445 posts categorized "Nonprofits"

What's New at Candid (April 2019)

April 17, 2019

Candid logoAs Foundation Center and GuideStar enter their third month as a single organization, staff are forging ahead with the work of integrating workflows, sharing ideas, and developing solutions. It's exciting! And like many other nonprofits at this time of year, we're out and about at conferences and events and knee-deep in projects scheduled to launch later this year.

Here are some of the highlights from March:

Projects Launched

  • In partnership with Sustain Arts and See Chicago Dance, we published a new report, Mapping the Dance Landscape in Chicagoland. The Chicago region is a hub for arts and culture and boasts a thriving dance community, and the report can be used to identify trends, opportunities, and challenges facing dancers, dance organizations, and the field as a whole.
  • On CF Insights, our annual Columbus Survey is now open. The U.S. community foundation data collected by the survey provides a snapshot of the field and can be used to inform the financial and operational decisions made by community foundation staff. You can learn more about last year's survey results here — and be sure to check back for the results of this year's survey later this spring.
  • Glasspockets reached a milestone when the Walton Family Foundation became the one hundredth foundation to commit to sharing its transparency self-assessment profile on the Glasspockets website. Janet Camarena and her team also debuted new Transparency Levels (Core, Advanced, & Champion) designed in partnership with active Glasspockets foundations and sponsored by, yes, the Walton Family Foundation.

Data Spotlight

  • As the 2020 U.S. presidential election begins to take shape, we continue to track how foundations are supporting implementation, research, reform, and or/mobilization efforts related to campaigns, elections, and voting on our Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy. According to Candid data, more than $555 million has been granted by 845 funders in support of campaigns, elections, and voting since 2011. Of that total, $136 million has taken the form of general/unrestricted support, while $69.2 million has targeted racial and ethnic minorities.
  • To date in 2019, we've recorded over 5,000 registrations for our webinars and self-paced elearning courses and have handled more than 18,000 questions through our knowledge base.
  • We completed custom data searches for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, Humboldt University of Berlin, Philanthropy Ohio, the Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Walton Family Foundation.

In the News

What We're Excited About

Upcoming Conferences and Events

It's conference season! Candid staff will be attending these upcoming events:

Services Spotlight

  • A total of 231,299 new grants added to Foundation Maps in March, of which 2,665 were made to 1,920 organizations outside the U.S.
  • Foundation Directory Online continues to support everything needed in a fundraising tool. Now you can build more robust prospect lists and see how much funders are giving based on your mission.
  • Candid’s webinar participants continue to gain practical skills and report an increase in confidence after taking one of our webinars. In a recent survey, 88 percent reported that they had gained a specific skill, tool, or strategy that enabled them to advance their work, while 95 percent said they expected to apply what they had learned in the webinar within the year.
  • Twenty-two participants from Northeast Ohio participated in a three-day Proposal Writing Boot Camp. Check out all 2019 boot camp dates here.
  • The Funding Information Network now boasts thirteen training partners. FINs are locations around the country where you can access Candid resources for free and take a scheduled class. Learn more about the Funding Information Network program here.
  • New data sharing partners: Barr Family Foundation, Better Way Foundation, Callison Foundation, District of Columbia Bar Foundation, Hamer D. & Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation Charitable Trust, and Victorian Women's Benevolent Trust. Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.
  • New customers: Purposeful is using our data and APIs, the Barr Foundation is using our Premier API, and a UK site called Social Bite is licensing our data to help with their cause (homelessness). We also added North Carolina State, George Washington University, and the University of Richmond to our roster of Library services clients.

Content Published

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email. I'll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

The Importance of Donor Data and How to Use It Effectively

April 12, 2019

Data-analysisFundraising professionals don't need to be told that donors are more likely to support an organization if they feel they understand the work the organization does and that you, the fundraiser, value their investment in that work.

The key question, then, is: How can I effectively communicate with and develop relationships with donors that improve the odds of my organization retaining and even growing their support? And it follows that one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face in strengthening their donor relationships is not being able to seeand understand their donor data.

Given everything you do as a fundraising professional for your organization, the prospect of adding more data gathering and analytics to your tasks surely is concerning. Unfortunately, it isn't a task you can afford to ignore. Indeed, the success of your nonprofit depends on your ability to engage with donor data.

The good news? There's no reason to feel overwhelmed by yet another item on your to-do list. Donor data can be managed and used efficiently — you just have to have a little knowledge and the right tools.

Donor data encompasses several different areas and, when used effectively, can accomplish a lot. But first, you need to ask yourself some basic questions:

  1. Why should I bother to collect donor data?
  2. What kind of data should I track and collect?
  3. How do I keep the data organized?
  4. What can I do with the data?

Why should I collect donor data? 

A big part of your job as a nonprofit development professional is cultivate prospective donors and maintain relationships with existing donors. You organize fundraising campaigns and look for opportunities for your nonprofit to engage with the community to raise awareness of your cause.

Every donor interaction or community engagement results in new data. Collecting and analyzing that data allows you to:

  • Better understand your donors. Successful engagements are predicated on knowing who donates to your nonprofit and why. In turn, this enables you to target the right audience, at the right time, and increases your organization's efficiency.
  • Take advantage of corporate philanthropy. Corporations are an extremely underutilized source of revenue for nonprofits. The best way to capitalize on corporate philanthropy is through a matching-gifts program in which a corporation agrees to match donations to your organization on a 1:1, 2:1, or even 3:1 basis.
  • Reach new markets. As you learn more about your donor community and how they respond to your fundraising campaigns, you'll be able to see which marketing strategies are effective and which should be tweaked or even abandoned. The more data you have on your donors, the easier it is to optimize your strategies to target a desired audience segment and achieve a positive outcome.

Don't underestimate the importance of gathering data about your donors. Good data analyzed in a timely fashion is the key to opening doors as you pursue leads in a fundraising campaign.

What kind of data should I track?

Donor data encompasses so much that it can quickly become a tidal wave that overwhelms any organization not equipped to handle it. To avoid that, you want to make sure that everything you track can be used to make your nonprofit more successful.

Here's another way to look at it: the data you track should be linked to one of two concepts — donor capacity and donor affinity. Donor capacity is determined by an evaluation of individual wealth indicators that can give you an idea of a donor's ability to give in general, while donor affinity uses individual philanthropic indicators to help you understand a donor's willingness to give to your organization.

The individual wealth indicators you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Real estate ownership. There's a definite correlation between people who own real estate and people who give to charity. In fact, individuals with at least $2 million invested in real estate are seventeen times more likely to donate to a nonprofit organization.
  • Business title/affiliation. This can give you a general idea of an individual's net worth and earning potential and suggest potential connections you might be able to leverage into major gifts down the road.
  • Stock ownership. Keep an eye out for individuals who are corporate officers or directors and/or who own more than 5 percent of a company's public shares. They're more likely to be a candidate for a major gift, and it will help you estimate their net worth.

