simple: How will you know if you have had any influence unless you evaluate the effectiveness of your grantmaking program? There is really only one way to learn what the

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Turn “Thank You” into Ongoing Growth and Development

We all know how great it feels to be recognized and applauded for a job well done, and you can shine a spotlight on emerging leaders and key issues by creating a leadership recognition program. But before you dive in, answer these three questions — they’ll help you build a program that meets your own needs and acknowledges those you want to reward.   1. Who benefits? Consider these four stakeholders: Your honorees – By acknowledging those who lead a nonprofit, you open doors to their future success, helping them gain recognition, legitimacy — and, perhaps, greater funding. Your honoree’s organization – Your acknowledgment benefits organizations as well as individuals, creating new awareness and helping the group build capacity, collaborate,

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