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

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

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.

Blog Team Coverage of the Council on Foundations Conference

Philanthropy411, in partnership with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, recently covered the 2010 Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a list of all posts published for this event.

  1. Kick off of Council on Foundations Blog Team, posted by Sterling Speirn, President and CEO, WK Kellogg Foundation
  2. Thoughts from the Pre-Conference Institute for Trustees & CEOs: “Insights for Philanthropic Leadership,” posted by Richard Woo, CEO, Russell Family Foundation
  3. A Lesson on Managing Risk, posted by Raymond Colmenar, Senior Program Officer, The California Endowment
  4. The New Meditation, posted by Richard Woo, CEO, Russell Family Foundation
  5. Nits Make Lice, posted by Mike Roberts, President, First Nations Development Institute
  6. Walking Around Philanthropy, posted by Mary Galeti, Vice Chair of the Tecovas Foundation
  7. 5 Things We Know, But Keep Forgetting, posted by Crystal Hayling, Winner of the 2010 James A Joseph Award from the Association of Black Foundation Executives
  8. Listen, posted by Aleesha Towns-Bain, Program Associate, Rasmuson Foundation
  9. Health, Equity, and Growth, posted by Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
  10. On Fire, posted by Rebecca Arno, Vice President of Communications, Denver Foundation
  11. Choices, Choices, posted by Kim St. John-Stevenson, Communications Officer, Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland
  12. So Many Great Sessions, So Little Time to Blog, posted by Sterling Speirn, President and CEO, WK Kellogg Foundation
  13. Thoughts on a Session – Social Justice: From Here to 2030, posted by Teri Behrens, Editor, The Foundation Review
  14. Charity AND Change; Social Innovation AND Social Justice, posted by Paul Connolly, Senior Vice President and Director, TCC Group, and member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  15. Grantmaking, Tools, and the Long View, posted by Mary Galeti, Vice Chai, Tecovas Foundation
  16. Happy Birthday AAPIP!, posted by Richard Woo, CEO, Russell Family Foundation
  17. Standing Ovation Generation, posted by Jacob Harold, Program Officer in Philanthropy, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  18. Social Justice Philanthropy, posted by Mike Shaw, Program Assistant, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  19. The “Yes-And-And” Strategy: Equity as the 21st Century Growth Model, posted by Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
  20. Celebrating AAPIP’s 20th Anniversary Year-round, posted by Sokunthea Sa Chhabra, Director of Interactive Communications, Case Foundation
  21. Information and Power – Thoughts on Al Gore’s Speech, posted by Kathleen Reich, Program Officer, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  22. Is Institutional Philanthropy Structured to Support Successful Social Change?, posted by Lee Draper, Chair, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers and CEO of the Draper Consulting Group
  23. Ah-ha Moments and Social Media (aka Why YOU Can and Should Use Social Media!), posted by Kim St. John-Stevenson, Communications Officer, Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland
  24. Wish You Were Here…Al Gore’s Keynote Speech on Climate Change, the Imperative of Civic Engagement, and Philanthropy’s Opportunity to Play a Role in Shaping the Future, posted by Lee Draper, Chair, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers and CEO of the Draper Consulting Group
  25. Blowing Up The Conference Model, posted by Sean Stannard-Stockton, CEO of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors
  26. Where Are the Arts?, posted by Lee Draper, Chair, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers and CEO, Draper Consulting Group
  27. Living History: Amanche & Sand Creek, posted by Richard Woo, CEO, Russell Family Foundation
  28. Learn Essential Skills and Strategies in Philanthropy, posted by Cole Wilbur, Trustee of the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Steering Committee Member, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  29. Memorable Mentions, posted by Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation
  30. Afraid of Losing Control with Social Media? Guess What, You’ve Already Lost it!, posted by Sokunthea Sa Chhabra, Director of Interactive Communications at the Case Foundation
  31. A Foundation’s Freedom – And its Responsibility, posted by Kristin Ivie, Program Manager of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation
  32. What’s Next for Diversity in Philanthropy?, posted by Henry A. J. Ramos, Principal at Mauer Kunst Consulting and member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  33. Sitting at the Intersection: Affinity, posted by Colin Lacon, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
  34. Myth Busting, posted by Rebecca Arno, Vice President of Communications at the Denver Foundation
  35. Becoming Masters of the Brand of Ourselves, posted by Mary Galeti, Vice Chair of the Tecovas Foundation
  36. Social Justice: Bringing it Home, posted by Henry A. J. Ramos, Principal at Mauer Kunst Consulting and member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  37. 5 + 3 Ain’t Small Change, posted by Colin Lacon, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
  38. Respect & Resolve, posted by Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation
  39. Racial Justice is Everybody’s Issue, posted by Rosetta Thurman, President of Thurman Consulting
  40. In Search of the Mind-Blowing Conference Model, posted by Philanthropy411′s very own Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, and Vice Chair of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  41. Learn Essential Skills and Strategies in Philanthropy, posted by Cole Wilbur, Trustee of the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Steering Committee Member, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers

Special thanks to the Council on Foundations for their support of our Blog Team!  Check out their blog, re: Philanthropy, to read about their blog coverage of the conference and to stay abreast of the field!

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.

10 Key Attributes of Grantmaking Initiatives

One of our favorite clients, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, recently asked us to define the term “grantmaking initiative”. Simple, I thought. After all, nonprofits and foundations have used this term for ages. Here at Putnam Community Investment Consulting, we’ve spent the last 10 years designing, managing and evaluating foundation initiatives. We all know what an initiative is, but can we actually define the term? Turns out, I couldn’t. So I embarked on a quest. Several hundred Google searches, listserv queries, tweets, and LinkedIn posts later, I was surprised to learn that there is no universally accepted definition of “grantmaking initiative”. I did, however, discover 10 attributes shared by many grantmaking initiatives.

1.    Initiatives are sponsored by at least one foundation. The sponsors of an initiative are ready and able to address a particular issue; commit to a course of action; make a public declaration of their commitment; join together to conceive, develop, and launch the initiative; and leverage foundation assets to ensure its success. Lead sponsors often engage other funding partners such as foundations, corporations, individual donors, or public agencies to co-sponsor the initiative.

2.    Initiatives engage many people and organizations. First, the sponsoring foundation’s board approves the foundation’s role in developing the initiative and the budget. Once foundation leadership agrees on scope, they engage program and administrative staff in research, planning, launching, and managing the initiative. Often, a planning team of key funders, partners, consultants, and other stakeholders help to design the initiative. They may retain an intermediary organization to serve as initiative manager. Once the initiative is launched, grantees receive funding and other types of support such as training, technical assistance, communications resources. Evaluations may be conducted to measure the effectiveness of the initiative. Grantees can also take part in planning, while partner organizations play key roles without receiving funding. Other stakeholders might assume less formal roles. Champions are key stakeholders who actively promote the initiative by reaching out to peers, funders, politicians, and other influencers. Consultants are often retained to carry out various aspects of the initiative such as research, planning, communications, and evaluations.

3.   Initiatives are time-limited by design. Foundation initiatives conform to a general timeframe that is defined by sponsors at the onset. Often, the goal of the initiative helps to define its culmination. While most are described loosely as “multi-year initiatives” or “long-term initiatives” the average lifespan of a foundation initiative is somewhere between four and 10 years.

4.   Initiatives demand significant resources. Initiatives are typically complex, multi-faceted efforts to create long-term impact on important issues. Such impact frequently requires sustained funding and efficient coordination of existing resources and leveraged funds. To ensure effectiveness, initiatives allocate funds to evaluate impact and communicate results at key milestones.

5.   Initiatives advance a foundation’s mission. Just as grantmaking reflects the focus area of each funder, initiatives are crafted to conform to and advance a foundation’s existing mission. As an initiative becomes more successful, it can elevate the standing of a foundation among its peers and stakeholders while creating long-term, positive impact on issues of vital importance to communities.