Of course, a billionaire with virtually unlimited donor capacity may have little desire to give to your organization — or any charity, for that matter. This is why it's important to gauge a prospective donor's potential for engagement with your organization by looking at the donor's:

  • Giving history. Assess the donor's "RFM" — the Recency of their last gift, the Frequency of their giving, and the typical amount of their Monetary contributions. RFM can help you know who to target, when to make your ask, and how much you should ask for.
  • Relationship to your cause. Look at what kind organizations prospective donors have supported in the past and target those whose interests are aligned with your nonprofit's mission.
  • Political giving. People who give to political campaigns are more likely to give to charity — and are more likely to be a major gift donor.

Remember to collect basic information that will make the process of cultivation easier down the road, including:

  • address/contact information
  • profession/employer
  • gender
  • age
  • date and amount of last donation/gift

Having this kind of information in a database will enable you to sort your donor community into different segments and design a targeted fundraising strategy for each segment. Equipped with this information, you'll be in a position to follow up with donors with a higher donor capacity score and encourage them to maximize the impact of their gift — for example, by offering them access to Double the Donation's matching gift database.

How do I keep my data organized? 

If you want to develop deep, meaningful relationships with your donors, you need to invest in  a CRM (constituent relationship manager) solution that enables you to organize, sort, and understand your data.

CRM software makes it easy to store all your donor data in a centralized location where it can be easily accessed by multiple members of your team. It also makes it easy to create in-depth profiles comprising the essential information for anyone who interacts with your organization, whether it's a donor, a prospective donor, or a volunteer.

One researching CRM solutions, make sure the software supports:

  • List segmentation. The software should be able to segment and sort profiles based on any attribute you have decided to track (e.g., gender, age, location).
  • Engagement measurement. The software should allow you to analyze data that tracks an individual's history with your organization (i.e., how often they have engaged, when they engage, whether they are more likely to give or to volunteer, etc.).
  • Reporting and analyzing data. The software should be able to keep tabs on the effectiveness of different methods of engagement with donors.
  • Seamless communication with donors. The best CRM will enable you to communicate directly with your donors to discuss fundraising ideas that apply to them.

To learn more about the essential features of a quality CRM, check out Bloomerang's guide to the best nonprofit CRM.

What can I do with the data?

While there are several things you can do with your donor data, the question we hear most often from fundraising professionals is: How can I use my existing data to find new donors and grow my donor base?

First, you can identify prospective donors by analyzing the wealth and philanthropic indicators (see above) of selected individuals in the broader donor community. Maximizing the benefits of wealth screening can help you:

  • Gauge likely major-gift prospects.
  • Identify important and potentially “leverageable” connections.
  • Prioritize engagements to reach your fundraising goals.

While prospect research is essential to any nonprofit's success, it can also be a massive undertaking, so we recommend the following best practices:

  • Use the most current data you can get your hands on.
  • Screen the data in smaller batches.
  • Prioritize philanthropic indicators.

Efficiently using donor data is the key to your nonprofit's future growth and sustainability. Doing so will not only help you  better understand your existing donor community, but will enable you to more easily and efficiently identify new prospects with whom to engage.

The importance of collecting and using donor data cannot be overstated; in fact, donor data  should influence every fundraising decision your organization makes. To do it effectively, you need to be organized, proactive, and creative. The good news? Equipped with a deep understanding of your donor data, you'll be able to secure more and larger gifts and donations, take full advantage of corporate philanthropy, and grow your donor community.

Philantopic_headshot_adam_weingerAdam Weinger is president of Double the Donation, a provider of tools that help nonprofits raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

 

Candid Deepens Commitment to Communities

April 09, 2019

In February 2019, Foundation Center and GuideStar joined forces to become Candid. Read our press release for more context on why we made this move.

Candid logoBringing Candid's vision to life means we’ll need to take a transformative approach to delivering our programs and services to nonprofits — on the ground and online. Some of Candid's many core assets include the resources that you have come to rely on from Foundation Center: our virtual and in-person trainings; Foundation Directory Online (FDO), our signature database for finding funding; Grantspace.org, our one-stop online portal for nonprofit professionals; and our Funding Information Network (FIN), which comprises of 400+ mission-aligned partners in the U.S. and across the globe providing on-the-ground support to strengthen their communities.

As Candid, we'll deepen our investment in these existing services. We'll double-down on our efforts to share the most up-to-date information on what it takes to build impact-ready, sustainable organizations. And as the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, we'll be able to deliver to you the most up-to-date data and intelligence you need.

Through our network of FIN partners, we'll ensure that our services are available, far and wide. In all locations outside of our New York headquarters, we'll be making a shift from operating our own libraries to focusing on enhanced offerings for libraries and other community-based organizations through our FIN program. Pairing the focus on the FIN with direct delivery of trainings by our team via pop-up programs across our existing key markets — and regionally — will further enable us to deepen and widen accessibility to our resources to communities, small and large. Read on for more details.

What does this mean for Candid's library resource centers in the U.S.?

By the end of 2019, we will move our Atlanta and Cleveland teams into a shared space with partner organizations. We will combine our GuideStar and Foundation Center offices in San Francisco/Oakland and Washington, D.C. (Foundation Center staff will move into GuideStar locations in these cities). We will no longer provide in-person library services at these locations. Rather than asking you to come to us for in-person training or access to our fundraising tools, our team will be coming to a neighborhood near you: we’ve already scheduled pop-up visits and trainings at local FINs or other convenient places around the country and look forward to seeing you there.

Our public space in New York will continue to operate in its current form (still providing library services and trainings) and will eventually take on more of an incubator/laboratory role, enabling us to test new training programs, tweak, and systematize them so that we can deliver new content to the field. We'll also begin experimenting with local programming close to Williamsburg, Virginia, where a large contingency of Candid team members are based.

Note that Candid will continue providing direct online reference services at grantspace.org, and we'll further build out our eBooks collection, ensuring anytime, anywhere access to our online collection of information resources.

How will Candid's training programs change?

Short-term: They won't. Our team will continue delivering services and trainings to meet the needs of our community. We are committed to delivering all the great in-person programs that we're known for — from cohort learning circles to Proposal Writing Boot Camps, to larger annual convenings. The only difference is that we will host many of these programs out in the community rather than in our own offices.

Long-term: Candid's programs will only get better. Combining Foundation Center's rich data and research skills with the robust services provided by GuideStar will lead to an expanded — and more diverse — portfolio of offerings to you. 2019 will be a year of strategizing and planning for a future where we can better serve the community we care about most: you.

Who can you contact if you have more questions?

