Category Archives: social media

Philanthropy411 List of Foundations and Funder Networks on Twitter

Since publishing my first list of “90 Foundations That Tweet” in July 2009, I’ve been sporadically keeping track of foundations, foundation staff, and funder networks that are joining Twitter.  I’ve created the Philanthropy411 List of Foundations and Funder Networks on Twitter (Part 1 and Part 2), which at the time of this post publication has 607 Twitter users. I’ve kept this list private and am now making it public for anyone to follow.

There are other resources for finding foundations on Twitter that you should definitely check out. This includes:

  • The Foundation Center’s fabulous Glass Pockets site, which provides links to foundations that seek to be transparent using social media and other tools, such as their Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter accounts, etc.  It is continually updated by the foundations themselves.
  • @OnlyFoundations, which is a twitter feed from Cindy Bailie, Director of the Foundation Center Cleveland. It is a continuous stream of content from foundations and corporate grantmakers.
  • 17 More Foundation Resources on Twitter is another post I authored which provides links to Twitter accounts of some useful philanthropy resources, such as the Foundation Centers, media outlets covering philanthropy, and organizations such as Charity Navigator and Guidestar that help donors find excellent nonprofits to support.
  • The Foundation Center’s report “Are Foundation Leaders Using Social Media?” which highlights the social media activities of over 650 foundations.

I will continue to add to this list, and will occasionally update this blog post with the latest number of list members.  It includes the “official” twitter feeds of grantmaking foundations; foundation staff who identify themselves as working at a foundation or tweet a lot about their grantmaking, grantees and causes; staff at funder networks (e.g., national and regional associations of grantmakers, funders who come together to address a particular issue); and the occasional foundation board member such as myself. One caveat: since this list was started in 2009, there are likely people who have changed jobs and no longer work for a foundation. Unfortunately, I don’t know of an efficient way to continually review the list and remove those who no longer fit the criteria.

It is my intention that this list only includes foundations and other organizations that give grants (or affinity groups and networks of such organizations). However, this list does not include United Ways. I have much respect for United Way organizations and their contributions to communities, but there are so many of them on Twitter that it makes more sense for someone else to create a separate United Way Twitter list. I have also excluded foundations that raise money for only one particular organization, such as the foundations of hospitals and universities.

If you think you should be on this list, or if you know of a foundation who should be, please contact me with the name and link to the Twitter profile. And if you see an organization that should not be on this list, let me know too!

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2011.

Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 2

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation.

by Jorge Cino

Note: You can access the first part of this post here.

While in Philadelphia for the national conferences of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Council on Foundations, I shared the Levi Strauss Foundation’s social media strategy with other emerging colleagues. Most were surprised to know we focused our efforts on blogging and not on “viral” tools like Twitter and Facebook. I explained that, like Beth Kanter suggests in her book, “The Networked Nonprofit,” we prefer to narrow our focus on one element of social media and concentrate on using it to its full potential.

To develop the unique and challenging art of blogging successfully, bringing program staff aboard and acclimating them to the process of storytelling has proven key.

I will expand on this format’s particular demands in my next post. In the mean time, I wanted to share how I helped grant makers look at their grant portfolios with a narrative eye.

I proposed the following method:

Which stories?

Which five grants in your portfolio immediately stand out to you? Focusing on a discreet number of grants served to reduce the intimidation factor.  By allowing us to examine each story opportunity in greater depth, it made the project more manageable. 

What makes each grant resonate with you? To help them think through this question, I suggested that grant makers consider the following lynchpins: 1) the people they met at the organization, 2) the personal stories they encountered on the ground, 3) the unique value or contribution offered by the organization involvement, and 4) the impact the grant or organization generated.

What story angle?

When you are able to convey: “Why does this grant matter to me, and why does it matter to people on the ground?” you have implicitly honed in on the “so what?” of each story.

The storytelling process has thus begun.

As you talk about a grantee, think about: 1) the particular work it is carrying out, 2) the persons who are making this happen, and 3) one or two revealing moments you witnessed while on-site.

******

At the Levi Strauss Foundation, our goal was not to morph everyone into a natural storyteller; rather, it was to foster a collective sense of ownership and accountability over this project. As program staff participated in this culling process, we made it clear that it was my role to develop an original frame for each story, filter out jargon and connect the narrative to the organization’s core values (originality, integrity, empathy and courage), rich legacy (spanning 157 years) and pioneering spirit.

In the third and final part of this series, I will outline five guiding principles to bring a narrative eye to foundation storytelling.

Is your organization blogging? Who in your staff is encouraged to blog? Has your organization designed guidelines to maximize the use of this new media outlet?


Trust is Cheaper than Control: Social Media Adoption Challenges

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica.

by Beth Kanter

I participated on a panel called “Digital Age Giving: How Technology Impacts Everything & What You Can Do About It

The description:   New technologies are changing the world and impacting grantmaking areas as diverse as economic development, human and civil rights, civic engagement, education, the environment, arts and culture. This session helps you protect your investments and maximize your social return by simplifying the hottest topics and providing small group expert consultation.