6.   Initiatives require thoughtful research. Before embarking on the time-intensive process of developing and managing an initiative, foundations may conduct exploratory research to assess its potential for success. Research vehicles include environmental scans, focus groups, stakeholder interviews, literature review, site visits, reviews of existing models and best practices and other processes that can help to guide planning.

7.   Initiatives must be carefully planned. The roadmap established at the onset of an initiative is a touchstone for its success. Planning efforts should engage key stakeholders and others affected by the issue the initiative seeks to address. It is helpful to develop a comprehensive strategic plan or Theory of Change. There must be clear, measurable goals and objectives along with economies of scale. Examples include a single application and reporting form, group monitoring and evaluation, and board approval for the entire cohort of grantees.

8.   Initiatives are built on multiple strategies. Initiatives operate on multiple levels and use various strategies and tools to achieve their goals. Among these are communications, community education and mobilization, convening, direct service, evaluation and monitoring, grantmaking, influence of political and public will, leadership development, organizational capacity building, policy advocacy, and research.
9.   Initiatives seek a desired outcome. The most successful initiatives start by focusing on one specific issue, population, community, or field. As new issues come to light, this focus may evolve and change. The goal of an initiative usually falls into one of the following categories: To impact a problem or condition; to improve a community; to cultivate a field or subfield; to address an urgent need or neglected issue; to improve the performance of a set of organizations; to advance a process, productivity or efficiency; or to reduce costs. Success is often achieved when a new approach or solution developed by the initiative outperforms the current practice, resulting in a new “best practice” for the field.

10.  Initiatives are a unique form of grantmaking. We use the term “unique” lightly, because many initiatives do not lay claim to the following characteristics. However, initiatives are often distinct from programs, projects, and responsive grantmaking because they are: new endeavors; strategic; a discrete, focused undertaking; engage multiple partners, strategies, and levels; designed to set an agenda; time-limited; deliberate and proactive.  Additionally, initiatives leverage all of a foundation’s capacities and assets; convey the foundation’s point of view; seek to meet specific outcomes by maximizing resources and strategies while benefiting from economies of scale.

How do you define “grantmaking initiative”? What other attributes should be included in this list? Please leave a comment.

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

67 Recommended Philanthropy Speakers

A few weeks ago, Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy posted a blog asking:

Who are the most amazing, dynamic and engaging speakers you’ve ever seen talk about philanthropy, the social sector and social capital markets?

Many people offered up their favorite speakers on the topic of nonprofits and philanthropy.  Kyle Reis of the Ford Foundation (and @zazoomzimminy) and Sean suggested that I organize the list with links to all the speakers’ bios.  Here is the list below, including the speaker’s name, title, organization, link to their bio (or the organization they represent if I couldn’t find their bio online), the name of the person who recommended them, and any comments about the speaker that were offered.  Of course, if you have more suggestions feel free to add them to the comments!