Please don't hesitate to reach out to any of our team members with questions or ideas:

Candid West (San Francisco): Michele Ragland Dilworth
Candid Northeast (New York + Washington, D.C.): Kim Buckner Patton
Candid South (Atlanta): Maria Azuri
Candid Midwest (Cleveland): Teleangé Thomas

We are thrilled for the opportunity this new operating model presents Candid; one in which we can more deliberately activate our time and talent to build the capacity of communities large and small, while we continue to deepen our programmatic impact in the cities where our staff are based. As always, you can connect with me directly to brainstorm on how we can serve you better.

Zohra Zori is vice president for social sector outreach at Candid.

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Learn more about what Candid can offer you today
Learn more about GrantSpace's live and on-demand trainings
Learn more about the Funding Information Network
Learn more about our eBooks lending program

[Review] 'Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count'

April 03, 2019

Back in 2016, Bill Gates, in the context of his partnership with the Heifer Foundation to donate 100,000 chickens to people around the world living on $2 a day, blogged about how raising egg-laying fowl can be a smart, cost-effective antidote to extreme poverty. As Phil Buchanan tells it in Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, the idea, however well-intentioned, attracted scorn from some quarters, including Bolivia, where the offer was declined — after it was pointed out that the country already produces some 197 million chickens a year. The episode is a pointed reminder that being an effective philanthropist isn't as easy as it might seem.

GDR_image-quote_4DonorsPage4-600x300And Buchanan ought to know; as the founding CEO of the Cambridge-based Center for Effective Philanthropy for the past seventeen years, he has worked closely with more than three hundred foundations and scores of individual givers, exploring the landscape of American giving, distilling lessons learned (both successes and failures), and highlighting what works and what doesn't. (Spoiler alert: there's no single answer as to how to give "right," but few are better positioned than Buchanan to frame the question.) In this slim volume, he lays out a framework that can help anyone engaged in philanthropy to be more thoughtful, open-minded, and willing to learn, adapt, and keep trying.

As Buchanan sees it, anyone can be an effective philanthropist, and there is no one best practice to that end, other than to be as engaged as one can be. While much of the advice he shares is better suited for the well-heeled donor or the program officer at an established foundation (those with the time and resources to think through larger issues, consider options, and evaluate methods for learning from their giving), the panhandler's dictum applies: you don't need to be a Rockefeller to help a fella, and you don't need to be a tech billionaire to carve out a smart, sustainable path for your own giving. Certainly, to give is better than not to give, and if all you have the time to do is to write a check, do that. But if you want to effect lasting change — to move the needle, as it were — then you need to dig in and think long-term.

According to Buchanan, digging in means setting goals, weighing strategies for achieving those goals, evaluating the effectiveness of your giving, and, armed with that information, going back for more. Buchanan's work with CEP has given him special insight into how philanthropists approach their giving, and he's nut-shelled a range of smart propositions designed to help individuals and institutions think more clearly about how and where they give. Take his four types of givers. You can be a "charitable banker," broadly giving because of precedent or simply because you’ve been asked to, but not really having a goal or focus that informs your giving. You can be a "perpetual adjuster," always changing who and what you fund but never having a sense of whether your giving is doing any good. You can be a "partial strategist," connecting some of the dots in terms of your goals, strategy, and effectiveness, but keeping much of your giving unaligned with those goals (for example, a family foundation that strategically works to reduce hunger in its community but allocates half its grants to the unrelated interests of board members). Or you can be a "total strategist," all in on finding approaches that work and rigorously willing to test strategies toward achieving your goals. While most givers start out as charitable bankers, Buchanan wants them to become as strategic as they can be, spending their time, talent, and treasure "maximizing [their] chances of making a difference."

Being strategic isn't quite the same as being on target, however, and the balance of Giving Done Right is a broad-brush effort to tease out the key ingredients of effective philanthropy. For instance, not only do givers need to up their game with respect to understanding the problem they hope to solve, they also need to deepen their understanding of the communities and nonprofits actually doing the work. It's also important to avoid re-inventing the wheel. Chances are you're not the first to want to solve an intractable problem; effective philanthropy means building on what others have learned, supporting their efforts when they work, and collaborating to find new paths when they don't. And it's essential to find the right fit. Not every family needs its own foundation; for some a checkbook at the kitchen table will do just fine, for others it's a giving circle, a community foundation, a donor-advised fund, an LLC, or a programmatically focused, professionally staffed foundation. The key is understanding which vehicle works best with your goals.

Buchanan also has a few dragons to slay, and Giving Done Right starts and ends with an exhortation for givers of all sizes to ignore the misguided lessons embraced by a new generation of wealthy donors. First and foremost is the assumption that nonprofits would be more effective if they were run like for-profit businesses. No one likes bloat or ineffectiveness, but as Buchanan notes, most nonprofits are bare-bones operations that rather miraculously squeeze water from the proverbial stone day in and day out. What's more, most for-profit businesses aren't as efficient as they'd have us believe, relying on a solitary metric — quarterly profit — to measure their success. In addition, Buchanan scolds those who see nonprofits' reliance on philanthropy as "dependency." Without philanthropic support, he writes, tongue firmly in cheek, how would a children's charity keep the lights on, by putting the kids to work? And in any case, he reminds us, the nonprofit sector overall generates nearly $1.7 trillion in annual revenue ($1 in every $10 of U.S. GDP), with 70 percent of that derived from fees and services.

Similarly, Buchanan has no patience for foundations that demand that their nonprofit grantees spend time and money evaluating the impact of their services while being unwilling to fund such work, or for fixating on "overhead" as a measure of nonprofit effectiveness while too often ignoring the full-spectrum cost involved in delivering nonprofit services. And while he's willing to concede that what a successful business tycoon knows about getting rich might (might) provide some insight into how to be an effective philanthropist, it's more likely than not to cloud one's judgment. After all, if the world's problems could be solved by a vigorous application of business acumen, why haven't they?

In Buchanan's view, givers are much more likely to be effective by taking the time to learn what they don't know and proceeding from there. Not everyone embraces that idea. As David Callahan’s The Givers showed, the growth of big philanthropy in an era where government is less willing and less capable of affecting social change has become a hotly contested issue. In January, Buchanan, along with Rob Reich (co-director of Stanford's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society), Ben Soskis (Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute), and Anand Giridharadas (Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World) engaged in a debate on Twitter during which they laid out their views with respect to the role of philanthropy in present-day America, its influence (both positive and negative) on our politics, and the tendency of Big Anything to generate a handful of winners and lots of losers. That debate is echoed in Giving Done Right, with Buchanan staking out a middle ground where philanthropy is celebrated as a reflection of American idealism and pluralism, where giving is good and smarter giving is better, and where the willingness of philanthropists and nonprofits (the unsung heroes of our more perfect union) to work together to solve seemingly intractable problems is to be commended.

Daniel X Matz is manager and content developer for Candid's Glasspockets.org portal. For more great reviews, check out PND’s Off the Shelf section.

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (March 2019)

April 01, 2019

It's April 1 and you're no fool — which is why you'll want to settle in with a glass of your favorite beverage and check out some of the posts PhilanTopic readers couldn't get enough of in March. We'll be back with new material in a day or two. Enjoy!

