Tag Archives: nonprofit

36 Terrific Blog Posts Covering the 2011 Council on Foundations Conference

The Philanthropy411 Blog Team recently covered the Council on Foundations Annual Conference, as well as some of the pre-conference affinity group events such as Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Annual Meeting and the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy National Conference. Below please find a list of and links to all posts published for this event.  The Council on Foundations also had a blog team, and you should definitely check out their blog coverage too.

1. Your Blog Team at Council on Foundations 2011
By: Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting

2. EPIP Provides Support and Opportunity for Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy
by Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.

3. Mutual Frontiers: Social Change, Storytelling and the Blogosphere
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

4. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 1
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

5. Fountain of Youth
by Richard Woo, CEO, of The Russell Family Foundation

6. Letter to COF Conference Attendees
by Holly Wolfe, Environmental Sustainability Program Associate at The Russell Family Foundation

7. Three Examples and a Prize
by Daniel Silverman, Communications Director at the James Irvine Foundation

8. Promoting Intergenerational Leadership & Racial Justice in Philanthropy
by Sterling Speirn, President and CEO of the WK Kellogg Foundation

9. How AAPIP is Building Democratic Philanthropy
by Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer at The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

10. Advancing the Next Generation: EPIP’s Impact on Philanthropy
by Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.

11. What Gives?
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

12. The Multiplier Effect: Invest in Fundraising
by Roger Doughty, Executive Director of the Horizons Foundation

13. Gratitude and Wonder in Philly
by Rob Collier, CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations.

14. Get Some Sleep!
by Ash McNeely, Executive Director of the Sand Hill Foundation

15. Nonprofits, Social Media, and ROI
by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica.

16. Go See the Murals!
by Daniel Silverman, Communications Director at the James Irvine Foundation

17. Committee Orientation
by Mark E. Neithercut, founder and principal at Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors

18. Trust is Cheaper than Control: Social Media Adoption Challenges
by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica

19. Caught in the Headlights
by Christi Tran, Program Officer for Blue Shield Against Violence at the Blue Shield of California Foundation

20. Gardens Inspire “Roots to Reentry”
by Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer at The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

21. D5 Initiative – Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
by Roger Doughty, Executive Director of the Horizons Foundation

22. Be at the Policy Table (or be on the Menu)
by Robert Eckardt, Executive Vice President of The Cleveland Foundation

23. Grits Ain’t Groceries. They’re Hope.
by Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner of The 360 Group

24. Spending Up, Spending Down, Spending Out: Alternatives To Perpetuity
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

25.  Another Multiplier Effect: Invest in Talent Development – Part One
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

26. Another Multiplier Effect: Invest in Talent Development – Part Two
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

27. Philanthropy and Pluralism: Diversity That Does Not Divide
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

28. Conference Theme Should Unify and Call Us To Action
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

29. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 2
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

30. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 3
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

31. Fabulous Plenaries at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

32. Law and Dis-Order
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

33. The Experiences of An Emerging Leader at National Philanthropy Conferences
by Maisha Simmons, Program Associate at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

34. Reflections from a Millennial
by Chanelle Gandy, Program Associate at The Funders’ Network

35. Leadership Under Duress
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

36. 3 Lessons on Evaluation in Foundations
by Mayur Patel, Vice President of Strategy and Assessment at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Write A Poem and Win $10,000!

How often does your organization step back and remember your mission? Sure, you know what your mission is, but how often do you refine the sense of mission that exists in the hearts of your staff, board members and supporters?

This year’s Heart & Soul grant program, put on by the CTK Foundation, is designed to do just that.

To win, you have to channel your creativity to write an original four- to eight-line poem or stanza that reflects the work or mission of your nonprofit. No poets on staff? Ask your supporters to write a poem for you.

The 1st place winner will receive $10,000 and will have their submission turned into a song to be used in public education or awareness. The song will be written and recorded by songwriter Bill Dillon — who was recently exonerated after 27 years in prison thanks to Innocence Project of Florida — and produced by Jim Tullio of Butcher Boy Studios. The contest is open to all nonprofits in the United States, Canada and the UK.