  1. Bsis Adeleye-Fayemi, Executive Director of Africa Women’s Development Fund.  Recommended by Jennifer Astone.
  2. Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director of Trust Africa.  Recommended by Jennifer Astone.
  3. Lynda Barry, Cartoonist.  Recommended by Marcia Stepanek.
  4. Bono, Musician.  Recommended by Jesse W.
  5. Brian Bordainick, The Founder of 9th Ward Field of Dreams. Recommended by Teju Ravilochan:  “(Brian) gave a speech that brought every person at The Feast Conference in New York City to their feet, recounting the incredible story of how he raised over $1 million in post-Katrina New Orleans.”
  6. June Bradham, President of Corporate DevelopMint.  Recommended by Rachel Hutchisson:  “THE best and the author of What Nonprofit Boards Really Want, published by Wiley in 2009.”
  7. Antony Bugg-Levine, Managing Director, the Rockefeller Foundation.  Recommended by Jesse W.
  8. Geoffrey Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone.  Recommended by Kyle Reis:  “Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone was pretty great talking about how philanthropy sometimes undermines the work it is trying to support.” Also recommended by Leslie:  “and double underscore to Geoff Canada nods – Just last nite I told someone about his “accidents of history” speech at IS conference in Detroit- goosebumps”; and by Paul S“I like many of the suggestions, especially Allison Fine and Geoff Canada – both outstanding.”
  9. Jim Collins, Author of “Built To Last,” “Good To Great,” and “How The Mighty Fall.”  Recommended by Jesse W.
  10. Patrick  Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  Recommended by Paul S:  “Sonal Shah, Michele Jolin, and Patrick Corvington are the administration’s point people and all 3 have deep understanding of philanthropy and change.”
  11. Martin Cowling, CEO of People First -Total Solutions.  Recommended by Lori Tsuruda:  (Martin speaks) “on the important contributions of volunteers and what we can do to maximize these”.
  12. Leslie Crutchfield, Author of “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.” Recommended by Jesse W.
  13. Peter  Dalglish, Founder, Street Kids International.  Recommended by Katherine:  “I have heard him speak 2 times (one specifically on philanthropy) at different conferences and everyone felt extremely motivated afterwards.”
  14. Cheryl  Dorsey, President, Echoing Green.  Recommended by Paul S:  “Cheryl Dorsey from Echoing Green is a genius and is the ultimate expert on seed capital funding for nonprofits.”
  15. Robert Egger, Founder, DC Central Kitchen.  Recommended by Adin Miller and Jesse W.
  16. Jed Emerson, Founder, Blendedvalue.org.  Recommended by Leslie:  “absolutely, positively never boring” and by Kris Putnam-Walkerly:  “Also agree with the recommendation for Jed Emerson”.
  17. Allison Fine, Author and Speaker. Recommended by Elizabeth Miller:  “I highly recommend Allison Fine (www.allisonfine.com). She is a really great speaker on issues related to social and political change and technology. She gets it, gives great presentations and can explain tough issues to a wide range audience.” Also recommended by Geoff Livingston:  Allison Fine, no question” and by Paul S.
  18. Matt Flannery, Co-founder of Kiva.  Recommended by Jesse W.
  19. Joel Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy Sciences, Duke University.  Recommended by Adin Miller.
  20. Peter Frumkin, Professor of Public Affairs and Director, RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service.  Recommended by Leslie:  “ultra dry wit gives edge to his academic mastery of strategic philanthropy.”
  21. Fernando Frydmann, Director, Centro de Management Social.  Recommended by David Velasco.
  22. Katherine Fulton, Partner of Monitor Group, and president of the Monitor Institute.  Recommended by Kyle Reis:  “And, of course, Katherine Fulton’s TedTalk is inspiring.”
  23. Tracy Gary, Philanthropic and Legacy Advisor, Inspired Legacies. Recommended by Beth Carls.
  24. Claire Gaudiani, Author, “The Greater Good.”  Recommended by Jay Browning:  “She gives an amazing historical perspective of philanthropy and where it came from and how to influence it today. I strongly suggest reading ‘The Greater Good’.
  25. Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink.  Recommended by Kris Putnam-Walkerly: “Exceptionally inspiring, and always thought provoking and right on point.”
  26. Kay Sprinkel Grace, Organizational Consultant.  Recommended by Erick Swenson:  “Kay Sprinkel Grace without doubt is perhaps one of the most motivating speaker on the issues of philanthropy and not-for-profit leadership. Kay combines knowledge with experience and more than a dash of class in all I’ve seen her do in many, many years. She is not a flash-in-the-pan nonprofit professional promoting the latest fad or fancy. What she has to say is tried and true and, yet, is always fresh and welcome as a bright Spring morning. If looking for an ideal conference speaker, allow me to paraphrase McGarrett’s line to Williams, “Book ‘er Danno!”