Interested in contributing to PND or PhilanTopic? We'd love to hear from you. Drop us a note at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

3 Ways to Educate Donors About Movement Building

March 26, 2019

DownloadAt your most recent meeting with donors, you probably discussed the impact of your programs and perhaps even asked for commitments for the upcoming fiscal year. Did you also talk to them about funding the movement itself to ensure its future viability and success?

Donors typically give for two reasons: 1) to leverage gifts from other donors; and/or 2) in response to short-term needs. In both cases, the impact of their gifts plays out across two dimensions: helping bring others to the cause, and helping the people or cause served by your organization.

So while it's common for nonprofits to pitch donors in terms of the tangible difference their gifts will make for intended beneficiaries or the cause, organizations also need to learn how to demonstrate to donors the value of supporting the broader movement itself.

How to build a movement

Over the years I've been involved in movement building, clients often have shared with me the names of donors they believe are open to taking a broader view of the movement. On occasion, clients even have asked me to speak with certain individuals to gauge their interest in funding movement-building activities and to share any thoughts I might have about the approach they should take in subsequent conversations with those donors.

Below, I share some of what I've learned from my interactions with donors in the belief it will give you something new you can use in your conversations with donors to educate them about the importance of movement building.

Theme: Elevate Your Donors' Role in Social Change

Rationale: Every day, members of the public are invited to support various causes and are reminded about the impact their support will have. The subtext is: "Give, and you'll make a difference in people's lives." Demonstrating that impact is crucial to the success of your fundraising efforts, but your donors also need to see that your cause — their cause — is being picked up by the general public and that their involvement in the issue is critical to sustaining the effort over the long term.

Talking point: "I don't know if it has occurred to you, but your gift has a two-fold effect. It makes it possible for us to [describe impact in terms of the target population or cause]. But your gift also has an impact on the public. When people see evidence that things are getting better for [the target population or cause], they often are inspired to join in and do their part. Your gift influences the public's attitudes toward [your issue], generating more giving in support of the cause and helping create a virtuous cycle. That's how you sustain a long-term social change effort."

Theme: Promote the Role of the Public in Social Change

Rationale: If you've done your job, your public engagement strategy should already be generating support for your cause or movement. Your goal now is to get to a deeper level of engagement.

Talking point: "We need to continue to serve our beneficiaries while inspiring the public to care more about the issue than they do. Investment in the cause/movement will benefit us all in two ways: 1) better results for the people we serve; and 2) changed public attitudes resulting in more dollars we can reinvest in positive social outcomes and additional public engagement. That's why we wanted to talk to you about helping us galvanize a cycle of movement building." [Consider creating a visual graphic to help make your points.]

Theme: Explain How Public Engagement Can Take Social Impact to a New Level

Rationale: Creating a narrative around the importance of public engagement can help persuade stakeholders to provide additional resources, advocate for policy change, and/or take direct action that ripples through and strengthens the cause or movement.

Talking point: "With your support, we can illustrate impact for the target population and use our next milestone to influence public discourse, sentiment, and participation related to the overarching goal — igniting a virtuous cycle of issue engagement. We need donors like you who understand how such a holistic and complex strategy works." [Consider creating a visual timeline of public engagement milestones to which the donor’s infusion of resources can be added.]

Tap into beliefs

As marketers and fundraisers, we should be cognizant of how supporters of causes tend to act on their beliefs rather than out of loyalty to an institution. Movements are built on these passionately held beliefs. To generate support for those movements, nonprofits must demonstrate that they are fighting in lock-step with their donors to strengthen and advance the movement.

Many organizations know all too well the frustration of only receiving project support or one-off grants that never really lead to much. Funding public engagement with your issue or cause and, by extension, movement building, is an opportunity to challenge donors to look beyond the short term and leverage their influence and dollars to bring new people to the movement. What could be better than that?

Headshot_derrick_feldmann_2015Derrick Feldmann (@derrickfeldmann) is the author of Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change, the founder of the Millennial Impact Project, and lead researcher at Cause and Social Influence.

Weekend Link Roundup (March 23-24, 2019)

March 24, 2019

Robert-mueller-gty-ps-190212_hpMain_16x9_992A weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Communications/Marketing

On the Communications Network blog, Katie Smith Milway, principal at Milway Media and a senior advisor at the Bridgespan Group, and Rick Moyers, director of communications at the Fund for Shared Insight, explore four lessons in effective storytelling they have learned while shepherding a campaign to encourage client feedback as a measurement norm.

Current Affairs

"Thirty years from now, a majority of Americans believe that the U.S. will be less globally important. They believe that the inequality gap between rich and poor will have widened. And they expect that there will be even more political polarization. That future sounds pretty bleak, especially given the fact that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans are at least fairly worried that current politicians aren’t capable of changing it." Fast Company's Ben Paynter talks to Brookings' David Wessel about what can be done to shape a brighter future for all Americans.

Health

On the Robert Wood Johnson's Culture of Health blog, Dwayne Proctor, a senior advisor to the foundation's president, speaks with Yolo Akili Robinson, a 2018 Award for Health Equity winner, about how the stress of being black in America leads to physiological responses that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Nonprofits

Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther continues his series on workplace problems at the Humane Society of the U.S. and concludes that the organization's efforts to hold itself accountable for the actions of its former leader, Wayne Pacelle, are "unsatisfying."

Yes, the doubling of the standard deduction poses real challenges for nonprofits. But the challenge s also an opportunity, writes Social Velocity's Nell Edgington, to embrace — truly embrace — change. 

Can Marie Kondo help you "tidy up" your organization? Definitely, says Nonprofit AF's Vu Le, who then shares ten lessons derived Kondo's method guaranteed to make you more joyful at work.

Good post by Andrew Shulman being shared across Candid's field office blogs about the pros, and cons, of separating from your fiscal sponsor.

Beth Kanter has a nice post on her blog about the importance of rituals in building workplace resilience.

Philanthropy

In a post on the Center for Effective blog adapted from his forthcoming book, Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, CEP president Phil Buchanan argues that "there is no formula — no 'plug and play' analogy [from the for-profit world] to be adopted by the world of giving. There are many choices and many ways to be an effective giver, but none are simple." 

In a post that originally appeared on Global Fund for Community Foundations blog, Jan Jaffe, the founder of GrantCraft and now a senior partner at The Giving Practice, a consulting group at Philanthropy Northwest, shares some thoughts about how reflective practice — an approach that has been incorporated into professional development and onboarding programs as a way to help practitioners learn to navigate challenges that arise in challenging experiences on-the-job — reflects on how approach can be used to help shift the power in philanthropy.

Science/Technology

Marielle Velander, research manager at Reboot, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that works with change agents in government, civil society, and philanthropy to achieve their social missions, shares a set of best practices the organization has developed through a collaboration with the Ford Foundation's Office of Strategy and Learning for bringing public interest technologists into an organization.

