Aaron Lester


Recent Posts

Grants Management Software: How To Get Buy-In Before You Buy

By Aaron Lester on 01/18/2018

iStock-825151062-494407-edited.jpgFor foundations big and small, grants management software not only streamlines your operations, but can also give you a new perspective on your organization's work. From revealing insights through data to automating processes to improving operational transparency, the right software can be a critical component to achieving your mission.

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5 Ways To Be An Even More Effective Foundation CFO

By Aaron Lester on 01/03/2018

More Effective CFO.jpgThe most basic job description of a CFO is to manage an organization’s finances. But the simplicity of this description belies the complexity of the role, especially when it comes to understanding day-to-day responsibilities or big-picture goals at a charitable foundation.

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Tackling a Political Sea Change: 2017 Signals the Importance of Faster, More Flexible Philanthropy

By Aaron Lester on 12/18/2017

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Despite – or perhaps, because of – the unexpected results of the 2016 presidential election, giving trends for last year were overwhelmingly positive. According to Giving USA, charitable donations increased yet again, topping $390 billion in 2016. 

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It’s Time to Rethink the Final Report: How to Create a More Meaningful Feedback Loop

By Aaron Lester on 12/05/2017

iStock-629296802-595212-edited.jpgThis post was originally published on the PEAK Grantmaking blog in November, 2017.

It’s inevitable: at the end of every grant cycle, a final report provides a record of grantee successes, challenges, and monies spent. But how often does the final report become a meaningful mechanism for further reflection or change?

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Program Managers: Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship With Data? It's time to fix that.

By Aaron Lester on 11/22/2017

iStock-629960008-816889-edited.jpgAs a program manager and subject expert, you’ve always believed in the importance of capturing information and stories that articulate the impact of your work. Until recently, however, you may not have had the time, resources, or expertise to take your data practices to the next level.

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Grants Managers: How to Think Like a Data Scientist

By Aaron Lester on 11/10/2017

Think Like a Data Scientist Blog.jpgChances are, if you began your career as a grants manager 10 or 15 years ago, you didn’t consider yourself a tech pro, or a data wizard. You probably used a computer every day. And you became adept at office applications like Excel and Word. But still, there probably was a whole lot of paper in your life.

How times have changed.

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Why Foundations Should Play a Collaborative, Connecting Role in Environmental Funding

By Aaron Lester on 10/19/2017

environmental_funding_blog_edited.jpgAlthough the environmental sector only accounts for 3 percent of total giving in the U.S., environmental issues, particularly climate change, remain among the most pressing and intractable problems of our time.

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4 Big Myths About Cloud-Based Grants Management Software, Debunked

By Aaron Lester on 10/12/2017

iStock-646860750-588132-edited.jpgFor foundations, cloud-based grants management software has evolved rapidly since its relatively recent introduction. Cloud-based systems have quickly become more common than local server systems, providing both casual and tech-savvy users with increased access to the data they need.

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Foundations: Your Impact Depends on How You Collaborate With Your Grantees

By Aaron Lester on 09/14/2017

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It's vitally important that foundations and nonprofits engage and collaborate in a healthy two-way relationship to bring about the change they both seek. But there is often a wide disconnect between how funders and grantees go about their work.

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4 Tips To Becoming A Data-First Grants Manager

By Aaron Lester on 09/07/2017

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As a grants manager, you’ve always understood the importance of data, even if you don’t always consider yourself a tech guru. As the quarterback of the grantmaking process, you regularly collect critical pieces of information and synthesize it for future use. You’ve always known you needed data. But until recently, deep dives into the world of data were rarely expected from you due to a perceived lack of expertise, time, or mandate from leadership.

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