The winning nonprofits will receive one of the following awards:

  • 1st place award is the song, plus a cash grant of $10,000 (US) or it’s value in foreign currency
  • 2nd place award is a cash grant of $5,000 (US) or it’s value in foreign currency
  • The 2011 Blogger’s Choice Award, where a randomly selected blogger participating in spreading the word among nonprofits about the H&S Grant Award Program will choose a nonprofit applicant to receive a $1,000 cash grant or it’s value in foreign currency
  • 2 steel-stringed guitars, signed by all members of Los Lonely Boys (which you can auction for fund-raising)
  • Up to 20 technology grants, valued at $10,000, to nonprofits that indicate an interest

There is a quick turnaround on these grants. You must submit an application by midnight on March 28, 2011, and you’ll be notified if you’ve won on April 10. Visit http://www.communitytech.net to apply.

Follow the effort on Twitter at #ctkgrant.

Heart and Soul 2011 Grant Award

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How Rec.fm Can Change the World

This blog was written by Brenton Gieser, and was posted on his website, brentongieser.com, on December 31, 2010.  We are re-posting it here with his permission.


A little over a month ago I began a stint as a consultant with Rec.fm, a new start-up out of the valley that is dedicated to merging social commerce with cause donations.  A month later I am becoming more and more aware of the Non-Profit landscape and the themes of creativity and innovation.  The majority of the charities I talked to sparked from a possibility, an idea that would make the world a better place…most got to where they are today through innovation and ingenuity.  Rec.fm is based on an idea that we direct a slice of the billions of dollars moving by way of social commerce to causes that better our world!  The vehicle of product recommendations is the innovation needed to gain a slice of the bigger pie.  Just the type of innovation these NPO’s spawned from.

How it works:

Go to Rec.fm and start recommending products you love and find product recommendations from your friends and other people.  You can also ask the community for specific recommendations on product types.  For most people, the real exciting part is choosing a cause to give back to.  You can browse from our partner charities to find a cause you care most about and contribute to that cause with every rec you make.  In my eyes much of the beauty of Rec.fm is that it gives people an alternative way to give back.  Forget digging into your pockets to support entrepreneurs in a third world country (I contribute to Kiva.org), instead do actions you do on a weekly basis anyways (chat about a movie, talk about your Mac Book, etc.) and through that…give to those entrepreneurs in third world countries.

How it can change the world:

Success stories like the Facebook app Causes and Charity Water are proving that many people want to and can change the world with the use of social media.  Bring social commerce and an individual’s social equity together and you have something powerful.  Rec.fm facilitates social powered buying based on recommendations from trusted sources…THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW!   With 90% of consumers participating in peer recommendations, (stat from Nielsen) we look to our friends for product recs than we do Google.  Now allow those people recommending products to their social circle to give back to causes they care about and you have a natural behavior followed by an altruistic motive.

If we as consumers began to consume intelligently and recommend product for a purpose we can make a huge difference in the world.  With Rec.fm donating over half of all site earning to the causes of a user’s choice, just a few recs from you can make a large impact.  One tweet and one shared link on Facebook can bring in hundreds or potential thousands of dollars to an important cause.

There are infinite possibilities.  Rec.fm can be a clear and simple way you and your friends connect when it comes to recommending products, it can be a source in searching for what celebrities buy (all in support of the charities of those celebrities).  It’s a powerful tool to use you “social equity” to do good!

I encourage everyone to use Rec.fm in 2011 (and beyond for that matter).  Start sharing with friends…ask your friends what they recommend and give back to causes you are passionate about.  I would love to hear back from you with any feedback you may have on how Rec.fm can better change the world!

Note: Kris Putnam-Walkerly is also an Advisor to Rec.fm. You can learn more about Rec.fm and my involvement in my recent blog post.

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


The Philanthropy411 2010 Charitable Gift Guide

Cyber Monday is behind us (thank god!). Now it’s time to finish your holiday shopping so you can do what you truly enjoy during the holidays: spend time with friends and loved ones, take time off work to relax, volunteer to help those in need, appreciate all the wonder and beauty of life, and oh yes, attend all those holiday parties!  Why not put your holiday shopping dollars to work for a great cause?