Women/Girls

To celebrate Women's History Month, the team at CRE talked to three inspirational nonprofit women leaders who have all been through a CRE Leadership Development Program. Here, Dianne Morales, executive director of Phipps Neighborhoods, New York City nonprofit that provides children, youth and families in low-income neighborhoods with services and the opportunities they need to thrive, about the challenges and rewards of being a woman leader in the nonprofit sector. 

(Photo credit: CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE)

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a note at mfn@foundationcenter.org 

5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Donor Data

March 20, 2019

Prospect-research-ds-pngYour nonprofit understands the value of a personalized approach when it comes to communicating with donors. When its collects and uses donor data effectively, it's able to tailor its outreach strategy to individual donors and strengthen its relationships with them.

Your data becomes especially useful when you're able to see and use it to develop an outreach strategy that acknowledges donors' reasons for supporting your organization. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can use donor data to help your organization:

  1. automate parts of the data collection process;
  2. reach out to donors more effectively;
  3. identify opportunities for matching gifts;
  4. create and distribute an effective annual report; and
  5. thank your donors personally.

For your fundraising efforts to succeed, your outreach strategy needs to be both personalized to your donors and efficient in terms of organizational resources. It's easier to strike this balance when you've automated parts of the process.

1. Automate parts of the data collection process. Prospect research is key to unlocking effective nonprofit fundraising. And the data you collect is especially valuable as you create outreach strategies for different groups of donors. That's why you need to automate prospect research data collection wherever possible.

One way to automate the process is to integrate your prospect research software with the CRM in which you store donor data. Whether they're newly minted or a long-time donor, you'll learn:

  • Who has a history of giving. Good prospect research will include a donor’s history of giving to your organization as well as their history of giving to other nonprofits.
  • Who is capable of making a major gift. If your current lower or mid-level donors have made major gifts to other organizations, your prospect research software should be able to capture this information and store it in your CRM.
  • Who you need to reach out. The data captured by your prospect research software can help your team prioritize your outreach to certain donors who have positive indicators for potential giving.

After your organization has supplemented the donor information already stored in your CRM with prospect research data, you should have plenty of data you can use to connect with donors. If you're using Salesforce, you can even integrate prospect research software from vendors like DonorSearch to further automate the data collection process.

2. Reach out to donors more effectively. Personalized communications are key to creating and maintaining lasting relationships with your donors. Which is why it's important to use the information you've collected, stored, and organized in your CRM to develop communications that appeal to different types of donors.

Making good use of donor data is an important component of an effective nonprofit marketing strategy, so your organization will want to develop a strategy for segmenting your donors and creating communications that appeal to the different segments. Consider trying categories based on information such as:

  • History of engagement with your organization. Create different messages and communications that recognize loyal donors for their commitment and that answer the questions newer supporters are likely to have.
  • Age, location, and other demographic data. To personalize your approach to different types of donors, segment them according to demographic information and develop communications that relate to their specific reasons for supporting your cause or organization.
  • Activities, hobbies, and interests. Your supporters' activities and interests can help you tailor your communications as well as inform your strategy for reaching out.

The effectiveness of your communications improves when you avoid a generic, one-size-fits-all approach toward your donors and address the various individual reasons they have for supporting your cause or organization.

3. Identify opportunities for matching gifts. People are more likely to give if they know they are eligible for a matching gift from their employer. Corporate matching gift programs are also a great way to maximize donation revenue. Be sure to encourage eligible donors to participate in their employers' matching gift programs.

Often, employees don’t know about these programs — or don't know how to submit the required matching gift request documents to their employer. With the help of donor data, your organization can make the most of matching gift opportunities by:

  • Identifying donors who work for companies that match gifts. Collecting information about your donors' employers becomes especially important when your donors work for corporations known to have generous matching gift programs.
  • Making donors aware of matching gift opportunities. You can include reminders in your communications to all donors or use matching gift software on your website that makes it easy for donors to identify these opportunities when they are ready to make a gift.
  • Reminding donors to complete their matching gift request. Eligible donors must complete and submit a matching gift request in order for their employer to match their gift. You can help by reminding them to complete the process.

Matching gifts can be a great way to build lasting relationships with donors. Check out 360MatchPro's guide to matching gifts to learn more about this valuable means of increasing contributions to your organization.

4. Create and distribute an effective annual report. Your annual report is an opportunity to address your donors' concerns and interests, demonstrating how you've used their donations and gifts to benefit the cause or community.

An annual report that effectively showcases the work your organization is doing is one that puts your donors' support front and center, illustrating their centrality to that work and your reliance on their generosity and passion for your cause. Don't forget to use your annual report to acknowledge:

  • Your donors' support of your fundraising campaigns. Include information about each of the fundraising campaigns donors have supported throughout the year.
  • Your volunteers' hard work. Your annual report provides an opportunity to recognize the essential work your organization's volunteers do throughout the year.
  • Your supporters' feedback. Show that you value your donors' and volunteers' efforts as you gather the information you’re planning to include in your annual report. When you reach out to supporters this way, you can also pick up more information about why they value and support your organization.

As you're creating your report, don't shy away from emotion. Be sure to show your donors just how essential their donations and gifts have been, and how much you value their continuing support.

5. Thank your donors personally. While you may think of prospect research and donor data primarily as a means to identify new donors and encourage them to support your organization, they're also important when it comes time to thanking your donors. In fact, your organization can use donor data to create personalized thank-you notes that help build and foster long-term relationships with individual donors.

Your organization should strive to be donor-centric throughout the giving process, from cultivating potential and new donors to thanking your most loyal supporters. Address their reasons for supporting your organization and remind them of their individual significance to your work.

Providing personalized thank-yous and acknowledgments is an important component of any strategy to motivate donors and transition them from first-time to recurring giving.

Collecting, organizing, and analyzing donor data might seem like a steep hill to climb, but the more you know about your donors, the better you'll be able to connect with them and demonstrate the importance of your organization's work. And the stronger that connection, the more likely they'll be to provide you with support — today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Headshot_Bill-TedescoBill Tedesco is a well-known entrepreneur in the field of philanthropy and, since 2007, has been the CEO and managing partner of DonorSearch.

