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Philanthropy's Biggest Bets Must Embrace Risk. And Transparency.

Posted by Adriana Jimenez, Surdna Foundation on Aug 25, 2016 10:33:33 AM


Adriana Jimenez is grants manager at the Surdna Foundation and also serves on the board of directors of the Grants Managers Network This post was first published on Transparency Talk, a project of the Foundation Center

The Panama Canal expansion project opened last June following several delays and controversies. It was a risky bet with promising outcomes.

While the expansion aimed to improve global trade by doubling the canal’s capacity, it now runs the risk of failure from faulty design. The project was wrought with conflicts of interest, imprecise data, and dubious processes; its stakeholders consider critiques of the canal “unpatriotic,” reluctant to learn from mistakes.

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Topics: Data, Transparency, Open Data, PRIs, Impact Investing

3 Reasons Your Foundation is Not Too Small for Grants Management Software

Posted by Aaron Lester on Aug 24, 2016 7:09:46 AM


If you think your foundation is too small to warrant a grants management solution, think again.

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Topics: Technology, grants management software, nonprofit tech, Small Foundations

Why Are Grantmakers Rushing to Adopt Grants Management Software?

Posted by Aaron Lester on Jul 27, 2016 1:21:47 PM

GM_Software_Guide_Blog_2016.jpgMore grantmakers are using grants management software than ever before. In fact, the number of users has grown 66 percent since 2013, according to Idealware’s 2016 Consumer’s Guide to Grants Management Systems.

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Topics: Technology, grants management, grants management software

Using Strategic Storytelling to Increase Impact: The Grants Manager’s Role

Posted by RJ Bee on Jun 15, 2016 1:31:29 PM

storytelling_blog.jpgThis post originally appeared on GMNsight, the journal of Grants Managers Network.

There are few topics and ideas that have generated as much buzz in philanthropy over the past few years as storytelling. It’s all with good reason, of course. Storytelling can help foundations and their grantees increase reach and resources—and, by extension, impact.

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Topics: Impact, Philanthropy, grants managers, Data

Foundation Transparency and Machine Readable IRS 990s: Is the Game Over?

Posted by Brad Smith, Foundation Center on Jun 3, 2016 4:35:15 AM

Open_Data_blog-1.jpgThe tranquil world of America's foundations is about to be shaken, but if you read the Center for Effective Philanthropy's (CEP) recent study – Sharing What Matters, Foundation Transparency – you would never know it.

Don't get me wrong. That study, like everything CEP produces, is carefully researched, insightful and thoroughly professional. But it misses the single biggest change in foundation transparency in decades: the imminent release by the Internal Revenue Service of foundation 990-PF (and 990) tax returns as machine-readable open data.

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Topics: Data, Transparency, Foundation, 990s, Open Data, IRS

What Are Capacity-Building Grants and Why Are They Game Changers?

Posted by Eliza Smith on May 20, 2016 6:47:38 AM

capacity_building.jpgI am all for the most recent developments in philanthropy. For example, I like data: It helps us measure things like program quality and even overall impact. It helps the social sector do better work. And I think transparency is critical: Sharing what we learn from our successes and failures creates a much stronger sector. And no, I’m not just a fairweather fan of these trends, I have witnessed the long-term benefits of transparency and data-driven grantmaking. They’re here to stay – and for good reason.

One other development in philanthropy I love? Capacity-building grants. More and more foundations are offering this game-changing support, and I believe the social sector is stronger for it.

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Topics: Philanthropy, grantmaking, Transparency, Capacity Building

Surdna Foundation Has a Plan To Build Strong Local Economies

Posted by Mitch Nauffts, Foundation Center on May 17, 2016 8:45:43 AM

Surdna_strong_economy.jpgYou don't need a political scientist to tell you something is amiss in America. It's there, lurking, in the presidential primary campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, in our social media feeds, in between the lines of recent reports detailing falling mortality rates and rising rates of opioid addiction among working-class Americans.

It's part frustration, part anger, but mostly anxiety about the economy and our economic future. Where have good jobs for average Americans gone? Are technology and globalization benefiting or hurting the economy? And where will new good jobs — the kind that make it possible for young Americans to pay off their student loans, buy a home, raise a family — come from?

Mitch Nauffts of the Foundation Center's Philanthropy News Digest recently spoke with Surdna Foundation's José García about philanthropy's role in building a stronger economy.

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Topics: Philanthropy, Surdna Foundation, Local Economy, Economic Growth

What is the Return on Investment for Grants Management Software?

Posted by Aaron Lester on May 12, 2016 10:59:03 AM


Grants management software is an investment, no doubt about it. But like all good investments, you should expect positive returns.

And we’re here to tell you: Adopting grants management software is one of the smartest investments you’ll make for your foundation.

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Topics: Technology, grants management software, foundations

Grants Management Software Implementation? Don't Stress. You've got this!

Posted by Aaron Lester on May 10, 2016 8:46:17 AM


When you bring up the idea of implementing new technology at your organization, you can be met with skepticism from your team. They might say, “Yes, the technology sounds great, but the implementation will take too long and is difficult," or, "We simply aren’t ready for the change.”

This is a normal response, if not based on myth. Don’t worry. We can help get your team on board, and we can help you prepare for your implementation.

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Topics: Technology Implementation, grants management software, nonprofit tech

Transparency and Foundation Results: In Philanthropy, What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

Posted by Nell Edgington, Social Velociy on May 5, 2016 6:27:55 AM

Transparency_blog_Nell.jpgThe Center for Effective Philanthropy’s recent research report, Sharing What Matters: Perspectives on Foundation Transparency, released earlier this year, provides some startling data about the state of transparency in the foundation world.

While for the most part, foundation leaders recognize the importance of transparency and are trying to be more transparent, the report shows there is still much work to do.

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Topics: Philanthropy, foundations, grantmaking, Transparency