  27. Andy Goodman,  Author, Speaker and Consultant.  Recommended by Rich Polt:  “Someone who has not appeared on this list yet (I’m shocked actually) is Andy Goodman, He is one of the most entertaining and enjoying speakers I’ve seen on the topic of effective communications in the nonprofit sector. He makes you feel like you’re at a stand-up comedy performance, and then you remember this is actually work-related!” Also recommended by Sean Stannard-Stockton:  “Andy Goodman is the best speaker I’ve seen on any topic. Amazing guy!”
  28. Gonzalo Ibarra.  Recommended by David Velasco.
  29. Jessica Jackley, Co-founder of Kiva.org.  Recommended by David Simms:  “(Jessica) brings great passion and energy to her talks. She will keep the audience on their toes and wide awake.”
  30. Michele Jolin, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation for the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.  Recommended by Paul S.
  31. Kevin Jones, Founding Principal of Good Capital.  Recommended by Jesse W.
  32. Dean Kamen,  Founder, DEKA Research and Development Corporation.  Recommended by Laurie, eFlirt Expert: Dean Kamen was great – inspirational towards educating the youth of our country to get engaged.”
  33. Beth Kanter, Trainer, Coach and Consultant to Non-profits.  Recommended by Kyle Reis:  “Beth Kanter is awesome on the topic of social media and nonprofits.”
  34. Mark Kramer, Founder and Managing Director, FSG Social Impact Advisors. Recommended by Adin Miller.
  35. Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies.  Recommended by Paul S:  “In the thoughtful and provacative column, I’d add Mario Morino from VPP and Gara LaMarche from Atlantic Philanthropies.”
  36. Leslie Lenkowsky, Clinical Professor and Director, Graduate Programs, Center on Philanthropy.  Recommended by Ann Fitzgerald:  “I’d vote for Leslie Lenkowsky, Professor of Public Affairs and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University. He’s a great speaker and challenges the conventional wisdom in the philanthropic world. He is able to give insights from his practical experience in both government and the nonprofit sector combined with his knowledge of latest academic research.”
  37. Geoff Livingston, Author and Co-Founder, Zoetica. Recommended by Kyle Reis:  “(Geoff) is awesome on the topic of social media and nonprofits.”
  38. Heather McLeod, Author of “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.”  Recommended by Jesse W.
  39. Adam Meyerson, President, The Philanthropy Roundtable.  Recommended by Ann Fitzgerald:  “He’s very knowledgeable regarding donor intent and the preservation of philanthropic freedom.”
  40. Mario Morino, Co-founder and Chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners and Chairman of the Morino Institute.  Recommended by Paul S:  “In the thoughtful and provacative column, I’d add Mario Morino from VPP and Gara LaMarche from Atlantic Philanthropies.”
  41. Greg Mortenson, Author and Executive Director,  Central Asia Institute.  Recommended by Marcia Stepanke.
  42. Liz Murray, Speaker.  Recommended by:  “Liz Murray – if you’re ready to get emotional.”
  43. Nicholas Negroponte, Founder and Chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit organization.  Recommended by Erin Prefontaine:  “AMAZING!”
  44. Dan Nigito, Author and Chairman & CEO of Market Street Financial Advisors, LLC.  Recommended by sbrown@statetheatre:  “Dan Nigito gets my vote. I’ve heard him speak twice..his topic was:  It’s My Money and I’ll Give When I Want To!”. He was riveting..and funny.”
  45. Jacqueline Novogratz,  Author & Founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund.  Recommended by Jesse W and by Marcia Stepanke.
  46. George Overholser, Founder and Managing Director, NFF Capital Partners.  Recommended by Paul S:  “George Overholser from NFF Capital Partners is the evangelist of social investing and growth capital and he is both brilliant and engaging – great metaphors and stories to illustrate his points.”
  47. Dan Pallotta, Author, “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.”  Recommended by Kathleen:  “Dan Pallotta because he challenges conventional wisdom, questions existing paradigms and really makes you think about how best to do good.”
  48. John Pentland.  Recommended by Amy:  “John Pentland is a remarkable speaker. He often speaks on social justice issues and has a way of making real issues seem that much closer to home.”
