Are Nonprofits Ready for The Slate 90 - and Does It Matter?

By Madeline Duva on 07/02/2018

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Popular online magazine Slate recently released a new series about philanthropy. With The Slate 90, the journal will start ranking the largest American nonprofits by revenue, organized according to nine categories ranging from the arts to health. Its goal is to increase scrutiny of the growing philanthropic sector and provide what it calls “a more robust and useful portrait of the tax-free economy” and “the nonprofit-industrial complex” in particular. This snapshot of US philanthropy, based on 2015 data, shows the contemporary giving landscape.

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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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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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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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Why Your Foundation’s Culture Matters More Than You Think

By Aaron Lester on 12/20/2016

Org_Culture_blog.jpgWe get it. It’s hard not to treat organizational culture as an afterthought. The nuts and bolts of grantmaking come first at your foundation. Grantmaking, after all, is the primary way foundations create positive change in the world.

But we think culture matters. And here’s why.

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4 Steps to a Strategically Aligned Technology Plan

By Aaron Lester on 12/01/2016

tech_planning_blog.jpgGrantmaking organizations manage billions of dollars of funding every year. The importance of maximizing the power of technology can’t be underestimated. Remarkably, most foundations lack a strategic technology plan that aligns with their mission, initiatives, and foundationwide strategy — even though it’s vital to reaching their goals.

In fact, according to a 2014 Technology Affinity Group (TAG) survey, a mere 23 percent of respondents said they have a technology plan that has been updated within the past two years. An additional 15 percent said they have a plan, but it hasn’t been updated, which means it isn’t keeping up with rapidly advancing technology. The most troubling statistic is the 62 percent of respondents who don't have a technology plan at all.

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The 3 Most Important Ways to Share Data for Greater Impact

By Aaron Lester on 10/27/2016

data_sharing_blogv2.jpgThere’s no denying it. The way we work has fundamentally changed. Our cloud-based, bring-your-own-device, collaborative workspaces – virtual and brick-and-mortar –  bear very little resemblance to the foundations of even a decade ago. The technology that makes all this possible is also generating new ways for grantmakers to do their work — specifically, the ability to access and leverage data like never before.

To make the most out of this new work environment, foundations are opting into a culture of data-sharing and transparency.

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What is the Return on Investment for Grants Management Software?

By Aaron Lester on 05/12/2016

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

By Nell Edgington, Social Velociy on 05/05/2016

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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