Call ‘em what you want – in my 18 years advising foundations and philanthropists I’ve seen the terms “regional association of grantmakers,” “funder networks,” “affinity groups,” “philanthropy communities,” and more – and now the new term is “philanthropy-serving organization” (PSO). Whatever you call it, the value is timeless – bringing funders of similar interests, types, sizes, and/or geographic locations together to network and learn from each other. In my work advising foundation CEOs, I’ve noticed that as leaders transition to new roles and move to new organizations, and as foundation priorities and grantmaking strategies evolve, many funders fail to take advantage of – and sometimes fail to even notice – PSOs that might meet their evolving needs. For example: Consider … Continue reading There’s a Philanthropy-Serving Organization for That!
No matter what your political leanings, I think we can all agree that this year’s election cycle has been one of the most tense and unpleasant in recent history. It’s enough to turn voters off from voting at all, and we probably all have a colleague, friend or family member somewhere who has announced their intention to skip the polls this year. But even if the choices may be unappealing to some, the act of voting is still important. Voting is a right, but it’s also a responsibility. And for many segments of our nation’s population (women, people of color, immigrants), voting represents the culmination of a hard-fought battle. While funders can’t support or endorse specific candidates, they can ensure … Continue reading 5 Ways Philanthropy Can Support The Electoral Process
In my experience, one thing holds philanthropists back from achieving dramatic impact on the issues and causes they care most about: They have a poverty mentality. It might seem like an oxymoron for people with wealth, or professional access to wealth, to experience a form of poverty, but hear me out. A poverty mentality in philanthropy is a belief that maintaining a Spartan operation equates to efficiency and effectiveness, and that you and/or your staff don’t deserve to invest in your own success. For example: Your executive director spends a significant portion of her time handling basic administrative activities, such as meeting logistics, travel reimbursement, taking minutes, and copyediting board dockets, leaving her less time to focus on strategy, planning, … Continue reading Embrace Abundance!
Foundations often expect nonprofits to collaborate, yet they less frequently turn that expectation on themselves. There is tremendous opportunity to exponentially expand the impact of your grantmaking through funder collaboration. If you’re just getting started in exploring collaboration, or want a refresher, here’s a quick look at the basics: What are the types of funder collaboration? Funder collaboration comes in all shapes and sizes, but in general there are three primary types: Shared learning. Funders come together to learn about latest topics and share experiences in a particular area of interest. Strategic alignment. Funders learn about and support various aspects of a shared agenda, such as a systemic change in a field or laying the groundwork for policy change, but … Continue reading Collaboration 101
When most people think about philanthropy, it’s all about the money. But cold, hard cash is just one of many tools in a grantmaker’s tool belt. And some of those non-cash tools are far more effective when it comes to addressing grantee needs and community challenges. Here are eight tools grantmakers can – and should – use more often: Connections – Who are the people you know, and how could you make introductions or referrals for your grantees? If you’re like most people, you probably have a broader list of contacts than you realize. Don’t be afraid to use it. Think about the other funders, accountants, attorneys, consultants, government employees, and nonprofit leaders you’ve met. How could these people help … Continue reading 8 Tools Grantmakers Frequently Forget to Use
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of things said about philanthropy. Many were spot on. Some were downright brilliant. A few were head scratchers. And then there are the ones that are so ridiculous they almost make you want to throw your hands up and walk away. Some of the statements below came from folks who were relatively new to the field, so perhaps they are somewhat excusable. Others, sadly, were from the lips of veterans who should know better. In any case, comments like the ones that follow make an excellent case for investing in ongoing professional development for our field, especially as more and more players come into it. #1: “Giving away money makes me feel like … Continue reading 5 Ridiculous Things Said About Philanthropy
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 … Continue reading 6 Ways to Find Funding Partners
I’m thrilled to announce the 2010 Philanthropy411 Blog Team for the Council on Foundations annual conference in Denver! This year’s Team is organized in collaboration with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers. We’ll be blogging from Denver starting with the pre-conference sessions on Saturday, April 24th. As many of you know, Sean Stannard-Stockton’s Tactical Philanthropy Blog Team covered the conference in 2009 and 2008. This year Sean has generously passed the blog baton to Philanthropy411. The Council on Foundations will also be blogging from the conference, so definitely check out their conference posts as well. You can also follow the conference by using the hashtag #cof10. Here is your Philanthropy411 Blog Team: Rebecca Arno Vice President of Communications, Denver … Continue reading Your Team at the Council on Foundations Conference
When I was searching for my first foundation job, the CEO of a prominent family foundation told me: “Philanthropy is a closed world, but once you’re in, you’re in. Take any program officer job you are offered, even if it’s a different content area than what you are interested in. Once you are working at a foundation, you’re seen as an “insider” and can network with other funders.” That was accurate advice ten years ago, and I think it continues to be true. Although I think foundations are generally more open and accessible today than they were then, it can be difficult for someone to “break into” the field. I was lucky enough to land a position at the David … Continue reading Looking For A Philanthropy Job? 20 Resources To Help You
There was so much interest in last month’s post of 90 Foundations That Tweet that I wanted to expand on it by sharing a list of funder networks on Twitter. What is a Funder Network? According to the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers: Funder networks consist of grantmakers organized around a specific funding issue, geographic location, or identity-based community that come together to build their skills, capacity, and impact. The networks: come in all shapes and sizes, including small and large private foundations, individual donors, community foundations, and philanthropists recognize the benefits of pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and benefiting from each other’s experiences increase resources for and focus attention on issues or underserved sectors Below are 20 funder networks … Continue reading 20 Funder Networks That Tweet