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The Power of Focus: Q&A With Funders

Exponent Philanthropy Senior Program Manager Sara Beggs was joined by Exponent Philanthropy members Janis Reischmann of the Hau’oli Mau Loa Foundation and Sheila Leddy of The Fledgling Fund for a conversation about the power of finding a focus. The following text highlights key pieces of their conversation. Beggs: Janis, to start us off, can you... Read More

Facilitating Understanding, Communication, and Learning

Developmental evaluation is a hot topic in philanthropy today. It emerged in response to the need for real-time learning in complex and emerging situations—just the situations in which funders tend to find themselves when working with others to find innovative solutions to social problems. “Evaluation is about critical thinking; development is about creative thinking,” writes... Read More

What Makes an Effective Nonprofit?

As a donor, you not only have the power to identify effective nonprofits but to build and strengthen the ones most aligned with your goals. Excellent nonprofits are often made, not found. Identifying the impact you want to make will help you narrow the field of potential grantees to those that fit your values, goals,... Read More

Beyond Grantmaking: On-Ramps to Nongrant Strategies

Nongrant work has several major impacts: Providing consulting to a small nonprofit on how to develop its management structure, for example, or enhancing its fundraising or technology systems can add tremendous value to grants that build capacity. Embarking on a more intentional process of learning, scanning, or research accelerates and deepens a funder’s understanding of... Read More

Creating Grant Guidelines

By communicating openly, you can build good relationships with potential partners from the start—and quickly help others move on to other funders. “It’s important to remember that our success as grantmakers depends on our grantees’ success,” says Exponent Philanthropy member Christine Elbel of The Fleishhacker Foundation. “If we can improve our processes, we’re contributing to... Read More

Assessing Your Board

Board self-assessment is a process by which you objectively gather board members’ perspectives about how your foundation operates, compile what you learn, and report your findings to the full board so it can learn from the information, leverage successes, and address any shortcomings. In our experience, boards that make time for self-assessments tend to accomplish... Read More