Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

In class, I learned about motivating employees and the value of a learning organization, and started thinking about tools I could use to encourage a learning culture. Here are a few ideas I came up with that you might be interested in utilizing in your own organization.
1. Postcards. I turned a postcard into a tool [...]

I recently signed a check for our 2012 Council on Foundations dues. Since I’m the chair of the Council that is probably not surprising. But that’s not my day job. My paycheck comes from being the CEO of Berks County Community Foundation. I was the first employee hired by the foundation, and, like any foundation [...]

If you haven’t already, you should start thinking about how transparent you want your organization to be. The Philanthropy Roundtable began looking at this topic and is about to publish a short book, by John Tyler of the Kauffman Foundation, about all of the intricacies involved. So why are we talking about it and what [...]

While I have enjoyed making the contacts and hanging out in the CEO track sessions, I decided to session hop on Monday afternoon.Â
I found, that while well meaning, the CEO air was a tad rarefied and discussion aimed high-brow as my colleagues discussed high-impact investments and donor embeddedness with a hint of detachment. Not a [...]

Ambassador. Facilitator. Strategist. What do these words have in common? They are among the many roles played by family foundation CEOs during their day-to-day work as funders. At the recent Council on Foundations’ Family Foundations Conference in Miami Beach, the National Center for Family Philanthropy used GrantCraft’s Roles@Work deck to kick off their CEO retreat. These [...]

I am seven months into one of the most exciting opportunities of my life, which is also one of the greatest challenges of my life. Earlier this year, I became president of my family’s foundation, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. My 92-year-old grandfather is still very much in charge, and I have the unique [...]

Over the past two decades, technology and the Internet have changed the physiology of platforms, mechanisms, and tools, as well as how we communicate and the psychology of communicating itself: why, when, and where we choose to engage with one another, online and off.
It’s no surprise that our own expectations have begun to shift along [...]

At ING, we have developed a strong corporate responsibility (CR) program that is enhanced through engagement in all levels of our company.  What have we learned? Buy-in and communications are important on a variety of levels. Tying CR directly to the CEO is critical. A CR program with strong support from the CEO and board [...]

Have you ever had a tough information problem you didn’t think you could solve? As a librarian, I am on the receiving end of other people’s information problems and am usually able to find the solution quickly. But every so often I come across a real challenge. One request stands out in my mind. It [...]

Lessons on talking and not talking from the Stanford Nonprofit Management Institute …
As the autumn leaves unfurl their brilliant foliage and crisp days wane, I still get that urge to go back to school.  And here in Palo Alto, California, about 325 of us from 15 countries and 35 states are doing just that, this [...]

This weekend’s CEO Retreat was organized by Randy Royster from the Albuquerque Community Foundation (ACF) and Meredith Hart Jones from the Maine Community Foundation. They are definitely two great leaders!
The two-day session was led by Ann Rhoades, a former board member of ACF, a friend of Randy’s, and author of Built on Values. If you [...]

In light of the Council’s commitment to the highest standards of ethical behavior and philanthropy, it’s a given that members strive for human resources (HR) compliance. Each one of you has an important mission, and your employees are key players in promoting and fulfilling that mission. During Monday’s  session, “HR Essentials: What You Need to [...]

Part 2: What We Did            Part 1: The Initiative
So what principles and practices did we implement? We started with realistic expectations regarding attrition. According to the “rule of halves,” at every choice point along the way a group of participants will drop in half. Thus, to achieve our participation goals, we targeted a much larger [...]

Part 1: The Initiative
Nonprofits that focus on community organizing know a thing or two about driving participation at events. So when our team led a capacity-building initiative directed at these organizations, we decided to borrow from their playbook. We learned that applying principles such as the “rule of halves” and cultivating personal connections takes time [...]

At Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), we have always emphasized the board’s role in helping high-performing organizations scale. We assess the strength of the board and its leadership when we are considering investing in a nonprofit. We evaluate the working relationship between executive leadership and board leadership and assess whether organizational aspirations are aligned. We have [...]

You always start the year with great intentions: “This year, I’m going to prioritize professional development.” And then meetings and conference calls get scheduled and projects get started and, well, work happens. Come mid-year, you realize professional development is once again on the back burner-with the heat turned off.
Get it back to simmering with the [...]

With so much information produced daily, foundation professionals are facing information overload. Search engines can deliver more than a million results, but they are not always authoritative or relevant. So how can you search smarter and not harder? Below are four tools and tips that can help you save time and money.
1. WorldCat
A catalog of [...]

As the recent uproar surrounding the Central Asia Institutes’s Greg Mortenson shows, good ideas and heartfelt passion alone aren’t enough to ensure success in the nonprofit realm. Like for-profit organizations, nonprofits require careful financial and resource management. While many nonprofits do follow a best practices approach to management, others fail to use all the tools [...]

High-impact. Growth capital. Impact investing. Scaling markets. Sounds like a segment from the Nightly Business Report, doesn’t it? Not quite. I don’t often participate in a learning experience that makes me feel as if I’ve sat through a semester of business school. But that’s how I felt at the recent Social Impact Exchange Conference on [...]

With recent scandals like the one sparked by Bernie Madoff fresh in our collective consciousness, many foundation board members-especially those who serve on investment committees-do not want to touch hedge funds with a 10-foot pole. You can’t really blame them as they take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously…and thank goodness they do! If they had attended [...]

How can those charged with overseeing the investments of a foundation navigate the challenging investment climate, ensure they are meeting their fiduciary duty, and make investing relevant to the culture and mission of their organization? These essential questions were examined at the Council on Foundations’ recent two-day seminar on investing for foundation professionals and trustees.
Three [...]

The growth of geographic affiliates at community foundations is transforming the landscape of community philanthropy across the United States. The first major study on geographic affiliates, Growing Local Philanthropy, was conducted by The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group in 2005 and found that among survey respondents, almost two-thirds currently have at least one geographic component [...]

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else!” Fortunately, CF Insights offers tremendous benchmarking tools to help community foundations develop individualized peer groups and collectively analyze trends across our field—and figure out our destination in the process.

One of the things I’m working on at Kaiser Permanente ( is benchmarking my company’s philanthropic program against leading, well-managed, “best in class” foundations and corporate giving programs. We started the process with peers who are mostly from large corporations and independent foundations, and we’d like to broaden the circle.

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Diane Melley
Kristen Grimm
Vicki Rosenberg
Jennifer Ford Reedy
Malika Harrison
Eva Nico and Rebecca Graves
Peter Berliner
Matthew Chase
Sandie Palomo-Gonzalez
Suzanne E. Siskel
Donnell Mersereau
Matt Robertson
Mukul Verma
Kevin Murphy
Sheri Booms Holm
Liz Braden
Flozell Daniels Jr.
Ian Dutton
BH Kim
Danielle Williams
Mary Galeti
Courtney Kaezyk
Valerie Batts
Michelle Zupan
Nathan Dungan
Ruth Ann Norton
David Imbert
Robert Giloth
Matt Charles
Antony Bugg-Levine
Richard Sussman
Diana Esposito
Nicole Lewis
Kendace Hall
Lisa Richter
Robert Weaver
Rajasvini Bhansali
Michelle Kalina
Judy Sjostedt
Jeff Pryor
Lois Salisbury
Matt Mendenhall
John Tyler
John Feather
Karen Archer Perry and Chauncy Lennon
Jim Harrell
Priscilla Enriquez
Roger Doughty
Susan Hoechstetter