In June of this year UpMetrics developed and distributed a collaboration-themed survey to over 1,000 foundations and nonprofits. Our intention was to understand if nonprofits and foundations had the same understanding of key areas of collaboration like key performance indicators, the capacity levels of nonprofits to deliver on reporting, and expectations around what a successful collaborative initiative looks like. As we as a sector look to effective collaboration more and more as a powerful tool that will support our ability to tackle challenges in our communities today, it is imperative that all stakeholders are approaching the partnership with the same expectations and goals in order to see the expected positive change.
In February I had the pleasure of chatting with my friend and colleague Jessica Mindnich on a webinar that focused on the importance of shifting the funder-grantee relationship toward one that encourages continuous knowledge sharing between parties. This is a topic close to my heart as well as Jessica’s, who is the Senior Director of Evaluation, Learning and Impact Stories at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The truth is that trust-based relationships that prioritize collaboration and transparency are the only way we will be able to move the needle on some of the social issues that philanthropy, and the greater public, are looking to take on.
As we head into Thanksgiving we’re receiving constant reminders from virtually every channel that we’re nearing the end of the year. Whether it be Black Friday discounts, cold weather or holiday plans, you can’t ignore the fact that we’re creeping towards the end of the year that was 2020. For the social sector, that also means a heightened period of fundraising, both around #GivingTuesday and general year-end appeals.
October means playoff baseball. It’s the month of the most gloriously unexpected. Moments of heroes that rise to the occasion when the pressure is on, like Gibson’s walk-off against the A’s in 1988. And we’ve seen legendary performances from teams you thought had the odds stacked against them, like the 1906 White Sox “Hitless Wonders” who secured the title. As we watch four talented teams battle in their respective series, you may be eagerly asking yourself what will be the story we remember this year?
It’s rarely easy to raise money, and the global pandemic isn’t helping. The nonprofit sector has always relied on relationships to fundraise. Events and in-person meetings are a thing of the past. What do you do when traditional fundraising channels are no longer possible? Fortunately, many nonprofit organizations have not taken advantage of their board members' full reach, due largely to lack of clear data about the organization's impact.
“The inequity in this district as compared to the other districts surrounding us has always been so tangible and clear,” explains Jenna Wachtel Pronovost, Executive Director of the Ravenswood Education Foundation. “Then COVID happened and the schools closed. The inequities have intensified in this environment, and we knew we would have to act quickly to support our students and the greater community.”
“We began in 2012 with three loans—it was sort of our experimental year,” explains WEALF (Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund) founder, Vicki Weiner. “The next year, we really got going, and things started to come together.”
What kinds of metrics can you track to ensure that you are helping foster the change you hope to see in the world?
Here's how foundations can help nonprofit leadership be even more effective.
Having data isn’t an end in itself—numbers don’t do anything for you unless you know how to use them to your advantage.