Don't wait to change your approach to grantmaking.
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ISSUE NUMBER 195 | April 2, 2018

Are You Ready to be Strategic?

Test your readiness with the following checklist.

Incorporating a strategic approach to grantmaking isn’t something foundations can or should do overnight. Developing a strategy involves learning, planning, testing and cultivating support within the community. When, how, and how much to invest in a strategic approach are decisions that foundation leadership must weigh carefully.

Moving into strategic philanthropy can be intimidating. There are many steps to take, questions to ask, and options to consider. But don’t let the challenge lead to paralysis. If you’re thinking of developing a strategic grantmaking approach, use the following checklist to test your readiness. Do any of these statements reflect your current situation?

  • You are frustrated by a lack of understanding of your foundation’s impact.
  • You have identified specific needs that you want to address more intentionally.
  • Changes in the environment present new opportunities.
  • You are noticing trends in grant requests, such as funding for a specific issue or in a particular community, signaling a potential need to dive deeper.
  • A strategic opportunity presents itself, such as another funder leading a new effort who asks you to participate (and the strategy is in alignment with goals).
  • You’re bored. While consistency of focus is very important, if the grants you are making aren’t exciting to you, it may be time to reexamine your approach.

If any of these apply to you, you might be ready for strategic grantmaking. If three or more apply, then what are you waiting for?

To learn about more grantmaking options, download the white paper Responsive vs. Strategic Grantmaking: Exploring the Options.

Additional Reading:

© 2018 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

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Kris Putnam-Walkerly serves as a trusted advisor to foundation leaders and high-wealth donors across the globe. As an advisor, Kris serves as a personal sounding board to help leaders and their teams navigate day-to-day and long-term strategic decisions. Whether you are the CEO, staff member or a high-net worth donor, you would have unrestricted access to Kris' expertise to get advice on any aspect of your philanthropic work.

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Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, has helped to transform the impact of top global philanthropies for almost 20 years. A member of the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame and named one of America's Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers. Author of the award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders, which was named one of "The 10 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Books." For more ways to improve your giving, visit Putnam Consulting Group.

"Kris is great at making the complex easy to understand, and helps grantmakers shift their thinking to embrace new possibilities and opportunities. Her presentations to our board and grantmakers association were engaging, informative and inspiring, and have set us all on a clearer path toward effectiveness."
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