Most philanthropies seek to be strategic and have an impact. Yet few build their own internal capacity to be strategic grantmakers. In particular, most funders forget to intentionally learn from their initial piloting and testing of strategies so that they can make early modifications and course corrections. Learning isn’t hard to do, but it must be intentional, documented, discussed within your team, and it must lead to decision making. It can’t simply exist inside a program officer’s head. One of our clients, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, asks themselves, “What will make or break this grant?” when deciding whether to recommend a significant grant to their board. They are clear on the risks involved and what needs to happen … Continue reading Learning How to Learn
There are many rules of thumb and lists of best practices out there for grantmakers. Yet, so many grantmakers seem to get caught in ruts of practice and policy that hold them back from achieving the effectiveness and impact they want to deliver. Here are five of the most common mistakes that I’ve seen through my practice, and even seasoned grantmakers make them over and over again: 1 – Cutting yourself off from new ideas I believe in the power of strategic philanthropy – being focused on your goals and funding the strategies and practices that you believe will lead to the greatest impact. However, many strategic funders take this idea to the extreme and refuse to entertain new ideas, … Continue reading 5 Common Philanthropy Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make
My previous blog post shared 5 mistakes to avoid if you are a new foundation CEO and new to philanthropy. One mistake is not being willing to learn about your new role and field. Below I share eight resources that can help you in your role. In addition, nothing beats getting advice from seasoned foundation leaders, or if needed retaining a coach or advisor to help you. 1 – LearnPhilanthropy provides a wealth of free resources to accelerate learning among newcomers to philanthropy 2 – The Council on Foundations offers resources for CEO leadership development and foundation management 3 – If you are running a family foundation, the National Center on Family Philanthropy offers the CEO Initiative 4 – CEOs of small foundations … Continue reading 8 Resources for New Foundation CEOs
I’ve worked with many new foundation CEOs, some of whom are not only new to their role, but new to philanthropy. If you find yourself in this position, here are 5 mistakes you should avoid: 1 – Assuming you don’t need to learn about philanthropy because you were hired for being “an outsider.” There is a trend in philanthropy to poo-poo philanthropy. A belief that philanthropy is too insular, which isn’t entirely untrue. However, every field needs to bring in fresh thinking and new ideas, and one way to accomplish that is to hire from outside. But that doesn’t mean that the field is damaged. Giving money away is not easy. Recognize that you are standing on the shoulders of seasoned … Continue reading Are You A New Foundation CEO? Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes!