Tag Archives: impact

Looking for Impact? Don’t Overlook the Ripple Effect

Grantmakers are always looking for impact. We define the quantitative outcomes we want to achieve with our funding. We collect qualitative evidence through stories of those whose lives are changed as a result of our work. But we often forget to look for and capture the “ripple effect” of the grants that we make. Here are two examples: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation recently gave a grant to the Community Foundation of Sonoma County to update its business model. As part of that updating process, the Community Foundation is collecting and curating data about the business models of other community foundations across the country. They will share that information widely with their peers, who are hungry for it. Hence, … Continue reading Looking for Impact? Don’t Overlook the Ripple Effect

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Create a Culture of Learning

A culture of learning is one that encourages ongoing inquiry and questioning. It is comfortable with the fact that there is always more to learn and explore, and therefore the “work” of learning is never-ending. Learning is at the core of all research and development. The more you approach work with a sense of curiosity and inquiry, the more you can research and develop new approaches. This can be a challenge for foundation staff or boards who are geared toward finding the “one” solution to a challenge, checking it off the list, and moving on. But the culture of learning and ongoing inquiry is why cell phones now fit in the palm of your hand, and why more cancers are … Continue reading Create a Culture of Learning

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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 … Continue reading 12 Strategies for Spreading Your Small Grant Further

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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 … Continue reading The Power of Taking Stock: 5 Reasons to Conduct Evaluations

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