The 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.
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.
As 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.
Chances 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.
Although 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.
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.
Americans gave nearly $400 billion to charitable organizations and individuals last year – to make education work better for our children, put food on the tables of our most vulnerable, and to create safer and healthier neighborhoods and communities for everyone, to name only a few of the causes supported by philanthropic giving in 2016.
We are right in the middle of the 2017 Ignite! Grantmaker Summit and I couldn’t be more energized and inspired. It is great to see so many good people gathered in one place, learning new skills and gaining a renewed focus on their missions.
When Give OUT Day was founded in 2013, it rose out of a sense of urgency and acute need. Its mission – to bring the LGBTQ community’s nonprofits and allies together across the country on a single day dedicated to giving – remains as critical today as it was five years ago.
Foundations and other nonprofit organizations are a powerful force of good in the world, but without a steady backbone of leadership and guidance from high-quality board members, they risk losing focus and becoming far less effective.