I’ve put together 13 fabulous gift ideas, so you can give gifts that will be cherished while supporting nonprofits that are making a difference at home and across the globe.

Give the Gift of Giving – A flurry of organizations are offering charitable gift cards, allowing the gift recipient to pick an organization to receive a charitable donation. 

The Good Card

Give Hope in a Bottle… A Water Bottle – Be like Matt Damon and give a  CamelBak water bottle to your family and friends. You know, the ones who go hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or just like staying hydrated. Water.org is selling these limited edition bottles, and 100% of the profits go directly to support people around the world who lack clean water. Give just one bottle ($19 or $25) and you help a child get clean, safe water. How cool and refreshing is that?!

Matt Damon shows off his CamelBak water bottle

Give a Cow – Or a water buffalo, llama, goat, or camel! Make a donation through Heifer International, and give an animal to a family in need. One cow provides 4 gallons of milk per day for a family. After your donation, you’ll have the opportunity to create a printable gift card or e-card to tell your friends and family that you’ve honored them with a Heifer gift.

Recommend Products You Love To Help Causes You Care About – Recommend your favorite products at Rec.fm, choose a charity, and share your product recs with your friends, family and followers via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. When someone buys one of your recommended products, Rec.fm will donate 100% of its earnings to your charity through the end of December (they normally provide 51%).  To learn more about Rec.fm, check out my earlier blog post “A New Source of Funding for Nonprofits: Product Recommendations.”

Give a Tote Bag – H&M and UNICEF have partnered to offer this hip, organic cotton tote for the All for the Children campaign created by H&M and UNICEF. Thirty percent of the price of the bag will be donated to the charity, and they will be sold at H&M locations.

Tote bag from H&M benefits Unicef

Give Gifts to Benefit US Soldiers and Veterans – Many thanks to Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, for bringing my attention back to the needs of veterans (I previously worked at a VA Medical Center) through his informative blog posts and tweets.  You can give a $40 pre-paid phone card to American soldiers abroad through the CauseCast Store and USO. Or you can buy President Obama’s new children’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, and his book proceeds will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation to provide scholarships to children of US veterans. Buy the book on Amazon through my recommendation, and Water.org also benefits! Fisher House is 4-star rated on Charity Navigator, and I know from personal experience that they provide tremendous support to veterans.

My recommendation for "Of Thee I Sing" on Rec.fm

Give the Gift of No More Junk Mail – For $10 Precycle will remove someone’s name from junk mailing lists (80% reduction) and save some of the 93.5 million trees destroyed each year to create all that clutter. They will also plant 5 trees in the person’s name (for $20 you get all that plus a tote bag and 2 eco-friendly light bulbs!). Thanks to Change.org for this charitable gift tip!

Buy From the Sesame Street Store – When you purchase Sesame Street products from their online store, the proceeds help Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit organization, produce Sesame Street and other programs that give opportunity and hope to children in more than 120 countries. Go ahead, you know you want an Elmo hat!

JustGive.org Gift Collections – Each gift collection features four charities that support a specific cause, such as feeding the hungry, supporting women globally, ending animal cruelty, and promoting human rights. They’ve pre-selected 4 charities for each cause to make it easy for you, and the collection is sent in a gift basket. You can select the amount for each charity, with a minimum of $40 per collection.

Support A Nonprofit For Free with Target –  While shopping online at Target (you know who you are), you can create a simple wish list and Target will donate $5 to a new nonprofit each week, up to $50,000. As I write this post, this week’s charity is the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last week it was the Salvation Army.

Lastly, check out these other terrific charitable gift giving guides from Change.org, Mashable, and the Charitable Gift Giving Blog!

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.

Latest Ideas About Philanthropy Communication

Philanthropy411 recently covered the Communications Network 2010 Fall Conference with the help of a blog team. Altogether there were 41 conference attendees who tweeted, blogged and conducted on the spot video interviews about the latest developments and challenges in effective foundation communications. Below is a list of all blog posts published for this event, and you can check out highlights from the video interviews here. A great is example is this video of Daniel Silverman, Director of Communications at one of our favorite clients, The James Irvine Foundation, discussing what he learned about “crowdsourcing” at the conference.

