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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Pathways to Grow Impact: Philanthropy's Role in the Journey

February 14, 2013

Since 2010, through the "Scaling What Works" initiative, GEO has fostered a conversation about scale that considers a variety of ways nonprofits are creating more value for communities and how funders are supporting their work. GEO's newest publication, "Pathways to Grow Impact", shares new learning about the role grantmakers should play. The publication is the result of a collaborative project with Ashoka, Social Impact Exchange, Taproot Foundation and TCC Group that sought to answer the question: How can grantmakers best support high-performing nonprofits in their efforts to grow their impact? "Pathways to Grow Impact" is for any grantmaker who wants his or her grant dollars to have a greater effect. The publication offers a framework for understanding different approaches to scaling impact, stories from nonprofit leaders who have successfully grown their organizations' impact, and practical recommendations for grantmakers seeking more effective ways to achieve better results.

Research manual: Analyzing Candid’s demographic data

December 1, 2023

To better understand the demographic identities of those working in the nonprofit sector and to reduce the reporting burden on nonprofits, Candid collects and shares demographic data about staff and board members from a growing number of U.S. nonprofits and foundations. This manual provides background and best practices for those looking to understand and use this data set for research and analysis.

The State of American Philanthropy

October 5, 2023

ABOUT THE STATE OFAMERICAN PHILANTHROPYThe State of American Philanthropy is a series of background papers on important topics and trends in U.S. philanthropy.The papers draw on past research andreporting by IP writers, as well as newinterviews, grantmaking data, and othersources.

Rural Philanthropy in the Southwest

October 1, 2022

Rural communities, while often small, have a large impact on the livelihood of all Americans. As resource centers for water, food, energy, and recreation, rural areas provide many of the resources for communities in urban, suburban, and rural settings to thrive. In fact, 97% of the United States is technically geographically defined as rural,  with much of the Southwest being considered rural, by measures of both geography and population density. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans live in rural communities,  representing 59.5 million individuals. Philanthropy Southwest, with funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administrative coordination from the United Philanthropy Forum, hired Dr. Colton Strawser with Colton Strawser Consulting and the Community Leadership, Engagement, and Research (CLEAR) Institute to do an exploratory study of rural philanthropy in the southwestern United States.  The purpose of this study was to capture the current practice of a small group of foundations, understand innovative approaches to rural grantmaking, and seek wisdom on how funders can shift their grantmaking to support rural communities through different approaches via grantmaking, community leadership initiatives, and community capacity building.

LGBTQ+ Nonprofit Organizations in the United States: Growth, Trends, Concerns, and the Outlook for Philanthropic Giving

September 1, 2022

To date, very little research has been conducted on LGBTQ+ nonprofits (Meyer, Dale, & Willis, 2021; Surfus, 2013) and how they function. For example, in a recent study of academic literature, Meyer et al. (2021) discovered only 40 academic articles published within the last 46 years on various LGBTQ+ issues and how they intersect withnonprofits. Just over 25% of these articles were published in the last five years. Furthermore, before 2000, most articles only focused on HIV/AIDS. Therefore, many unknowns exist regarding LGBTQ+ nonprofits and how they function as entities.As a certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE®) through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Initiative, IPM Advancement has a passion and history of working with LGBTQ+ nonprofits. With 2-5% of the general population of every state identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we felt there was a need to better understand how these organizations operate and identify issues that would be helpful to share with these organizations, LGBTQ+ donors, policymakers, and other stakeholders concerned with the quality of life for members of the LBGTQ community.The report is designed to better understand the number of nonprofit organizations that are working on LGBTQ+ and equality issues nationwide, and where those organizations have impact. The report offers unique insights into organization growth, trends, concerns and the outlook for LGBTQ+ nonprofits related to philanthropic giving. Of particular interest is how engagement with LGBTQ+ nonprofits has changed since the 2015 marriage equality ruling.

