We often look to external sources for best practices, hoping that others have figured out the ideal way to accomplish something and we can simply duplicate it. But when is the last time you searched inside your organization for internal best practices? If the answer is rarely or never, read on! With a little time and intention, you can make dramatic improvements in your operations and grantmaking. Let me give you an easy example. Swimming is a regular part of my week day exercise routine. My pool is lucky to have a wonderful lifeguard named John. Whenever the lanes are full, John helps new swimmers identify a lane and asks the lane’s occupant it he or she would mind sharing. John’s friendly manner always solicits … Continue reading The Best Practices You Never Knew You Had
I love developing new grant initiatives for foundations and individual philanthropists. There is nothing more exciting that identifying a problem where you have the potential to make a difference and then putting a plan in place to do just that. However, once the fanfare has subsided, I’ve noticed that many funder initiatives lose steam. Frustration builds as the approach that seemed so promising barely seems to make a dent in the problem, and certainly isn’t delivering the results it should. Here are three reasons why funding initiatives can fail instead of flourish: You didn’t learn from others Your new effort to ensure all children are reading by 3rd grade, transform public education in your state, or provide rural communities with … Continue reading 3 Reasons Your New Funding Initiative Will Falter
You’re designing a new philanthropic initiative and you expect results quickly. Which adjectives would you rather described your team? Option 1: Get up and go attitude, energetic, empowered, speedy, driven, inventive, and resourceful Option 2: Unsure, unclear, lethargic, slow, idle, and resistant If you have a pulse, I am guessing you chose Option 1. In my experience however, too many new philanthropic efforts crawl out of the gate because the participants and leaders are operating at Option 2. They don’t take initiative. But it’s relatively simple to set and elevate expectations for initiative-taking. In my consulting practice my team uses the “Five Degrees of Initiative” originally proposed in a Harvard Business Review Classic article “Who’s Got the Monkey” by William … Continue reading Does Your Grantmaking Initiative Take Initiative?
For once I would like to enter autumn feeling on top of things: my client work mapped out for the year, a clear understanding of how to meet my remaining annual goals in these next four months, and my kids’ school activities listed in my calendar. I would like to look fabulous in a wardrobe of “fall transitional clothes,” rather than resemble Eric Carle’s Mixed-Up Chameleon in some crazy combo of flip-flops, cotton dresses, and wool sweaters. So I’ve decided to implement a three-step process to solve my fall dilemma: Purge, Plan, Reward. I’m going to block out three solid days in the next month to: Purge: Out with the old (or the stressful, or the irrelevant) before starting something new. … Continue reading Purge, Plan, Reward: Your 3-Step Process for Getting Anything Done Quickly