News and Insights

Try “Putting Something in the Middle” and "Free-Writing" to Reflect on Grantmaking Strategy

11/09/2018

Dara Weinerman Steinberg, Guest Contributor | Are you curious about how to create a routine that allows you or your team to reflect on your philanthropic practice? Dara Weinerman Steinberg, Executive Director of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, shares her experience wrangling time to reflect and how it has reinvigorated her belief in the value of informal learning from strategy. more »

Introducing DIY Strategy Improvements: 10 Activities for Community Foundations

11/16/2015

Jan Jaffe and Mark Sedway, The Giving Practice | How do you feel about strategy? Most philanthropy practitioners we work with feel ambivalent at best. For most of us, signing up to do strategic planning is about as energizing as arranging to get your teeth cleaned. It has the oppressive quality of someone doing something to you rather than being in charge of your own health, especially when you bring evidence of poor self-care to the appointment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the same way that flossing and brushing your teeth will make that appointment less painful, we’ve seen how foundations that treat their strategy not as a discrete planning process but as ongoing practice, and use bite-size activities to make the experience manageable and fun, come out the other side with their strategy gleaming and in good health. more »

Surfing the Boundary Between Order and Chaos

10/27/2015

Ted Lord, The Giving Practice | In my experience, philanthropy too often stays in its safe spot, privileging white-paper expertise over lived experience, inviting compliance rather than building a plan together with the deep understanding that participants bring multiple forms of capital — influence, lived experience, community connectedness, time and energy — in addition to potential grant dollars. Is philanthropy’s job to underwrite what has an established track record? Or is it to provide the risk capital for demonstration projects or the resources for best-in-class organizations to pursue their highest-return ideas? more »

Poster-based sorting exercise: Molly McLeod/Code for America

Sort It Out Amongst Yourselves

06/10/2015

Audrey Haberman, Managing Partner, The Giving Practice | People often assume that everyone else agrees on certain fundamentals like strategy, values or approach. Sometimes they do; other times not so much. To draw out these assumptions, we have used a range of sorting exercises that can be both enlightening and thought-provoking. more »