1.  Announcing the Communications Network Conference Blog Team!
By Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting; Twitter: @philanthropy411

2. Translating the Philanthropy and Social Capital Market Sectors – a ComNet010 and SOCAP10 Cross-post
By Adin Miller, owner of Adin Miller Consulting.  Twitter:   @adincmiller

3.  Flying into a Paradox
By Lucas Held, Director of Communications at the Wallace Foundation;  Twitter:  @WallaceFdn

4. I Got out of Bed for This: Leaving Home for LA
By Sylvia Burgos Toftness,Communications Lead at the Northwest Area Foundation;  Twitter:  @NWAFound

5.  The Comm Network’s Gone Hollywood, Should Foundations?
By Adam Coyne, Vice President, Director of Public Affairs at Mathematica Policy Research;  Twitter:  @adamcoyne

6.  The Search for Wisdom
By Larry Blumenthal, Web and Social Media Strategist at Open Road Advisors; Twitter: @lblumenthal

7.  Can Surowiecki Help Us Make Wiser Grantmaking Decisions?
By Daniel Silverman, Director of Communications, The James Irvine Foundation; Twitter: @IrvineFdn

8.  Can Philanthropy Truly Embrace the Wisdom of Crowds?
By Adin Miller, owner of Adin Miller Consulting;  Twitter:   @adincmiller

9.  Tell Me a Story
By Lucas Held, Director of Communications at the Wallace Foundation; Twitter:  @WallaceFdn

10. How Do We Know What We Know – and Do We?
By Sylvia Burgos Toftness,Communications Lead at the Northwest Area Foundation;  Twitter:  @NWAFound

11. Parting Shots
By Daniel Silverman, Director of Communications, The James Irvine Foundation; Twitter: @IrvineFdn

12. Upsetting the Foundation Apple Cart
By Larry Blumenthal, Web and Social Media Strategist at Open Road Advisors; Twitter: @lblumenthal

13.  Reconnecting with my Relaxed Self
By Cindy Schulz, Director of Public Affairs and Strategy at The Cleveland Foundation.

14. We’ll Always be Beginners
By Lucas Held, Director of Communications at the Wallace Foundation; Twitter:  @WallaceFdn

15. From the Social Media Toolbag: ComNet010 on Twitter
By Adin Miller, owner of Adin Miller Consulting;  Twitter:   @adincmiller

16. Meetings Making you Dumber? Try This… By Stefan Lanfer, Associate for Strategy & Knowledge at The Barr Foundation;  Twitter:  @stefanlanfer

17. Disruptive Philanthropy – How Can Foundation Communicators Help Spur “Adjacent Possibilities”?
By Allyson Burns, Director of Communications at The Case Foundation;  Twitter:  @allieb37

18. A Year for “Firsts”
By Rebecca Arno, VP, Communications at The Denver Foundation;  Twitter:  @tdfcommunity

19. First Impressions
By Dan Brady, Communications Manager at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers;  Twitter:  @givingforum

20. Wisdom of Crowds – Succeeding in Practice?
By Chris Wolz, President and CEO of ForumOne;  Twitter:  @cwolz

21. Stories and Change
By Joan Mazzolini, Communications Officer at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

22.  Applied Crowdsourcing
By Dan Brady, Communications Manager at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers;  Twitter:  @givingforum

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.

15 Ways To Improve Grantee Communication at Your Foundation

This was originally posted by me as a guest blogger on the Philanthropy News Digest’s blog,  PhilanTopic, and re-posted on the Communications Network blog.

Clear communication with grantees matters:

Grantees are typically a foundation’s chosen agents of change, selected for their ability to create impact. The better a foundation can communicate its goals and strategies to grantees, the more effective these partnerships will be — and the more likely grantees will be to perform in ways that are consistent with the foundation’s goals. (Center for Effective Philanthropy).

