The Pinkerton Foundation does things a little differently than your average grantmaker. Because the foundation localizes their work and is dedicated to – “improving the lives of young people in poor neighborhoods throughout New York City by helping them develop the skills, self-reliance and strong values necessary to live up to their full potential” – they prioritize interacting with their grantees with regular site visits, and needed a platform that would free up valuable time for these face-to-face interactions.
Most people think of philanthropy as a niche, feel-good space supported by simple donations rather than the massive global market that it is. A market that continues to affect policy and change millions of lives worldwide. The nonprofit space currently encompasses an impressive 2.1 percent of the total U.S. GDP, mobilizing over 1.5 million nonprofit and funder organizations, and $410 billion of investments in the social sector.
At Fluxx, we’re fortunate to have some truly amazing organizations as clients. The Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of them. Its mission is to “build lasting and equitable solutions that make California the healthiest state and end domestic violence.” The Foundation does this through countless initiatives; some short and timely, some far-reaching such as the first ever Gender Justice Fund – a $10 million collaborative launched with the aim to change culture and advance gender justice. Their work serves a shining example of what 21st Century philanthropy can (and should) look like.
August 17th is National Nonprofit Day – a day of acknowledgment established so that people may take a moment to appreciate the incredible impact that nonprofits have around the world. Not only are nonprofits the premier drivers of social good, but they’re also a huge benefit to our economy, accounting for millions of employees and volunteers, and countless funds being poured back into communities.
Many of you know all about it but for those of you who don’t, I’d like to introduce you to a fantastic asset for Fluxx Grantmaker clients… the Fluxx Grantmaker Community. The community is an online resource where Fluxx Grantmaker users can interact and share, explore ideas, learn best practices and more from one another. The Grantmaker Community is an important part of our commitment to building not just great grants management solutions, but also a community of philanthropists that connect with and learn from each other on multiple levels.
Philanthropy (like any industry) can get swept up in movements and trends. Some trends are buzzy but quickly flow through our cultural rivers, leaving little trace of their impact or original intent. But we’re here to talk about a growing movement that we hope wholeheartedly is here to stay. It’s the practice of bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and trainings into the office, and ingraining them into the work culture. It’s a practice we see our clients (both foundations and nonprofits) doing more each year and something we see far less often in the tech industry. This needs to change.
The key to lasting impact is the ability to scale and adapt. When you’re able to share, reproduce, and generate impact beyond your original reach – everyone benefits! A key way to truly scale is with technology. A robust grants management platform brings with it automation and efficiency – saving foundations from having to overhire in order to meet their needs or overburden their current employees. Not to mention how much easier tax season becomes when data is centralized, safe, and easily referenceable.
There’s a bottoms-up practice that can greatly improve our philanthropic ecosystem. It’s the practice of building capacity from the ground up, starting with nonprofits. When grantees are equipped with the kind of tools and technologies that foundations can access and have the budget for, their important work can become easier, more collaborative, data-driven, and transparent.
A good story takes on many forms in the digital age. It can be an iconic image (worth 1,000 words they say), a catchy tagline, video, article, and more. Regardless of where you get your content – everything boils down to a good hook and powerful storytelling. For nonprofits this is especially important. The campaigns and movements that have skyrocketed to viral fame in recent years have also led to major funding and serious impact.
Charity Navigator ranks nonprofits based on their overhead ratio (as in the amount of money spent on operations versus the mission), but as a recent study from North Carolina State University shows, a low overhead ratio is not always an effective way to measure a nonprofit's efficiency. Accordingly, funders, volunteers, and the general public often have the pervasive idea that all of a nonprofits funds should flow directly to the cause. This can lead to the dreaded Starvation Cycle: A state in which a nonprofit consistently keeps overhead costs so low that it impedes their current and future impact potential.