Social Media Policy:  Best Practices

This panel featured Geoffrey Blackwell, chief of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy, FCC; James Rucker, cofounder and executive director, Color of Change; and Michael D. Smith, vice president of Social Innovation, The Case Foundation. We each gave a brief overview of how social media and technology is impacting our work. I talked about it from the lens of nonprofits.

We broke into four small groups and I facilitated a discussion. The themes that came up:

* Culture change that is required to embrace a new technology
* How address the digital divide when the people you reach are not using the technology
* How social media is impacting governance

We talked quite a bit about culture change and social media policies. A question that came up, “What are the Best Practices for Creating An Effective social Media Policy” My advice came from a recent post that I wrote on the topic titled, “Trust Is Cheaper Than Control“. We discussed that it isn’t a matter of “giving up control,” but to think in terms of “sharing control” and that well-crafted social media policy as part of an internal discussion process can be invaluable.

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Nonprofits, Social Media, and ROI

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica.

by Beth Kanter

I participated on a panel called Face, Tweet, Link – Social Media, Grantmaking & A True Social ROI. Laura Elfurd, Vice President and Chief Community Investment Officer at ZeroDivide moderated a panel that included Stephen Downs, Assistant VP, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Alexandra Mitchell and Jeff Pryor from Pathfinder Solutions, and Kathy Reich, Program Officer, Organizational Effectiveness & Philanthropy, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

I started with an overview of the state of social media measurement and ROI in the nonprofit field, outlining some of the challenges and the needs:

* Social media measurement goes hand in hand with good practice

* Slightly more mature practice for measuring business results vs. social impact

* Social media measurement is a discipline, not a task, and it needs to be part of the organization’s culture

* There’s a big need for more training/capacity for measurement discipline and improvement of practice and sharing the stories

[View Beth’s Slideshow here:  Council on Foundations ROI Panel]

Jeff Pryor and Alexandra Mitchell from Pathfinder Solutions shared some specific case studies about how 30 nonprofits in Colorado are measuring the ROI of Social Media, specifically what they are learning from some preliminary research results. This will be very valuable information to the field.

Next, colleague Kathy Reich of the Packard Foundation, talked about their how the foundation has embraced social media as a true experiment. This started in 2008, and as Kathy notes, “We didn’t know what we would learn, or how it would change our own work and our work with grantees. The initial dollar investment was modest, as was staff time. And we are committed to trying many different approaches to help our grantees, and our own staff, understand social media and what it could do for all of us.”

Kathy shared one of those experiments, The Organizational Effective Program wiki.

They started the project using the concept of a “see-through filing cabinet, an experiment in transparency.”  They put information about their program, things they have learned and resources they like out on the wiki.   The idea was that why keep this goldmine of learning locked up?

Now they are starting to use it to engage with other grantmakers and professionals working on the organizational and network effectiveness.  They’ve started their first evaluation of the Organizational Effectiveness grantmaking program in more than a decade.  They’ve posted their research questions and research plan on the wiki.  As they start to generate findings, they will share what they learn and invite feedback and comments.  They are especially interested in knowing what how people interpret and getting actionable suggestions.  They’ll keep you posted on how it is going, so stay tuned.

As for ROI—well, they are starting to think more about it, but feel that learning and shared learning is the most valuable return on investment.   At the Packard Foundation they are very rigorous about measuring their return on investment on grantmaking strategies.   But as Kathy pointed, “The thing is, social media is not a grantmaking strategy. It’s culture change—a new way of working. So when we think about using social media, for individual grants, strategies, or our own work, we try to stay very open to trying new things.” Their key measures of success with these experiments: 1) Did anything bad happen? 2) Was it worth the time and effort we put into it?

Stephen Downs shared how Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is using social media as part of a larger strategy for becoming a “Web 2.0” philanthropy. He gave an overview of how the challenges of measuring social impact versus business results and what they have learned so far.

How are you measuring the return on investment of social media for your nonprofit or foundation?

View more presentations from Beth Kanter.

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Three Examples and a Prize

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Daniel Silverman, Communications Director at the James Irvine Foundation.

by Daniel Silverman

I am in Philadelphia enjoying  this historic and world-class cultural city before the conference kicks-off with the opening luncheon plenary on Sunday (I highly recommend the Chagall exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art). I suppose it’s a bit odd for me to blog about a conference that hasn’t even started yet, but I was hoping to plant an idea before you begin attending sessions at the conference. As you attend plenaries and concurrents, site visits and social hours, I invite you to notice and share examples of insights and experiences that transcend the traditional “expert at the podium” approach. Specifically, I encourage you to share examples of the following;

  • Interacting and learning from other conference participants in sessions that include audience participation, or in your conversations between sessions
  • Divergent viewpoints, even active debates, that deepen your understanding of some aspect of philanthropy, and maybe even change your perspective
  • An unplanned, serendipitous interaction that led to a new insight or new connection that deepens your understanding of the breadth and diversity of philanthropy.

