For many of us, late December offers the first moment to reflect on one of the busiest years in philanthropy’s recent history. It’s a moment of reprieve that invites us to slow down and reflect upon our challenges and experiences, and envision what we hope to achieve next year.
The philanthropy industry isn’t touted as fast-paced. It’s a fractured network that’s existed for thousands of years – supporting various societies throughout history. But philanthropy is changing as a swell of funding collaboratives knit together worldwide. As we continue to make strides towards improving industry collaboration, foundations are walking the talk and collaborating more deeply with each other to affect years-long (sometimes even permanent) change. They’re joining forces, pooling funds, forming important relationships throughout the sector – all in the name of wider and more immediate impact.
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.
After eight gripping seasons Game of Thrones is officially over. It concluded with plenty of fanfare, internet grumblings, and dismay. And whether or not you’re a superfan of the show, or only watched a single episode, a key truth stood out in one of the final scenes that – believe it or not – applies directly to our work in philanthropy. SPOILERS AHEAD!
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.
Nonprofits (along with the foundations that fund them) make up a significant portion of the U.S. economy. In fact, in 2014, nonprofits contributed $937.7 billion to the U.S. economy, the equivalent of 5.4 percent of our nation’s GDP. Yet some foundations and nonprofits still face pushback when looking to invest in operations to provide their essential services.
But like any for-profit organization, foundations and nonprofits will greatly benefit from developing the right technology plan in order to forecast for the new year. The same mechanisms that significantly improve the efficiency and mobility of for-profit giants are just as important for a foundation looking to better measure impact, streamline grants processes, and efficiently communicate with stakeholders. The right technology provides operational improvements that enables your team to elevate their grantmaking – freeing up time to further develop grantee relationships.
So looking ahead into the new year, how is your 2019 technology plan coming along? If sitting down to assess your current strategy and plan for the future sounds daunting, then our technology guide can help. After all, having a plan is the best way to demonstrate why an investment in the right technology (that aligns with your foundation’s mission) is critical.
The Foundation’s Guide to a Must Have Technology Plan was designed to help you develop an ideal strategic technology plan for your foundation. Read this guide to learn:
How to define a technology strategy that is suitable for your organization
How to choose the right technology
How to train and implement your strategy
Examples from other foundations who have implemented robust technology strategies
We know December is a busy month for foundations, but it’s also a perfect time to reflect on organizational successes and potential inefficiencies. Let us help you prepare for the future.
Grantee reports are essential for foundations, helping determine disbursements and grants. Reporting is also a vital part of making grants and a fantastic opportunity for grantees to share advancement with grantmakers. But done inefficiently, it can be a tedious task that contributes little to grantmaker or grantee.
Done right, reporting can be a meaningful exchange of data and stories as well as a tremendous opportunity for growth for both grantees and grant makers.
This 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?