Centering equity and justice in climate philanthropy

June 9, 2022

According to available funding data, most institutional funders do not incorporate climate or climate justice strategies into their work despite its urgency and potential, largely relegating it to a few environmental funders. As a result of underestimating its importance and its connection to other philanthropic priorities, not enough funding is flowing to climate change efforts and even less of it for reducing harm to communities most impacted by the climate crisis.This field guide for funders identifies common barriers to supporting climate justice strategies, describes ways to overcome them, and shares insights and case studies from experienced funders who have helped their institutions use a climate justice lens for greater impact within their existing grantmaking priorities.

Philanthropic Self-Reflection Tool for Equitable Parent Partnership

May 18, 2022

The journey towards authentic partnership and equitable collaboration with parents is an ongoing process and requires regular reflection, inquiry, and conversation to maximize your positive impact and avoid causing harm to parent leaders and the community. We are all doing our best, but consistent self-evaluation allows your organization to have the greatest impact. The Philanthropic Self-Reflection Tool for Equitable Parent Partnership provides a framework for these reflections and helps to process what your team learns. This tool is for funders and funder collaboratives who are committed to honestly reflecting and identifying themselves along a continuum of engagement and partnership with parents, determining which areas need improvement, identifying best practices and strategies they can begin to implement to advance along the continuum, facilitating necessary and important discussions internally to ensure that there is institutional support to implement these strategies, being in conversation with parents and other funders to receive coaching, mentorship, and technical assistance to center and partner with parents in an equitable, authentic, and meaningful way

Key Facts on U.S. Nonprofits and Foundations, 2021

June 17, 2021

The Key Facts on U.S. Nonprofits and Foundations 2021 is an annual publication from Candid, combining the wisdom from Foundation Center's former Key Facts on U.S. Foundations report and GuideStar's former Nine Things You Might Not Know about U.S. Nonprofits. It offers at-a-glance information about the nonprofit sector. Where does nonprofit revenue come from? Is foundation giving growing? We answer these questions and more.

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence Discussion Guide

August 30, 2020

How much should we spend? This is an essential question for foundations, and one of the most complex, particularly in moments of change or turmoil. This Strategy Guide invites you to reflect more deeply on how your foundation chooses to balance four factors—purpose, conditions and trends, time horizons, and assets for mission—especially in times of greater crisis or opportunity. It leaves the final decision to you, without judgment for your payout amount, lifespan, or mission.

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence: Strategy Guide

August 1, 2020

Private foundations are reexamining questions of why, when, and how to respond to short-term and long-term crises. They are finding new flexibility and creative solutions as they examine the soul of their institutions and their role as stewards. This strategy guide examines options for how private foundations can approach financial stewardship, especially in troubled times.

CIVICAIM CASE STUDY - Preserving a Family Foundation Legacy, Embracing its Future

April 21, 2020

Anticipating its 25th anniversary, the Stanzel Family Foundation, Inc. wanted to honor its legacy and plan for its philanthropic future. In the words of long-time trustee and family member: "We needed to reflect on the past, present, and look at the legacy values we want to pass on. We also wanted to transition our approach from a 'giver of charity' to a true community partner."

A Foot in Both Worlds: Working with Regional Organizations to Advance Equity

April 13, 2020

Within philanthropy, conversations about equity are increasingly taking center stage.Striving for equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to thrive. This requires removing obstacles such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care (Braveman, Arkin, Orleans, Proctor, & Plough, 2017).For national foundations, working through and with regional organizations can advance equity in critical ways. Working with regional organizations can help national funders increase understanding of, relevance to, andconnection with local communities and stakeholders, ground high-level systems change in the reality of people's lives, and create common cause among a set of stakeholders across multiple localities, bringing scale andsustainability to community change initiatives. In the best-case scenario, foundation investments in regionalorganizations can catalyze powerful ripple effects, such as developing local leadership, spurring economic growth, and building a stronger nonprofit infrastructure.This paper seeks to inform national funders interested in more deeply understanding the opportunities to advance equity by working with and supporting regional organizations (as compared to local or national organizations). To do so, we reviewed the literature and conducted 20 interviews with national foundation executives who have workedwith regional organizations as part of their strategy, as well as representatives from organizations working regionally, such as community development finance institutions, regional and community foundations, and community colleges. Based on the insights shared with us, we examine how working with regional organizations can advance equity, how national foundations can work effectively with these organizations, and the potential pitfalls andchallenges of this work.

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