Deep Listening Starts Here

By Henry Berman, Exponent Philanthropy, and Jen Lachman, Lachman Consulting Listening. It’s a skill we’ve been talking about a lot here at Exponent Philanthropy. Why? First, because we believe that listening is an essential skill for effective philanthropy. When—and only when—we listen deeply and humbly to those we serve, can we learn about their true needs … Continue reading Deep Listening Starts Here

Are You Listening?

By Jen Lachman, Lachman Consulting On September 25, 27 funders and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered in Chicago for a daylong training as part of Exponent Philanthropy’s inaugural Coaching for Effective Philanthropy program. The training began with the most important coaching skill, which has the potential to transform any leaders’ impact: Listening. I … Continue reading Are You Listening?

Peer Coaching: The Gift of Deep Listening

By Andy Carroll, Exponent Philanthropy “With capable coaches at their side, nonprofit leaders can learn more about themselves, about their organizations, and about how to manage people and conflicts, how to delegate responsibility for day-to-day tasks, and more. No other intervention can teach these things better than effective coaching, and we hope that grantmakers, both individually … Continue reading Peer Coaching: The Gift of Deep Listening

Listening In on a System

By Sara Beggs, Exponent Philanthropy, and Colleen O’Keefe, Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation In 2014, Executive Director Colleen O’Keefe of the Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, embarked on a listening tour to inform the foundation’s work on behalf of the state’s foster care children and youth. Colleen blogged about the tour in 2014, and, … Continue reading Listening In on a System

Listening and Learning to Assess Needs, Find Your Niche

Scanning, a seldom discussed but powerful strategy for philanthropic impact, involves taking time to learn more about your community or a particular field to find out how your giving can be most effective. It involves intentional learning to develop a giving focus or design—or refine—a giving strategy. Why scan? Because the most effective giving is … Continue reading Listening and Learning to Assess Needs, Find Your Niche

I’m on a Listening Tour, and It’s One of the Best Things I’ve Ever Done

By Colleen O’Keefe, Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation When the Sauer family asked me to learn about foster care children and youth as a potential focus area, I decided to go on a listening tour. I don’t want to say that I “scanned the landscape” because I didn’t want to inventory which organizations did what piece of … Continue reading I’m on a Listening Tour, and It’s One of the Best Things I’ve Ever Done

5 Tips for Using Simple Convenings for Intentional Learning

By Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Putnam Consulting Group This post originally appeared on Putnam Consulting Group’s Philanthropy 411 blog (July 3, 2017). Kris’s tips apply to all types of convenings, whether bringing together funders, grantees, or a mix. My firm recently helped the David and Lucille Packard Foundation conduct a series of small gatherings of funders to discuss … Continue reading 5 Tips for Using Simple Convenings for Intentional Learning

How You Can Discern and Inspire Promising New Ideas—Before Anyone Else

By John Richardson, Blackstone Ranch Institute Many foundations avoid being the first funder of new initiatives. For the Blackstone Ranch Institute, being first-in is often the ultimate sweet spot. For over a decade, our foundation has been placing early philanthropic investments in a broad range of new initiatives in the environment and sustainability fields. Very often they … Continue reading How You Can Discern and Inspire Promising New Ideas—Before Anyone Else

Patient Philanthropy: How a Small Foundation Got Big Results

This article was originally published by NPQ online, on April 26, 2017, https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/04/26/patient-philanthropy- small-foundation-big-results-grant-making/. Used with permission. By Mark Gunther  Philanthropy often seems to be reinventing itself. Strategic plans are undertaken; old priorities get restated; new buzzwords develop. While there is an ongoing argument about how much this kind of churn may actually help the … Continue reading Patient Philanthropy: How a Small Foundation Got Big Results

Tips for Effective Meetings With Government Officials, From Our Firsthand Experience

By Kristina Nygaard and Cynthia Schaal, Exponent Philanthropy This year’s Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) was hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Alliance for Charitable Reform. FOTH is a multiday event that brings foundation leaders from across the country to Washington, DC for meetings with Congress … Continue reading Tips for Effective Meetings With Government Officials, From Our Firsthand Experience