I know that the Council has worked hard to refresh the traditional conference format and provide for the kind of interaction I mention in these examples. The agenda looks quite promising in this regard. As a communications professional, I’m pleased that they have recognized the power of multiway dialogue and new types of sessions, including audience interaction and debates. (BTW, I hope they play the theme song from “Rocky” when the closing plenary debate begins. We are in Philadelphia, after all!)

So, what’s the prize, you ask? Well, it turns out I have an ulterior motive with this post (my colleagues will warn you to watch out for my ulterior motives.) I’ll be helping plan next year’s annual conference, and we hope to push the envelope even further in regards to interaction, use of social media and technology, and tapping the wisdom of the audience as much as the wisdom of the official speakers. So, whoever shares the best example of  any of the types of experiences listed above – audience interaction, real debate, serendipitous connections—and has an idea for expanding that type of experience at next year’s conference, we will fast track your idea right to the planning committee to turn it into a real, live session next year. Okay, so that’s not quite as exciting as the X Prize or an Emmy, but hopefully it’s enough to get you to share an idea or two. Plus, the real prize will be an even better conference in 2012 for you and your colleagues.

So I invite you to leave your ideas as comments to this post. Let’s also get the conversation going on Twitter. I’ll post a link to this blog on Twitter (@DanielOlias) and use the hashtag #2012Ideas. When you leave a comment, post it to Twitter as well and use that hashtag. We should also use the hashtag for this conference, #2011Annual. If you don’t tweet, I’ll check for comments and post them on Twitter as they come in. I look forward to spending some time with all of you over the next few days!

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Fountain of Youth

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Richard Woo, CEO, of The Russell Family Foundation.

by Richard Woo

Tonight a boatload of folks celebrated the ten year birthday of EPIP: Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. I’m serious, it was a boatload because we were singing, dancing and celebrating on an historic clipper ship anchored along the Philadelphia waterfront!

If you’ve been unplugged for the past decade and haven’t yet heard of EPIP, its vision is “of a day when all generations in philanthropy collaborate effectively to build better foundations for a better world”. Its mission is to “develop extraordinary new leaders for foundations to enhance organized philanthropy and it’s impact in communities.” Rusty Stahl, EPIP’s executive director, the national staff, it’s board of directors, and throngs of EPIP members and supporters across the country can feel proud of the progress they’ve made in marching on that mission. The Russell Family Foundation is fortunate to have at least three of our staff of nine attending this year’s EPIP annual conference held in conjunction with the COF conference. I say “at least” because I feel like an EPIP conferee in spirit even though I’ve worked in philanthropy twice as many years as EPIP has existed.

During tonight’s gathering, an EPIP member asked me in all earnestness (for he had just turned 40): “What’s the secret to staying young?” Considering that I’m turning 60 next year I paused a moment, then told him about the workshop I attended earlier today on adaptive leadership for 80 foundation CEO’s and board trustees. The session is a two day pre-conference workshop designed by the Council to help folks “lead in the new normal.” I told the EPIP’er that my board president and I shared a case study from our foundation of an issue that “keeps us awake at night” in front of the rest of the workshop members–after which the audience offered feedback, critiques, and possible solutions. I told my 40 year old EPIP colleague: “Experiencing that kind of transparency and trusting 80 strangers was really scary–but I felt really enlivened by all of the questions, suggestions and differing perspectives offered up. That is the secret to staying young.”

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 1

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation .

by Jorge Cino

“You’re here to connect storytelling to social change,” Daniel Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, bluntly told me during our introductory work meeting in January.

It was a tall order. He believes––as he states on his blog post, “Mutual Frontiers”––that, in the context of social media, storytelling can serve as a handmaiden to advance the Foundation’s goal of communicating its work in original and better ways.

Program staff knew their portfolios were brimming with compelling narratives. They were eager to shine the spotlight on the pioneering work of the foundation’s grantees.

The challenge was how to tell these multifaceted stories in an accessible, succinct and engaging way—no doubt, in a manner that resonates with my “Millennial” peers, who are defining the zeitgeist of the online social marketplace.

We initially held a series of meetings to introduce me to each grant manager’s portfolio. Daniel urged the entire team to attend each session and collaborate on the vetting process.

As the Foundation’s writer, my first charge was to ease the team into “storytelling mode”—in short, to persuade each member to begin talking about their work as they would to family and friends.

In two forthcoming posts, I’ll detail how this project is coming to fruition. Next up, I’ll outline how I helped grant makers parse their portfolios and enter the “mindset” of storytelling.

I would also like to welcome the input, comments, or questions of any and all readers. Is your organization interested in entering the social media space? What are some of the strategies and practices you’re implementing?

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.