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

Fostering Innovation in Philanthropy

August 7, 2017

Innovation is a buzzword with growing resonance in the philanthropic community. But how are foundations going about adopting innovative practices? In this guide, you'll learn the definition of "innovation"; 8 approaches to philanthropic innovation; key practices of innovative funders; recommendations to become innovative and support innovation; and more.

Responsive vs. Strategic Grantmaking: Exploring the Options

August 7, 2017

In philanthropy, there is much written about responsive and strategic approaches to philanthropy. Which approach is the most appropriate? Meaningful? Effective? While there is always room for both approaches, it's important for foundations to understand each one to determine when one approach may be preferable to another.In this guide, you'll discover:The definition of responsive vs. strategic grantmakingThe pros and cons of responsive vs. strategic grantmaking10 tips for getting started in strategic grantmaking5 mistakes to avoid when focusing on your grantmakingA board's role in determining direction and strategy

The Role of Philanthropy in Systems Change

August 7, 2017

In order to change outcomes, grantmakers have to become engaged in systems change. This paper offers a scan of the work of systems change with the philanthropic field, and provides an overview of the approaches many grantmakers are using. 

Delusional Altruism: Avoiding Self-Deception and Disrespect

May 11, 2017

Our new white paper explains the damage that Delusional Altruism can do to your philanthropic effectiveness. Including real-world examples from funders just like you. Most importantly, it provides a roadmap for escape.Here's a sample of what you'll learn:What is delusional altruism?How to streamline & simplify your grant processHow to identify and emphasize the right prioritiesHow to spend more time with the communities you serve, and less on burdensome paperworkWhy investment in a funder's capacity pay such huge dividends in philanthropic resultsHow to overcoming delusion: ten things you can do right now

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.

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