NNCG Knowledge Center

Inform Your Practice. Increase Your Impact.

Welcome to NNCG's Knowledge Center -- a searchable, online database of resources for and about grantmaking, produced by highly qualified and experienced philanthropy consultants. NNCG's Knowledge Center contains a wealth of reports, case studies, infographics, issue briefs, videos and more that offer ideas, research and helpful information about almost every aspect of philanthropy. Each item was authored or published by an NNCG member. NNCG constructed the Knowledge Center in partnership with Candid -- one of the most respected and trusted sources of information in the philanthropic field.
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Increasing Speed in Philanthropy

November 2, 2018

In philanthropy, we seem to be perpetually rushing from one thing to the next, both as individuals and as an entire industry. There's always a new technology to learn, more grant applications to evaluate, and another nonprofit coalition forming. Yet while everyone is moving quickly and feeling busy, the real change we seek comes along at the pace of snails. We're spending so much time working harder that we're not thinking about how we can work smarter. To start focusing on impact instead of deadlines, we need to change both the mindset and the work patterns that hold us back. And to do that we need to slow down — to question, brainstorm, and plan — so that we can move fast when it comes adapting to the dynamic changes of philanthropy.Why is this important? Because every delay prevents our ability to have an impact — and impact in philanthropyis about people's lives. When we're talking about ensuring access to high-quality preschools, preventing drug overdoses, or reforming immigration policies, we are talking about changing people's lives. And if we believe that what we do matters, then we should seek to make dramatic improvements as quickly as we can. 

Get Out of Your Bubble and Into Your Community

November 2, 2017

Effective grantmaking rarely happens if grantmakers spend all their time behind a desk. For funders (and grantees) to become more knowledgeable and effective, they should seize opportunities to break out of their comfort zones. This white paper explores the reasons why breaking out of a funder "bubble" is so important and how funders can engage more deeply with their community.In this paper, you'll explore:7 reasons to break out of the bubbleEffective ways to scan the fieldChallenges to getting out into the worldBubble-breaking missteps and how to avoid them

5 Best Practices of Extraordinary Grantmakers

November 2, 2017

In order to elevate outcomes and grow impact, there are certain practices grantmakers should embrace to do their job well. In this guide, you will discover:5 best practices of extraordinary grantmakersHow to develop and implement innovative ideas13 "learning questions" you should regularly ask yourself and your partnersThe types and benefits of funder collaborationExamples of how to streamline your operations

Eight Questions to Improve Your Philanthropic Giving This Year

March 10, 2017

Every new year, many philanthropic leaders begin with new goals and strong hopes for the coming year. By the end of January, those goals and hopes have become a blur for many. Some entered the New Year running and are starting to feel overwhelmed. Taking a little time for planning can help achieve dramatic results- use eight important questions to be ready the next time January rolls around.

Are You a New Philanthropy CEO? Don't Make These Five Mistakes

March 10, 2017

If you are a new foundation CEO who is not only new to your role, but new to philanthropy, here are 5 mistakes you should avoid.

Poverty or Abundance? Which mentality guides your organization?

March 10, 2017

I've spoken with thousands of foundation leaders over the past 15 years, and I've found that one thing that holds many back from achieving the dramatic success and deep impact that they seek. They have a poverty mentality.

Don't Do This: 10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them

March 10, 2017

A new foundation board may be made up of veteran philanthropists, but I'll wager that, more often than not, many of those entrusted are taking on the job for the first time. It's a big responsibility, and many of the early choices made by a new board can determine whether the new foundation will move forward smoothly and effectively or become mired in a culture or in policies that stifle effectiveness. With that in mind, here are 10 mistakes that new foundation boards often make, and how to avoid them.

Similar and Different – Five Key Shifts from Hospital Foundation Board to Private Foundation Board

March 10, 2017

Explore what stays the same for transitioning board members and what can (and should) be different.

10 Essential Roles of Foundation Board Members

March 10, 2017

As a board member, how can you make sure you bring your best to the table and bring out the best in your foundation?

10 Essential Roles of Good Foundation Boards

March 10, 2017

When you think of what makes a foundation most effective, you may think of the CEO, program staff or maybe the founder. But the key to a truly effective (and indeed, fully functional) foundation is its board. Good boards understand their roles and responsibilities. They know their limits, but they also embrace leadership. As a result, everyone who works within a foundation with a strong board is better positioned and supported to achieve that foundation's mission.

Creating a Culture of Respect in Philanthropy

March 10, 2017

There is a lot of talk in philanthropy about organizational culture in foundations. There can also be a culture of disrespect when it comes to the way foundations deal with grantees, consultant partners, and even themselves.This is the exception not the norm. Still, it's troubling. Here are three examples.

How to (Not) Strike Fear in Grantees: Developing and Bringing Your New Strategic Plan Online Without Alienating Your Community

March 10, 2017

Few words strike fear in the hearts of foundation grantees like the following, when dropped by a program officer's lips: We're about to start a strategic planning process. It's understandable that funded nonprofits might get nervous, but there are some things that funders can do to help soothe nerves and alleviate uncertainty.

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