Category Archives: Philanthropy Trend

8 Silo-Smashing Trends in Philanthropy

This article was originally written and published for Exponent Philanthropy. Read the original post here. In my work as a philanthropic advisor, I come across philanthropy in all forms- from individual giving to institutional grantmaking and everything in between. It used to be that most of my clients engaged in their work from behind a wall of protection. Charity and grantmaking were held aside and in addition to other forces for good. However, over the past few years I’ve noticed philanthropy in all forms becoming less siloed and more interwoven with the world around it. Here are eight manifestations of this trend: 1. CEO branding. Foundation CEOs and high-net-worth donors, following in the footsteps of their corporate counterparts, are realizing the personal and … Continue reading 8 Silo-Smashing Trends in Philanthropy

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Streamlining is Simple…Start Small

There are many reasons why philanthropy should streamline – excessively long strategic planning processes, grant proposals that take 8 months to be funded, board meeting dockets that measure 3 inches high – and the task can seem daunting. However, there is a way to quickly streamline…by starting small. Let me give you an example: I recently stayed at the Marriot Marquis in Washington, DC and ordered room service. You know the routine:  Order food, wait, hotel staff brings it in your room, they hand you a bill, you sign it while they stand around, and they leave.  Not anymore. The Marriott has eliminated futzing with the bill! Instead they deliver you the food, and promptly walk out the door. No … Continue reading Streamlining is Simple…Start Small

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Equity is…

  This is a guest post by Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink. Equity is a big, dynamic idea. The field — the universe of people working to create a just, fair society — is blossoming. Reading the provocatively titled blog post, “What the Heck Does Equity Mean?,” by Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Elizabeth Russell, I was struck by two thoughts. First, I am not surprised they found that a universal definition of equity is elusive. Second, I am not concerned. Rather, I am thrilled to see so many people and organizations embrace the hope of equity and grapple with the complexity of translating that hope into action. I am grateful to see people in philanthropy and beyond search for their … Continue reading Equity is…

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Creativity is the Missing Ingredient

  This is a guest post by Allen Smart, vice president of programs, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. In a New York Times opinion piece earlier this year by Dr. Adam Grant, a Wharton management and psychology professor, Grant put forward the argument that real innovation comes not from endless practice and refinement but from creating a space for children, in this case, “to think for themselves” and to find “joy in work.” Further, Grant writes that adults’ creative contributions depend on “the breadth, not just the depth, of our knowledge and experience.” These concepts also ring true for philanthropy. We are in the midst of what feels like a downward spiral that started with measurement and return on investment; took … Continue reading Creativity is the Missing Ingredient

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Collected Wisdom for Grantmakers

This week, instead of sharing one point of wisdom, I’d like to share many – 46 of them, in fact. That’s how many entries you’ll find in my newly published book, Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders. Why write a book? While a blog is great for sharing advice and helpful content in small, quick bursts of content, it also helps to have wisdom collected all in one place. This is true for just about any topic. As a parent, I value little pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up here and there from friends and relatives, but there’s a reason why Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care is one of the top-selling books of all time. As a consultant, I use … Continue reading Collected Wisdom for Grantmakers

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3 Trends I’m Watching in 2016

It’s a new year filled with new opportunities for philanthropy. Now if we could all just get a handle on what they are and how to take advantage of them! There are many things unfolding in our world that will have an impact on our work this year, this decade and beyond. I’m not big on making predictions, but I do like to keep my eyes and ears open and track new developments carefully. That’s why I’m watching three trends this year that I think are especially relevant for my work and for the field of philanthropy. Trend #1 – Fragmentation of information. If you’ve not watched or read this fascinating conversation between NYT columnist Farhad Manjoo and Knight Foundation … Continue reading 3 Trends I’m Watching in 2016

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7 Strategies of Highly Effective Conference-Goers

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in philanthropy-related conferences. Just this year, I’ve either attended or presented at seven of them. Conferences can require a significant investment of time and money on your part. They also can be highly worthwhile or a complete waste of time, depending on your mindset and your plan for making the time spent as productive as possible. Here are seven strategies that will help you get the greatest return on your conference investment. Know who’s there. Most conference registrations will allow you to see who’s coming. Before you go, scan the list to identify any potential partners, people you’d like to network with, folks who can offer a particular kind of … Continue reading 7 Strategies of Highly Effective Conference-Goers

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Fitbit Philanthropy

I’ve recently started a new fitness regimen, and as we all know, once you start intentionally exercising, you start noticing all the other people who are doing the same thing. Only this time, I’m also noticing the growing number of people who are wearing Fitbits. Just in case you’re not familiar with this device, it’s a sleek, watch-looking wristband that records your activity levels, including steps taken, distances traveled, active minutes and calories burned. It allows you to enter information about the food you eat and log your workouts. You can also get models that track and display the floors you’ve climbed, your track workouts, your heart rate and pulse, and more. Fitbit is a great dashboard for get information … Continue reading Fitbit Philanthropy

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“Policy” Shouldn’t Be a Four-Letter Word

“Policy” is a four-letter word within many foundations. That’s probably because policy is a gateway to advocacy, which can lead to lobbying. And that, if done incorrectly, can land a foundation in trouble. Better just to steer clear. Or is it? Think about the work that you do on a daily basis to fight poverty, promote health, improve education, address any number of social ills. Then think about how many times you or those you work with have said, “You know, we wouldn’t have this problem if…” Chances are, whatever “if” is, it’s related to policy. That means if philanthropy is truly going to be effective, policy engagement may need to be part of the plan. We’ve been very fortunate … Continue reading “Policy” Shouldn’t Be a Four-Letter Word

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Philanthropy Needs Strategy and Judgment, Not Tools and Tactics

Philanthropy and nonprofit leaders will continue jumping on tools and tactics, when strategy and judgment are needed. That’s the first philanthropy trend I predict for 2015, and I will share four more in the coming weeks. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean: 1 – Infographics: I’m all for finding visual and creative ways to educate people, but for the past few years people have jumped on the infographic bandwagon as if it were a solution for all information sharing. As a result, I’ve seen documents so crammed full of graphics and percentages they make my head spin. Not everything needs an infographic. 2 – Crowdfunding: I had a foundation program officer recently tell me that … Continue reading Philanthropy Needs Strategy and Judgment, Not Tools and Tactics

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