What's New at Candid (formerly Foundation Center and GuideStar) (March 2019)

March 19, 2019

Candid logoMarch brings the first days of Spring and the beginning of new things. At Candid, we've been marking new beginnings with game-changing training programs and convenings, attendance at great conferences, and valuable research. Here are some of the recent highlights:

Projects Launched

  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution to capacity building, but a new series of GrantCraft case studies provides funders with networking and collaboration insights that can empower their grantees to invest in capacity building. Each case study has been developed in partnership with Community Wealth Partners and draws on that organization's capacity-building work with funders and grantees. Together, the studies showcase varied approaches to addressing the long-term capacity needs of grantees and provide valuable insights for foundations, consultants, and practitioners. The series also pilots a new approach for GrantCraft in which we tap the wisdom of technical assistance providers in making sure learnings from foundation projects are shared widely.
  • Glasspockets recently hit a milestone, publishing its one hundredth profile of a funder that has publicly participated in the "Who Has Glass Pockets?" self-assessment. To celebrate, Glasspockets has launched a blog series, the "Road to 100 & Beyond," featuring foundations that have played a part in the site reaching this milestone. In addition to helpful examples, the series highlights reflections on why transparency is important, how openness inside foundations evolves over time, and lessons learned.
  • We added a new infographic to the Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy portal which shows the U.S. dropping to #71 on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index — the first time since 2011 the U.S. has fallen out of the top 20. According to the infographic, about 3 percent of overall funding for democracy work goes to open government and transparency efforts. You can check it out and more at foundationcenter.org/infographics.
  • Grantmakers in the Arts published its annual Arts Funding Snapshot in the Winter 2019 edition of the GIA Reader. The snapshot looks at foundation giving for arts and culture for 2016, based on the most recent complete year of data for a set of the largest U.S.-based private and community foundations (by total giving). A webinar that explores the findings is available on the GIA website.
  • GuideStar launched updated APIs with new data and filters, as well as new internal administrative functions, meaning you can now get more data through GuideStar's Premier API that you can't find anywhere else, including nonprofit logos, demographic information, and due-diligence information. You can also search for organizations in new ways, thanks to new filters that enable users to sort by organizations that are in good standing with the IRS and by cause area.

Content Published

In the News

What We're Excited About

  • Out in the community! On March 13, our San Francisco office kicked off a new series of monthly orientations at our nearby Funding Information Network partner location. The staff presentation at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library featured forty minutes of training, twenty minutes of Q&A, and an hour of one-on-one support for those who needed it, drawing a great crowd and generating rave reviews. Candid staff in San Francisco is excited to pilot this new program model, which among other things addresses how we can best partner with our Funding Information Network (FIN) partners in San Francisco (and beyond) in anticipation of our San Francisco library closing for good on June 30.
  • What's that, you say? In 2019, Candid will start shifting its efforts from maintaining regional direct-service locations to focusing more on our 400+ FIN partner sites, which are located in communities across the U.S.as well as several countries. Through deeper and closer collaboration with our FIN partners, we hope to make our Social Sector Outreach services available far and wide — services that include the same great programming and access to tools and expertise you’ve come to expect at our regional locations. Please check out this interactive map to find a FIN location near you. And read the full announcement from VP of Social Sector Outreach Zohra Zori.
  • We are working with Sustain Arts and See Chicago Dance on the first data-driven analysis of the Chicagoland dance sector since 2002.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Our staff will be attending these upcoming events:

Services Spotlight

  • 252,817 new grants added to Foundation Maps in February, of which 5,762 were made to 4,251 organizations outside the U.S.
  • Leverage insights from Foundation Directory Online to connect to funders: Connect Guide.
  • 12 participants from the Bay Area and beyond participated in a three-day Proposal Writing Boot Camp. Check out all 2019 boot camp dates here.
  • New data sharing partners: Aesop Foundation Australia, Colorado Plateau Foundation, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, InFaith Community Foundation, Kalliopeia Foundation, Klein Family Foundation, Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation, St Mary's Medical Center,Notah Begay III Foundation, Scriven Foundation, and the Steele-Reese Foundation. Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world! Learn more about our eReporting program.
  • New customers: RoundUp APP, Tides Foundation, University of California, Santa Barbara, California State University, Los Angeles,F.B. Heron Foundation, Barr Foundation, Elevation Web, Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Data Spotlight

  • In honor of Women's History Month, we are highlighting data centered around support for women and girls across our research:
    • Funding directed for women and girls made up 23 percent of all foundation funding for human rights, some $2.1 billion, between 2011-15. Over the course of those five years, funding for women and girls increased by 43 percent, representing the greatest share of funding targeted to a particular population group.
    • Of all international giving by U.S. foundations between 2011-15, 13.8 percent, or $4.8 billion, was targeted to women and girls. And while overall giving increased by 36 percent over the five-year period, funding targeted to women and girls increased 77 percent.
    • Between 2014-15, 13 percent of all funding from U.S. foundations directed to Latin America targeted women and girls, including a grant of $1.3 million over three years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to Mexico's National Institute of Public Health in support of research on the promotion of professional midwifery.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email. I'll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

New Tax on 'Excess' Executive Compensation Poses Challenge for Tax-Exempt Organizations

March 18, 2019

Tax_puzzleThe ability to attract and retain high-quality executives is an important component in the success of any tax-exempt organization and the fulfillment of its mission. A new provision of the Internal Revenue Code added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will have a "sea change" impact on the cost of compensating such individuals. Under the provision, "excessive compensation" paid to executives by a tax-exempt organization will subject the organization to a substantial excise tax liability. The penalty may be viewed as an attempt to level the playing field, inasmuch as the tax consequences associated with the payment of "excessive compensation" paid by for-profit employers, in particular by for-profit public companies, to their senior executives can result in the loss of a tax deduction for excessive compensation payments.

What Is the New Excise Tax?

Effective as of January 1, 2018, "applicable tax-exempt organizations" are subject to a 21 percent excise tax on the sum of (i) compensation paid by the tax-exempt organization (and certain entities related to the tax-exempt organization) for a taxable year to a "covered employee" that exceeds $1 million, and (ii) any "excess parachute payment" paid by the tax-exempt organization to a covered employee.

Which Tax-Exempt Organizations Are Subject to the Tax?

Any organization that is exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code section 501(a), such as public charities (e.g., United Way), exempt farmers' cooperative organizations, certain state or local governmental entities, and certain political organizations, are subject to the tax.

What Is a "Covered Employee"?

A "covered employee" for purposes of the new excise tax is an employee (or former employee) of a tax-exempt organization that (i) is one of the five highest paid employees of the organization in a taxable year, or (ii) was considered a covered employee under clause (i) for any preceding year after 2016. Once an employee (or former employee) is considered a "covered employee" for a taxable year, he or she will be treated as a covered employee for all subsequent taxable years. Therefore, over time, a tax-exempt organization's covered employees may well exceed its current top five highest-paid employees.

What Kind of Compensation Is Subject to the Tax?

For purposes of the new tax, compensation includes wages that are subject to federal income tax withholding, as well as certain non-qualified deferred compensation at the time it is included in income (e.g., when such amounts become vested). Interestingly, compensation paid to a licensed medical professional (e.g., doctor, nurse, or veterinarian) for the performance of such medical services (but not for any administrative/executive services performed by such persons) is excluded from the $1 million compensation limit under the legislation.

What Is an "Excess Parachute Payment"?

