Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mainstreaming Networks in Philanthropy

While the idea of networks is not new to philanthropy, grantmakers are paying increased attention to the concept. In part, this is thanks to the advent of new technologies that have revolutionized the way we engage with one another. While networking still takes time and resources, connecting across organizational, geographic and time boundaries is easier, cheaper and faster than ever before. But this newfound interest in networks is not driven by technology alone. Rather, it reflects the sector’s need to increase impact. Grantmakers and nonprofits recognize that often even the most resourceful organizations are dwarfed by the issues they face. Sharing knowledge, synchronizing messages, coordinating efforts and pooling resources can help organizations reach their goals and achieve lasting, system-wide results.

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a national membership organization for foundations focused on nonprofit effectiveness featured networking building in this month’s update. As networking as evolved in to a verb over the past years, it has often been associated with a high level of activity but a low level of order. A new study from the Interaction Institute offers some strategies to make the development of networks more valuable and more efficient.

Read the executive summary.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Foundation Training

The Foundation Center is offering a FREE training on effective grantseeking - Fundraising in a Challenging Environment - Monday, 9/14/09, 1:30-3:30pm at Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More Insights on Engaging Board Members

If you get through the first few paragraphs of this recent Guidestar.org article there is some useful information about what is important to many of your most prized board members or prospects.

“Six recurring themes were identified as the foundation for most issues and solutions: connectivity, no surprises, importance of time, improved communications, accountability, and organizational focus.”

The survey noted also asked board prospects why they turn down invitations to serve – “… major reasons cited for declining a board invitation or for leaving a board position include nonprofits being run without an organized focus, reputation issues, financial questions, staff who do not project a professional image, or being known for having any of the previously mentioned challenges.”

Read Entire Article

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Recruiting and Vetting Nonprofit Board Members

As we head into the fall, it is time for nominating and governance committees to be ramping up for January board member transition. Bridgespan offers some words of wisdom in:

A key ingredient to increasing a nonprofit organization's impact in the community it serves is having the right people on the team. Critical to this team are an organization's board members.
"Board composition is a key lever," said Jeri Eckhart-Queenan, a partner at the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor to nonprofits and philanthropy. "Having the right people with the right skills helps theorganization achieve its strategic goals." Therefore, the first question that nonprofits should consider as they start to formulate their board recruiting plans is: What are our key strategic priorities, and what new skills or expertise might we need on our board to help us achieve those priorities? >>Read Full Report