What's On Your Program Wish List?

October 5, 2016

Access to skill-building workshops, funder briefings and shared learning opportunities are and have always been a benefit of being a member of Philanthropy Northwest. We make a concerted effort to be responsive to the diverse needs of our members across the six states we serve — while simultaneously getting ahead of developing trends and burgeoning issues in the sector.

This summer, we asked those who have attended Philanthropy Northwest programs in the past two years to tell us what they think by participating in a 5-minute survey. And wow: 87 of you responded, including several folks who emailed or called me personally to provide more in-depth feedback.

I want to extend our gratitude and tell you how much we appreciated your responses, and how excited we are to see that much of what you are asking for relates to programs that Philanthropy Northwest already provides or plans to ramp up in the coming year.

The following topics ranked high on your area of interest for deepening knowledge, expertise and capacity:

Funding & Investment Areas

  • Education
  • Children & Families
  • Homelessness/Housing
  • Native & Indigenous Populations
  • Civic Engagement/Leadership
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Rural 

Content Areas

  • Collective Impact/Collaboration
  • Grantmaking Best Practices
  • Practices for Authentic Community Engagement
  • Leadership Development
  • Policy/Advocacy
  • Impact Investing 

On method of delivery, 60% said you prefer to access or receive programming through webinars. Well, we’ve got the technology for that. We also heard you loud and clear when you said virtual programming is not without its glitches. Our team is working to figure out how we can best use the technology we have to provide a optimal experience for our members to fully engage, regardless of where you are physically located in the region. 

In-person convenings/trainings (51%) and local in-person convenings/trainings (47%) also topped your list of methods for program delivery. I know what you’re thinking: What’s the difference? For our network, "local" means in your state or community — an important distinction in Philanthropy Northwest's six-state network. We're already strategizing about our Seattle team hitting the road more in 2017 to deliver programs where you work and live: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and rural Washington.

Planning Ahead

What's next for Philanthropy Northwest's events and opportunities to engage? Even more offerings for networked learning for rural, family and corporate funders! We also plan to expand our programming around diversity, equity and inclusion practice, online access and curated knowledge banks just for members, and learning opportunities in your neck of the woods. 

If you missed the survey or didn’t get a chance to participate, please feel free to reach out to me directly. We find your feedback extremely helpful as we continue to strive to deliver program and learning strategies that provide value-add to our members and network.

Maya Thornell-Sandifor is Philanthropy Northwest's director of learning strategy. She can be reached at msandifor@philanthropynw.org.