Funder advocacy collaboratives: Framing thoughts
Philanthropy can be complicated, and working with other funders presents additional challenges. Even so, though a foundation may prefer to work alone, more and more funders are working collaboratively.  Particularly with advocacy issues, from which most...  more
Getting youths off the streets by giving them tools
A philanthropy success story has taken root in Latin America, founded by a former nuclear scientist on a spiritual quest and managed by an engineer turned consultant. Ganydar supplies tools to "workshop-schools in Latin America so that apprentices may learn a craft...  more
How to raise your child to be a philanthropist
“Many parents want their children to grow up to be philanthropic. The hard part is knowing when—and how—to start instilling a sense of philanthropy in them,” Veronica Dagher says. “Experts in the world of philanthropy offer several approaches. But there is a consensus...  more
Lessons from the other side of scale
Taking successful programs and expanding them so they benefit more people is a basic tenet of philanthropy. Yet it is also one of the most daunting challenges, for many reasons. Caroline Kronley, managing director for strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, heard...  more
The Keyboard Charitable Trust: Beginnings
by John Leech:The snow had begun to fall softly that February day in 1991. By early evening its loose mass became treacherous under a brittle and doubly slithery crust. The car descended the slope to the Old Banking Hall in Old Broad Street almost under its own...  more
How funders can help overcome the Overhead Myth
“Among the many myths that pervade the nonprofit sector, the Overhead Myth is perhaps the most destructive,” Nell Edgington says. “It is the erroneous idea that nonprofits must keep their fundraising and administrative costs cripplingly low, which leads to anemic...  more
Ed Scott, Silicon Valley’s most effective giver
Ed Scott is not as well-known for his philanthropy as the high-profile residents of Silicon Valley like Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, but his activities are notably wide-ranging. He has a special interest in Africa but also founded the Scott...  more
The yacht owners saving the seven seas
As worrying as the condition of the world’s oceans is—90 percent of the oceans experience a combination of overexploitation, pollution, acidification, and climate change—more and more people are working to overcome those problems. Prominent in the effort are yacht...  more
Grants management and the foundation of the future
Experienced philanthropists know that every aspect of a foundation’s work has an impact on its effectiveness and the success of the programs it supports. There seems to be increased awareness that grantmakers and the organizations they support can both achieve more...  more
To get on the same page as grantees, funders must play the same game
Foundations and the organizations they fund have the same goal, at least on the surface: alleviate suffering and foster change. And though they want to be parthers, they take vastly different approaches on the way to that goal. As one observer put it, nonprofits are...  more
For funders focusing on developing countries, impact bonds present fresh opportunities
Social impact bonds (SIBs) are attracting attention as a way to support social change and return some capital to investors. Ideally, they will invest their profits in similar vehicles as a virtuous circle. Foundations are also investing in SIBs, Emily Gustafsson...  more
Hey, donors! Here’s a shovel-ready plan for changing kids’ lives
Bridgespan Group has a big idea: Put $1 billion to work funding preschool education.  The philanthropy consultancy’s proposal, “Billion-Dollar Bets to Increase Early Childhood Development,” is tailor-made for one wealthy individual, family, or foundation who...  more
The world’s top philanthropy advisers
To give money most effectively is every philanthropist’s goal, and any way to shorten the learning curve to that point is welcome. Naturally, there are advisers who provide guidance to novice as well as experienced philanthropists. “Today,” as Tara Loader Wilkinson...  more
Network transformation: Can big nonprofits achieve big results?
“In an era of tech-enabled, high-growth social enterprises, it’s easy to overlook the very large, slower-growth organizations with expansive networks that have been serving children, youth, and families for a decade—or longer. But it’s these national and global...  more
How donors can spread ideas to help kids
Education receives a great deal of attention and money, yet preparing children for their first years in school is shockingly underfunded. Consider that as many as 25 percent of children from low-income families are not ready for kindergarten, as J.B. Pritzker and his...  more
For foundations, succession planning should be a high priority
“Plan ahead” was IBM’s famous motto, while the Boy Scouts reminded its members to “Be prepared.” What was good advice for corporate employees and young men is equally relevant to private foundations that have to replace an executive. “You should already have a well...  more
Report urges nonprofit boards to ‘do better’
For all the nonprofit organizations with decades-long histories, there are also those that end abruptly. New York’s City Opera had a lengthy and public end, while the Federation for Employment & Guidance Service (FEGS) collapsed in a few months and received less...  more
Wall Street philanthropy: The 6 do’s and don’ts from the trading floor
“Wall Street is having an ever-growing influence on philanthropy,” Chris Addy says. “A 2015 research paper titled ‘The Wall Street Takeover of Nonprofit Boards’ found that the percentage of nonprofit board members who come from finance has doubled since 1989.” Addy,...  more
Funding documentaries to drive policy change
Some of the ways a philanthropist can promote social change are by supporting intervention with at-risk groups or lobbying legislators. Education is also important, and one effective means of educating the public is through film. Documentaries, whether shown on...  more
How to give away $1 billion
It only seems like being a philanthropist should be easy. To be a truly effective philanthropist is challenging. Decisions confront would-be donors at every turn, and answers are difficult to find. Moreover, a new generation is trying to find its own way through the...  more
Slow, steady, and humble
“Don’t let anyone tell you differently: Making meaningful progress on our toughest societal challenges is extremely difficult,” Phil Buchanan says in this post on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) blog. “There is no magic formula. And a big ego doesn’t help...  more
Never lose sight of these bedrock fundraising truths
Nonprofit board members who are new to fundraising may find the assignment daunting, as most people likely would. Even veterans could pick up a pointer or two from fundraising consultant and author Kay Sprinkel Grace. In this blog post for GuideStar, Grace chooses...  more
How offering an innovation prize energized our grant making
The J.M. Kaplan Fund held an open call for social entrepreneurs and found itself changed by the selection process. The foundation created the J.M.K. Innovation Prize to “seek out boldly promising ideas in the field of social-sector innovation—however untested or...  more
Art donors give to smaller nonprofits
The best place for your art donation may not be a museum—not if you want it to be seen, that is. Consider that most museums display only a small percentage of their collections and you may follow the example of the collectors who give pieces to other nonprofits. Among...  more
The prevalence and best practices of mega-gifts
“While titans of industry actively negotiate their commercial transactions, they should understand that a gift agreement requires just as much planning and deliberation as any business contract,” Julia Chu says. In this article for Wealth Management, Chu recommends...  more