  49. Paul Polak, Founder of International Development Enterprises (IDE).  Recommended by Teju Ravilochan:  “(IDE) has enabled 19 million farmers to lift themselves Out of Poverty. He’s a self-identified “trouble-maker”, unbelievably knowledgeable, and also hilarious.”
  50. Tony Proscio, Consultant.  Recommended by Kyle Reis:  “Tony Proscio was great in his talk on using clear language in philanthropy.”
  51. Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President, Putnam Community Investment Consulting.  Recommended by Lauren Kay:  “Kris served as co-presenter for a webinar we did on social networking tools for philanthropy consultants. She was passionate and knowledgeable about the topic and she has an engaging and comfortable style. Kris also had great real-world experience to share. The webinar was very well received and a majority of participants said they were interested in attending a more advanced follow-up session.”
  52. Mando Rayo, Director, Hands On Central Texas.  Recommended by Robert Egger:  “quick shouts for some new folks on the scene–Mando Rayo (TX) on New Americans and Philanthropy.”
  53. Alec Ross, Senior Adviser on Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Recommended by Marcia Stepanke:  “Alec Ross (State Dept) also is pretty good, about social media for social change…”
  54. Dr. Robert Ross, President & CEO, The California Endowment.  Recommended by Lauren Kay:  “I also heard Dr. Robert Ross of the California Endowment speak in Los Angeles recently about grantmaking and advocacy. He was most eloquent and inspiring.”
  55. Holly Ross, Executive Director, NTEN.org.  Recommended by Larry Blumenthal:  “And I’ll add Holly Ross, executive director of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network. Holly knows how to present technology (including social media) and its related issues in understandable and useful terms.”
  56. Jason Sabo, Senior Vice President of Public Policy United Ways Texas.  Recommended by Robert Egger:  “quick shouts for some new folks on the scene–Jason Sabo (TX) on Nonprofit Political Engagement.”
  57. Paul Schervish, Director, Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, Boston College.  Recommended by Leslie:  “(Paul) lyrically portrays the donor as a character who develops over time, somehow links Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) to the dry transfer-of-wealth stuff.”
  58. William Schrambra, Director, Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal and Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.  Recommended by Ann Fitzgerald:  “He hosts regular discussions in Washington, DC on many topics regarding philanthropy and encourages lively debate from all sides.”
  59. Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation.  Recommended by Paul S:  “(Sonal has a) deep understanding of philanthropy and change.”
  60. Clay Shirky, Author, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.”  Recommended by Marcia Stepanke.
  61. Billy Shore, Founder and Executive Director of Share Our Strength.  Recommended by Leslie:  “stirs the spirit.”
  62. Sterling K. Speirn, President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Recommended by Adin Miller.
  63. Bill Strickland, President and CEO of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Bidwell Training Center, Inc.  Recommended by Lori Tsuruda:  “Bill Strickland, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (Pittsburgh), a MacArthur genius fellow, on social entrepreneurship with high expectations for participants.” Also recommended by Rachel Hutchisson, and by Larry Blumenthal who says:  “I’ll add another vote for Bill Strickland. Great storyteller.” And lastly by Kate Cochran who says, “I’d also vote for Bill Strickland and Geoffrey Canada, whose passion and clarity remind us all why we are working in these areas.”
  64. Chet Tchozewski, President,Global Greengrants Fund.  Recommended by Jennifer Astone.
  65. Rosetta Thurman, Writer, Speaker, Professor and Consultant.  Recommended by Robert Egger:  “quick shouts for some new folks on the scene–Rosetta Thurman (DC) on the changing faces of philanthropy.”
  66. Tom Tierney, Chairman and Co-founder, The Bridgespan Group.  Recommended by Kate Cochran:  “Tom Tierney of Bridgespan has a marvelous way of sounding both brilliant and self-deprecating at the same time–and a good macro view of the sector today.”
  67. John Wood, Founder and Board Chair of Room to Read.  Recommended by  CVNL Marin: “John Wood, author of “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” and founder of Room to Read. Not only is he inspiring, but the progress he has made is incredible… not to mention, he’s quite humorous as well.” Also recommended by Rachel Hutchisson.

In addition, Jay Frost of Frost on Fundraising reminded us “You can find over 700 speakers in the one and only Professional Speakers on Philanthropy list.”

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.