Effective communication with grantees is not just the job of program staff, but of staff at all levels of the foundation – from administrative assistants, to human resources, communications, evaluation, and executive staff.  The California HealthCare Foundation believed this when it embarked upon a review of its grantee communications practices. Below are 15 recommendations for improving grantee communications that resulted from this effort (the full report, Improving Communication Between Foundation Staff and Grantees, is available for download)

15 Ways To Improve Grantee Communication at Your Foundation

  1. Consistently communicate your foundation’s goals and strategies through both written and verbal communication with applicants and grantees.
  2. Regularly discuss grantee communications challenges, best practices, and grantseeker feedback survey results at program team and staff meetings. Additionally, you can encourage regular meetings of program officer/program assistant teams to discuss the status of proposals, grants, and grantees, and even organize formal discussions for program assistants to share their strategies for successful grantee communications and to troubleshoot communications problems.
  3. Ensure program staff has adequate time and resources for consistent grantee communications and for building strong relationships with grantees.
  4. Incorporate grantee communications into staff performance appraisals.
  5. Conduct regular grantee satisfaction surveys to keep grantee experiences at the forefront and to track progress in making improvements.
  6. Pay special attention to communications measures that support grantee satisfaction and effective communication, as identified by the Center for Effective Philanthropy: These include measures  such as the quality of interactions with foundation staff, clarity of communication of a foundation’s goals and strategy, foundation expertise of the field, consistency among communications resources, and selection and reporting processes that are helpful to grantees.
  7. Make sure program staff consistently direct grantseekers to grant guidelines, templates and other resources designed to help grantees submit proposals and reports.
  8. Spend time talking with grantseekers about (1) Your selection process and timeline, and (2) The foundation’s and the applicant’s expectations (e.g., for final deliverables, reporting, communication during the grant period) before their grant proposal is finalized.
  9. If multiple foundation staff will be working with the same grantee, be sure that they coordinate their communication and expectations, and represent a “single voice” from your foundation.
  10. Develop a “grantee communication checklist” for program staff. We created one for the California HealthCare Foundation, which you can download and modify to meet your foundation’s needs.
  11. Compare your funding guidelines against the “common characteristics of highly successful funding guidelines” developed by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.  Make adjustments to your guidelines as appropriate.
  12. Consider conducting a communications audit and/or Web site usability testing.
  13. Solicit grantee feedback when making improvements to funding guidelines and Web site.
  14. Ensure that funding guidelines and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) make a clear connection between the funding opportunity and your foundation’s goals and strategies.
  15. Make sure it is very easy for grantseekers to find information on your Web site about how to apply for a grant.

Learn more about the California HealthCare Foundation’s efforts to improve grantee communications and assess impact.

Has your foundation made efforts to improve your communication with grantees? If so, what worked?  If you are a nonprofit, what foundation communication strategies work best for you? What do you wish foundations would do differently?  Please leave a comment and share your ideas!

About this project:  The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) commissioned a Grantee Perception Report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy in 2009. Though its ratings related to both consistency and clarity of communication were statistically similar to or above those of other foundations, comments and suggestions from grantees indicated room for improvement in communication between staff and grantees. CHCF decided to retain Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.  to identify ways to improve this communication. Putnam’s focus was to analyze the results of CHCF’s Grantee Perception Report and to conduct further research that included assessing grantee communications practices of CHCF program staff and other foundations, as well as examining the presentation of grantee resources on its Web site.

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.

20 Social Media Resources for Nonprofits

I recently gave a keynote speech on “Using Social Media to Enhance Nonprofit Learning” at a conference sponsored by The California Wellness Foundation.  I included a list of resources for nonprofits, thought I would share them with you here.  I know there are many others out there, so please add a comment and tell me about the resources most useful to you!

“How To” Guides for Using Social Media

Blogs to Follow to Learn More About Social Media and Nonprofits

Finding Nonprofits and Foundations That Use Social Media

Social Media Policy

Research on Nonprofit Use of Social Media

What resources have you found most useful for your nonprofit or foundation? Please share them in the comments below!

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.