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


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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Can Grants Management Software Really Alleviate Grantee Burden?

By Aaron Lester on 04/27/2016


Foundation leaders have told us that before they implemented new grants management software, they worried that a new system, including an online grants application, would be a hassle  for prospective and existing grantees.

It turns out that their personal experience with grants management software has proven otherwise. It busted that myth wide open. These same foundation leaders ultimately found that grants management software didn’t just benefit their own teams – it was also a major win for their grantees.

So, how does good grants management software alleviate the burden from your grantees?

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How The New York Women’s Foundation Changes Women's Lives With Participatory Grantmaking

By Aaron Lester on 04/22/2016

NYWF_blog_image.jpgThe year the New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF) opened shop in a church basement in Manhattan, it dispersed $50,000 to four local groups dedicated to women’s needs. Now, almost 30 years later, NYWF’s funding tops out at $6 million a year, the largest women’s fund in the country and the third largest in the world.

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The Arcus Foundation Transforms How It Makes Grants, And Finds a Single Truth

By Aaron Lester on 02/16/2016


When Ericka Novotny started at the Arcus Foundation three and a half years ago, part of her job entailed finding a new grants management system for the foundation. At the time, the foundation's system wasn't web-based, and as a result Novotny and her team were having challenges around managing information, including grant data that could be used to tell important stories about the foundation's grantmaking.

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Serving the Public Good, By Invitation Only

By Brad Smith, Foundation Center on 02/11/2016


Brad Smith is president of Foundation Center.

America's foundations are not particularly interested in receiving your proposal. Earlier this year I did a quick search on Foundation Directory Online (FDO) of the 96,042 independent, company-sponsored, and community foundations based in the U.S. The results were pretty shocking: only 26,663 are willing to accept unsolicited proposals. That's right, 28 percent.

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Foundations: Are You Truly Listening or Just Hearing?

By Henry Berman, Exponent Philanthropy on 02/09/2016


Henry Berman is the CEO of Exponent Philanthropy

We live in a non-stop world of communications where we are constantly bombarded with messages. It can be difficult to sort through it all, to understand, to listen. Yet, I wonder if the challenge is in listening or hearing?

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The Christensen Fund Finds Grants Management Software That Grows As the Funder Grows

By Aaron Lester on 02/03/2016


The San Francisco-based Christensen Fund focuses its philanthropic efforts in regions of the world chosen for their potential to withstand and recover from the global erosion of diversity. Most of the foundation’s program officers are located in these regions, including the African Rift Valley, Northwestern Mexico, Melanesia, and Central Asia. 

To fulfill its mission of helping create a more biodiverse world, the Christensen Fund realized it needed a more flexible and forward thinking grants management solution. By early 2013, the foundation knew there was a smarter, more efficient way to award its $15 million of grants a year, and that it was time for a change. 

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