Under the new tax, an "excess parachute payment" is the amount by which a "parachute payment" exceeds the covered employee's "base amount." A parachute payment is one or more payments of compensation to a covered employee that is contingent on the employee’s separation from employment and where the present value of such amounts equals or exceeds three times the employee's base amount. An employee's base amount is the employee's average taxable compensation over the five taxable years (or lesser employment period if applicable) immediately preceding the taxable year of the termination of employment. In calculating an employee's parachute payments, amounts paid (i) from a qualified retirement plan (e.g., 401(k) plan, 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plan, or 457(b) eligible deferred compensation plan), (ii) to a licensed medical professional (as described above), and (iii) to an employee that is not a "highly compensated employee" (as defined for purposes of qualified plan requirements), are excluded.

What Steps Should a Tax-Exempt Organization Take?

A tax-exempt organization subject to the new excise tax should be proactive in taking the following steps:

  • Identify all "covered employees" for 2017 and 2018 (remember, once an employee, or former employee, is determined to be a covered employee, he or she will thereafter be treated as a covered employee regardless of their later years' compensation level).
  • Review all compensation arrangements with covered employees.
  • Determine the organization's potential tax liability under the tax.
  • Consider whether any current compensation arrangements with covered employees can be revised, if necessary, to avoid or reduce excise tax exposure.
  • Be mindful of the new tax rules when negotiating new compensation arrangements with executives or others who are currently covered employees or may be expected to become covered employees in the future.

Conclusion

The new excise tax is a major change with respect to the landscape in which tax-exempt organizations compensate their executives. Failure to understand and properly apply these new rules can result in significant tax liability for the tax-exempt organization. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that all tax-exempt organizations subject to the new excise tax take the above action steps now so that they may appropriately mitigate or eliminate any potential excise tax liability.

Headshot_Bruce_Wolff_Hi-ResBruce L. Wolff (bwolff@bracheichler.com) is counsel in the Labor and Employment Practice at Brach Eichler LLC, a law firm located in Roseland, New Jersey.

Weekend Link Roundup (March 9-10, 2019)

March 10, 2019

John-Oliver-picture-1A weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

"We have reached a moment when foundations must face the ways they may be reinforcing inequality," write Brittany Boettcher and Kathleen Kelly Janus in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. But, they add, there are three things funders can do to improve their efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Grantmaking

Candid, PND's parent organization, will be well represented at this year's PEAK Grantmaking conference in Denver. On the GrantCraft blog, Janet Camarena, director of transparency initiatives at Candid, previews the sessions she and our colleague Jen Bokoff will be leading.

Health

On the Commonwealth Fund's Tipping Point blog, Billy Wynne, co-founder of Wynne Health Group, and Josh LaRosa, a policy associate at the firm, look at actions taken by the Trump administration and Congress to rein in prescription drug prices — and find little to cheer about. 

Journalism

The sale of the Newseum building in Washington, D.C. to Johns Hopkins University is a cautionary tale — one that the museum’s leadership must take to heart when and if it ever opens its doors again. Kriston Capps reports for CityLab.

Nonprofits

On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington looks at five key traits that separate nonprofits that grow their work and impact from nonprofits that don’t. 

In a new post on his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther updates readers on the steps taken by the Humane Society of the United States to recover from the charges of sexual harassment levied against Wayne Pacelle, its former chief executive.

Philanthropy

Jeff Polet, a professor of political science at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, argues in a post on the Philanthropy Daily site that that the first rule of philanthropy (and economics and politics) ought always to be "First, do no harm."

In a post on the HistPhil blog, Drummond Pike, the founder and former president of the Tides Foundation, details the fall of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform, better known as ACORN — and, in the words of the site's editors, provides "a new perspective on an important development in the recent past — the tension that arose between grantmaking foundations and more radical grantee organizations." 

How are millennials and Gen Z changing the landscape of philanthropy?

Social Justice

In his latest, Nonprofit AF's Vu Le argues that it is critical that all "communities of color examine [their] relationships with one another, [their] own biases, and how [they] may be benefiting from the oppression of others, especially of the Bback community, without even realizing it." 

Women and Girls

In Fast Company, Eillie Anzilotti examines an unconditional cash transfer program in Kenya which found that when people in a relationship — especially women — received extra money, rates of physical and sexual violence declined.

And on the GuideStar blog, Erica Roberts, a communications coordinator for Candid, shares key findings from the report Encouraging Giving to Women's and Girls' Causes: The Role of Social Norms, which examined survey responses from more than twenty-five hundred people who were asked questions like "How interested do you think others are, or will be in the future, in giving to women's and girls' causes?"

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a note at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

What Is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Thinking?

March 06, 2019

Untitled_1960After more than forty-five years in the museum field as a curator, director, consultant, museum studies professor, writer, and trustee, I have observed that in spite of an abiding concern for the integrity of their collections, and despite the sincere anguish expressed whenever a collection is destroyed by a natural disaster or is sacrificed to human impulse, museums too often are willing to compromise that integrity.  

What? 

Museums are willing to violate the public trust?  

Yes. And they do it when they sell objects from their collections on the open market. 

By now, most of you have read or heard that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is planning to sell Mark Rothko's Untitled, 1960, which it has not exhibited since 2002The picture has an enviable provenance, and Sotheby's will auction it this spring in New York City. Reports in the media say that proceeds from the sale will be used by SFMOMA to acquire art by people of color and women, as well as to establish an endowment for future acquisitions. Estimates of what the painting might fetch range from $30 million to $50 million — an amount, it would seem, SFMOMA trustees could raise among themselves if they were truly interested in keeping an important example of the work of one of the world's foremost abstract expressionists in the museum's collection.  

Why does it matter?

Museums are more than just repositories of stuff. They long ago evolved beyond their origins as cabinets of curiosities and today function as social hubs, conveyors of cultural status, catalysts for economic development, and retail trade operations, as well as places for object-based learning, contemplation, and enjoyment.

Notwithstanding the cumulative impact of these changes, the core precept of museums as thing-centered operations is what makes them unique. The museum was invented as a place where the tangible is used to explain the intangible. Collections are assembled for their evidentiary value, the objects in them providing direct proof of the topic at hand. And once they've been selected, those objects should be preserved and protected. The obligation to preserve and honor objects that have been acquired plays out most obviously in the areas of safe and secure storage, scholarly access, and public exhibitions. Indeed, museums have been so successful in making this point that the response to selling a work, as SFMOMA has decided to do with one of its Rothkos, is almost always calamitous.

