Tag Archives: philanthropist

Ask One Question To Save Time, Save Money And Achieve Greater Impact

Change the outcomes in your philanthropic journey. Learning isn’t hard to do, but it must be intentional and continuous. Whatever role you play in philanthropy—be it donor, foundation leader or trustee—in order to make a real impact, you have to ask the right questions. And there is one question that is guaranteed to save time and money and help achieve dramatic results. It’s a simple question, but the answers you receive can help you start out with a sound strategy, change your outcomes and change the way you think about your giving. That question is this: “If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?” Yes, it’s really that simple. If you ask others that question while … Continue reading Ask One Question To Save Time, Save Money And Achieve Greater Impact

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Free Download and New Book Coming February 2020

Get out of your own way and transform your giving. I recently learned from a client that the first thing she does each day is read a chapter from my award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders and reflect upon how it relates to her work. She said, “It was helpful to get my mind oriented to where it ought to be. Less focused on tasks and more focused on, ‘Where are we going and how do we get there?’” As a writer and an advisor, I cannot begin to tell you how meaningful it is to hear this. To learn the advice I share in my newsletters and books helps philanthropists be more effective each day is powerful. I can help … Continue reading Free Download and New Book Coming February 2020

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6 Back to School Lessons for Grantmakers

Get excited and be prepared to launch your new initiative. After a long summer of late nights, fun in the sun and a relaxed schedule, families across the country are preparing for kids to get back to school. There’s a lot of build up to that first big day – planning for cooler weather, getting school supplies, buying new clothes, reuniting with old friends, and making new ones. There is a magical sense of anticipation, excitement and butterflies that makes the start of each new school year memorable and special. What potential new friendships will this year bring? What new and exciting things will be learned? Starting the year off right prepares students, teachers and parents alike for a successful … Continue reading 6 Back to School Lessons for Grantmakers

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How to Prepare for These 5 Grantmaking Challenges

Do more than ready yourself for the unexpected. We have been told for most of our lives to prepare for the unexpected—save for a rainy day, have a Plan B and apply to some “safety schools” in case you don’t get accepted by your top-choice university. While being prepared for the unexpected is smart, it’s not as important as being prepared for the expected. As a philanthropist, your ultimate goal is to make the world a better place. To put ideas into action and create change where it is needed. One way to achieve this impact quickly and effectively is to be prepared for the expected. Problems will arise—that’s a guarantee—so you might as well be ready to deal with them. … Continue reading How to Prepare for These 5 Grantmaking Challenges

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6 Ways To Get Time Back In Your Day, Every Day

Smart philanthropy starts with an effective approach to our work. In philanthropy, we seem to be perpetually rushing from one thing to the next. There’s always an important meeting to prepare for or more grant applications to evaluate. Yet while everyone is feeling busy and moving quickly, the real change we seek comes along at the pace of snails. Instead of spending all of our valuable time working harder, we should also determine how we can work smarter. We all get into daily work patterns—some of them healthy, some not. How often do you find yourself so focused on your to-do list that you’ve lost track of why you’re doing the work? Everyone can improve their work habits, and even if the changes are … Continue reading 6 Ways To Get Time Back In Your Day, Every Day

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Are YOU The Bottleneck To Effective Giving?

Are you damming up philanthropic progress by paralyzing decision making and workflow? Nature abhors a bottleneck. Take a look at any stream or river and you’ll see what happens when debris piles up. The water will eventually find a way around, over or through, and the results can be disastrous. The same is true for workflow in philanthropy — especially when funders are the ones creating the bottleneck. As funders, we often forget — or never truly realize — how much our decisions and actions can affect our grantees and partners downstream, and thus the people and causes they serve. When we delay decision or action, those who depend on our decision can get caught in limbo. If they’re grantees, … Continue reading Are YOU The Bottleneck To Effective Giving?

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Demolish Philanthropic Bureaucracy For Good​

Beat it back — or stop it before it even starts! We often hear about streamlining philanthropy — mostly with regard to efforts at simplifying grant applications, approval processes and reporting requirements. Streamlining is great. But when it comes to philanthropic bureaucracy, sometimes what we really need is a bulldozer. Some bureaucratic processes are so ridiculous, they just need to be demolished. Here’s a great example of philanthropic bureaucracy: 300-page board dockets. Imagine the joy on the board members’ faces when they receive those reams of paper in the mail to prepare for each board meeting. Imagine the hours and hours of foundation staff time that went into creating those reams of paper. Now, do you really think that anyone … Continue reading Demolish Philanthropic Bureaucracy For Good​

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10 Steps to Rapid Strategy Implementation

Most funders fail at this. Are you one of them? About a year ago I decided to publish another book. I went so far as to write “publish book by year’s end” on a yellow post-it and stuck it next to my computer so that I’d see it every day. And then I let a bunch of other stuff get in the way. Client deadlines, speaking engagements, scheduling camp for my kids. I hadn’t made the book a priority, so nothing happened. A year later I changed. I made the book one of my top three priorities. Then I made a list of the most important things I needed to do to publish it. I blocked out time in my … Continue reading 10 Steps to Rapid Strategy Implementation

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Your Strategic Plan is About to Fail

Strategy most often fails in implementation. With all the effort that went into developing your new strategy and writing your strategic plan, the hardest part is making the darn think work! Many donors, foundations and corporate giving programs create strategic plans to clarify their philanthropic goals and guide funding decisions. Too often, however, their new strategy doesn’t even get off the ground. Here are five reasons for this: 1. You are exhausted. If you are like most foundations and philanthropists, you have spent WAY too long developing your strategy. Endless meetings, environmental scans, self-assessments, board assessments, finding and engaging a small army of content experts, writing and re-writing the perfect strategic plan document (complete with beautiful graphics and theories of change). … Continue reading Your Strategic Plan is About to Fail

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8 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out In Philanthropy

How new foundation trustees can have lasting and effective success. Whether you are launching a new foundation, refreshing your giving strategy, or are a new foundation board member, you want your philanthropy to change the world. Yet you feel unsure how to tackle complex social problems and wonder if you have what it takes to make a difference. It’s vital for new foundation leaders to determine your goals and implement your strategy without becoming mired in a culture that stifles effectiveness. To help educate and guide foundation boards toward early and lasting success, I have compiled a list of eight common mistakes foundation trustees often make — and how to avoid them. 1. They make the simple complex. Too often … Continue reading 8 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out In Philanthropy

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