Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits

By Ellie Buteau, Hannah Martin, and Charis Loh, The Center for Effective Philanthropy

The biggest source of philanthropic support for nonprofits in the United States is giving from individual donors. Of the $428 billion in total charitable giving in 2018, individual donors contributed 68 percent. However, the recent decline in giving among small- and medium-gift givers means that major donors are becoming increasingly important to nonprofits. The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) surveyed its Grantee Voice panel of more than 600 nonprofit leaders across the country to learn what support nonprofits receive from major donors, what major donors can do to support nonprofits better, and how nonprofits’ relationships with major donors differ from their relationships with staffed foundations.

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Social Compact In A Changing World: How Philanthropies are Grappling with Growing Scrutiny and Critique

Throughout Europe and the U.S., many are pushing back on what they perceive as an inappropriate influence on public policy by private funders and questioning the power dynamic that enables wealthy private funders to impose their solutions to social and environmental problems without being required to involve the affected communities. Even the pundit world reveals this critique, with the subtitles of recent books speaking volumes: The Elite Charade of Changing the World of Anand Giridharadas’ Winners Take All, and Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better of Rob Reich’s Just Giving.

Globally, the rise of populism, discontent, and illiberal tendencies have led to accusations that philanthropy is being used as a tool to further a political agenda or consolidate power. Moreover, foundations that engage with socially and politically sensitive issues often find themselves targets of campaigns to delegitimize their work, philanthropic intent, and funding sources.

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A Person on Two Missions? Funders as Board Members of Grantee Organizations

By Alicia S. Oberman and Andrés Spokoiny.

Cross-posted with eJewish Philanthropy.

Many people in the Jewish community play two roles at once for the same organization: funder and board member.

What could possibly be problematic, or even noteworthy, about that? The funder and the organization both ostensibly share the desire to do the same kind of good in the world, and they’re joining forces. The dual role allows the funder to provide the organization not only money but also skills, time, effort, and wisdom, helping the organization to do the work.

But what happens when the funder’s interests and the organization’s interests don’t completely align?

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Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Funders are increasingly looking to engage the communities they serve in the grantmaking process, but there are few resources about how to do so. In this guide, GrantCraft explores how funders can engage in participatory grantmaking and cede decision-making power about funding decisions to the very communities they aim to serve. Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking illustrates why and how funders around the world are engaging in this practice that is shifting traditional power dynamics in philanthropy. Created with input from a number of participatory grantmakers, the guide shares challenges, lessons learned, and best practices for engaging in inclusive grantmaking. 

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Power Moves: Your Essential Philanthropy Assessment Guide for Equity and Justice

Power Moves: Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justice is a complete self-assessment toolkit to determine how well you are fully how well they are building, sharing and wielding power and identify ways to transform your programs and operations for lasting, equitable impact.

It includes ready-to-use guides, insightful anecdotes and comprehensive resources to help you on your power journey towards high-impact giving.

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Responding to the #MeToo movement, an update to Funders & Power

We're releasing an update to our 2016 document Funders and Power: Principles for Honorable Conduct in Philanthropy. The new language declares funders’ responsibilities to “ensure the personal safety, dignity, and equality of all people.” We made the revision following conversations sparked by the #MeToo movement.

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Relationships Matter: Program Officers, Grantees, and the Keys to Success

Relationships between funders and their grantees are crucial because the two must work well together if they are to achieve shared goals. But funder–grantee relationships can be fraught due to the inherent power imbalance between those who have resources and those who need them. How can funders effectively navigate this dynamic to build and maintain strong relationships with their grantees?

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Is Philanthropy Anti-Democratic?

Alana Semuels, The Atlantic.

A new book argues that the giving patterns of today’s wealthy may present challenges to the democratic process.

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El Silencio es Salud: Andrés Spokoiny's Address to the 2017 JFN Conference

Andrés Spokoiny, President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network, addressed the 2017 JFN conference on March 20, 2017.

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Is “The Twilight of the Elites” a Sunset for Jewish Philanthropists, Too?

Cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy

We live in an era that journalist Chris Hayes calls “The Twilight of the Elites.” As a culture we have discovered that our society – in all its sectors – is ruled by elites that are both corrupt and incompetent. Our congressional leaders, for example, have a lower approval rating than George III had during the American Revolution (a mere 8%).

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