Except for loss of life, the tragedy museum officials fear most is the destruction of an institution's collections. Museums are stewards of our shared cultural patrimony, and those who curate the collections they hold recoil at the thought of losing objects to chance, negligence, or something more insidious. Notable museum losses that continue to reverberate include the unsolved theft in 1990 of thirteen pieces of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the looting in 2003 of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in 2003, the ransacking in 2015 of the Mosul Museum by ISIS, and the recent horrific destruction by fire of the National Museum of Brazil

Museums devote considerable resources to protecting the art, artifacts, and specimens in their collections. Tens of thousands of skilled professionals — curators, conservators, directors, collection managers, security and maintenance staff — are employed by museums around the country to collect and safekeep these objects. One must assume that SFMOMA has many such professionals on staff. One could be forgiven, however, for thinking that the museum's decision to sell the Rothko suggests that some of these folks see themselves as temporary custodians of highly profitable and expendable goods.

Continue reading »

Weekend Link Roundup (March 2-3, 2019)

March 03, 2019

Cohen_testifyingA weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Criminal Justice

There's a gender imbalance in many African-American neighborhoods, and mass incarceration is largely to blame. Mike Maciag reports for Governing magazine.

Economy

"Much has been written about the massive changes that are underway in the nature and future of work, but we still have more questions than answers," writes Ritse Erumi on the Ford Foundation's Equals Change blog. "But the fact remains that the scale of this challenge requires new ideas, frameworks...experimentation" — and, not least, "the participation of workers."

Giving

When is giving $100 million not necessarily a brilliant act of generosity? When the giver is a Wall Street hedge fund manager and the recipient is...Harvard University. Larry Edelman reports for the Boston Globe.

Could the next big thing in philanthropy be the use of donor-advised funds to support marginalized groups and causes such as women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and climate funding? Gender lens expert Katherine Pease, managing director and head of impact strategies for Cornerstone Capital, thinks it could be, and tells Philanthropy Women's Kiersten Marek how it might work.

Leadership

The "default assumption" in the social sector "that people with for-profit or academic backgrounds are somehow better leaders in general, even in fields where they have no experience or knowledge," is, well, a questionable assumption. Nonprofit AF's Vu Le explains.

Nonprofits

What will nonprofit organizations look like in 2025? Nine members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council share their thoughts.

Can the experience of one San Francisco nonprofit tell us anything about why nonprofits, generally speaking, have short lives? Courtney E. Martin, the author most recently of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream, reports for the New York Times

Continue reading »

Five Elements for Success in Capacity Building

February 28, 2019

Capacity-buildingAsk any nonprofit leader and you're likely to hear that investments in capacity make a meaningful difference to organizations. Research backs this up. A study of Meyer Foundation grants found that investments in capacity produced positive, long-term financial results for grantees, regardless of the type of capacity-building grants provided.

Recent research from Candid and the Council on Foundations shows that from 2011 to 2015, U.S. foundation funding for capacity building and technical assistance targeting beneficiaries outside the U.S. jumped from $555.4 million to $900.1 million — a sizable increase but still less than ten percent of total international giving.

There are certain barriers that may help explain why foundations aren't devoting more funding to capacity building. Nonprofits may be reluctant to share information about their capacity-building needs with funders because they're not sure whether such sharing will have repercussions on future funding decisions. We're also learning that because organizations have unique needs, tailored approaches to capacity building tend to be the most effective, but they also make supporting capacity building more resource-intensive for foundations.

While there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to capacity building, there are commonalities in the approaches that have proven to be successful. Over the years, Community Wealth Partners, a social sector consulting firm, has worked with several foundations and their nonprofit grantees to design, deliver, and evaluate capacity-building programs. Now we're partnering with GrantCraft to publish a series of case studies that provide an in-depth look at five foundations' approaches to supporting nonprofit capacity.

Looking across our work over the years, we have identified five elements we think should be part of any capacity-building effort. We share these recommendations with the hope that foundations factor them into their capacity-building plans and that nonprofits seek out and request this type of partnership from their funders.

1. Commit for the long term. The ability to be successful over the long haul requires ongoing attention to organizational capacity — think of it as a sort of personal healthcare plan for nonprofits.

The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation is one funder that provides long-term support to community development organizations leading neighborhood revitalization initiatives — often involving commitments of eleven years or more. The foundation knows that the work grantees are doing to bring about change at the local level can take decades, and it is committed to ensuring that organizations leading the charge have the skills and financial resources they need to see that change through. To that end, the foundation begins by listening to grantees to understand their needs and then designs and delivers programs to meet those needs as they emerge, including training, coaching, and assistance designed to help grantees build financial sustainability and collaborative capacity.

2. Co-create solutions with stakeholders. A common criticism of capacity building is that it can feel paternalistic. And this is more likely to happen when foundations make assumptions about what grantees need and design services without their input. Capacity building should be grounded in two-way conversation between foundations and nonprofits. Nonprofit leaders know best the context of their work and what types of support are likely to make the biggest difference. Grantmakers should seek out these insights and engage grantees in the design of capacity-building approaches.

Continue reading »

Board Diversity: Moving From Awareness to Action

February 26, 2019

Board-diversity-bubbleThe lack of board diversity in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors is hardly news. And a growing body of reports, articles, and data clearly shows that boards not only are not diverse, they're not even moving in that direction. Indeed, an annual survey of boards of directors of nonprofit organizations published by BoardSource found that 84 percent of board members are white, while 27 percent of boards surveyed reported not having a single member of color.

The survey conducted by my own firm, Koya Leadership Partners, affirms these trends. Of the hundred-plus boards we surveyed, 68 percent of all board members identified as white, while just 24 percent identified as a person of color. We wanted to understand why boards aren't changing, so we decided to ask.

Here's what we learned: 96 percent of boards believe that diversifying the board or executive committee is a key objective, but only 24 percent have taken steps to increase diversity. Clearly, there is a serious gap between intention and action.

Alarmingly, our survey found that most boards aren't even taking simple steps to increase inclusion and advance diversity such as developing a written diversity and inclusion statement, with only 11 percent of the boards we surveyed saying they had done so. Another key finding was related to board recruitment, with effective recruitment strategies emerging as a serious challenge for boards, which often struggle to fill board seats with candidates who contribute to the overall board diversity.

The good news? Closing the diversity gap is far from impossible. In fact, there are a number of steps any board can take, starting now, that will help move it toward real diversity and inclusion. Here are four:

1. Assess your own board through the lens of diversity. If your board has never ordered up a self-assessment, now is the time. Board assessments are an excellent first step to understanding the various talents, skills, perspectives, and experiences board members bring to table and are invaluable in helping board and senior leadership identify what is missing. You can find useful examples of a board matrix online, or you can make one of your own that lists each board member next to their demographic characteristics, experience, skills, and relevant attributes. Many boards find this to be a useful exercise that helps everyone better understand who and what is represented on the board, as well as who and what is not.

2. Recognize that becoming more diverse and inclusive requires culture change. Adding new board members who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives is critical. But it's not enough. Many boards will also need to undergo a more holistic cultural change process that includes honest assessment, education, and a commitment to changing every aspect of board culture so that it truly embraces inclusivity.

Continue reading »

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    — Anne Lamott

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