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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Effective Strategies to Support Advocacy Campaigns: Considerations for Funders and Advocates

October 27, 2016

This report shares collected insights from funders and advocates across the country, in the hope that their observations will helpfully contribute to other funding and campaign efforts. The respondents noted that while considerable attention has been paid to factors informing the development of sound campaign strategy, comparatively less attention has been paid to the structural and operational issues that undergird successful campaign efforts. Our research accordingly focuses on these matters.

Stepping into the Fight: A Funder's Guide for Understanding and Supporting Legal Advocacy

August 3, 2016

As part of the Atlas Learning Project, an effort of The Atlantic Philanthropies, this paper examines the role of legal advocacy as a tool in the social sector for advancing issues of justice and equality. The primary audience for this paper is funders who are interested in enhancing their advocacy or other program work by supporting legal advocacy.  The paper will serve partly as orientation to legal advocacy from a funder's perspective and partly as a guide to effective approaches and practices for supporting legal advocacy.The Atlas Learning Project is a three-year effort supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies to synthesize and strategically communicate lessons from the advocacy and policy change efforts that Atlantic and other funders have supported in the U.S.  The effort was led by the Center for Evaluation Innovation, which commissioned various researchers to probe into questions about advocacy work and how funders support these efforts. 

Stepping into the Fight: A Guide for Nonprofits to Understand and Engage in Legal Advocacy

August 1, 2016

Through the Atlas Learning Project, an effort of The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Center for Evaluation Innovation commissioned various researchers to probe into questions about advocacy work and how funders support these efforts. The Atlantic Philanthropies have been long-time supporters of legal advocacy and wanted to draw out lessons related to the way legal advocacy works and how funders can best support these efforts.This paper examines the role of legal advocacy as a tool in the social sector for advancing issues of justice and equality in the United States. The primary audience for this paper is advocacy organizations – mainly those which are not yet involved in legal advocacy but which are open to considering using legal strategies or want to better understand how to work with legal advocates. Advocacy organizations that already use legal advocacy as a strategy may find some of the framing and insights helpful as well. This paper is one in a series that includes others addressing how funders can support legal advocacy and how to evaluate legal advocacy as well as a more technical paper focused on the status of the U.S. court system for addressing issues of social justice.

Strengthening Organizations to Mobilize Californians: Lessons Learned from a Major Initiative to Build the Capacity of Civic Engagement Nonprofits

July 1, 2011

From 2008 to 2010, twenty-seven community organizing nonprofits in California took part in an unusual and ambitious statewide initiative, Strengthening Organizations to Mobilize Californians (the "Initiative"). Funded by three leading foundations -- The James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and David and Lucile Packard Foundation -- the Initiative sought to help nonprofits strengthen their organizations by focusing on such key areas as leadership, decision-making, communication and fundraising.The premise was that stronger organizations could better meet the needs of communities and give their residents more of a voice in civic life. Thus, through the Initiative each foundation sought to support its broader purpose, from improving educational opportunities and access to health care to increasing civic engagement and reforming California's governance system to better reflect the state's diversity.The Initiative specifically explored how different approaches to working with organizations supported change. How did peer exchanges compare with trainings that relied more on expert input? Would convenings enable the kind of networking that organizations need to develop and build momentum for their ideas? How much additional benefit would nonprofits derive from additional coaching time? Findings from the Initiative hold implications for other philanthropic staff members who seek to design, implement and improve capacity building.The insights and lessons presented in this report were distilled through an assessment process that included:A review of data gathered through Event Feedback Forms completed by participants at each activity and event over the course of the InitiativeA post-Initiative survey administered online to all participating organizations, with a response rate of 39 individuals representing 24 out of 27 organizations (89%)Two focus groups attended by 10 executive directors and senior staff from participating organizationsReflective conversations with the foundation partners

What Do We Mean By Scale?

February 15, 2011

This briefing paper examines what has been learned about grantmaker practices that support grantees addressing social issues. Scaling is discussed in particular, which may be defined as the expansion, replication and adaptation of programs to new areas or populations, or the deepening of programs within an already-served area. Topic one of the "Scaling What Works" learning initiative of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. 

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