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.

Foundations Need Capacity, Too: Initial Findings from the Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool

December 31, 2016

For many years, the social sector has paid substantial attention to the issue of nonprofit effectiveness. By contrast, comparatively little attention has been paid to the capacities that foundations themselves need to achieve impact. What capacities are essential to advancing a foundation's own mission? How do these elements compare to the capacities their grantee partners need?TCC Group believes that foundation capacity – like nonprofit capacity more broadly – is essential to impact. In developing the FCCAT and sharing aggregate findings in this report, the core purpose is to elevate attention to this important issue.

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.

Capacity Building 3.0: How to Strengthen the Social Ecosystem

November 18, 2014

Reflecting on TCC Group's 35-year history of designing, managing, and evaluating capacity building in a variety of formats, it is clear to us and to those with whom we work that the field is ready for an evolution in the ways we talk about capacity building. A foundation has already been laid for this new conversation by the diverse and thoughtful practice of many in the sector. We hope that by identifying the issues and providing a framework for discussion, we can enable the field to further advance capacity-building strategy and practice, thereby enhancing the work of a wider range of dedicated and conscientious actors looking to have a positive impact on society.This paper is organized in the following way: The first section, "A Basic Distinction," covers fundamental concepts, terms, and definitions of capacity and capacity building critical to our discussion. The second section, entitled "An Evolution in the Who," examines who needs to build capacity and how that understanding has evolved over time. The third section, entitled "An Evolution in the What," assesses how capacity in capacity-building has evolved, arriving at a new "organizational actualization" framework. The fourth section, "An Evolution in the How," highlights the emergence of new methods for accomplishing capacity building and details the new innovations and techniques that are being used by those doing effective capacity building.

Foundation Strategies to Inform Federal Policy in the United States

March 1, 2013

Commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, TCC Group's research examined what motivates foundations to engage in advocacy, the methods they apply, and the results they achieve. Although the study focuses on federal policy, many of the factors and strategies relate directly to foundation policy reform activities at all levels of government.

Learning to Fish: How The Challenge Fund for Journalism Helped a Set of Nonprofit Media Organizations Strengthen Their Capacity to Generate Revenues

June 7, 2012

Evaluates the CFJ initiative to support nonprofit journalism organizations, including its achievements, sustainability, successful strategies, and how the program design and selection process shaped results. Includes lessons learned and two case studies.

What Is Good Governance?

December 7, 2011

Discusses the board's role in fundraising from a legal and ethical standpoint, especially when soliciting "tainted money" in a difficult economic environment. The author describes the legal, ethical, and practical responsibilities of the board in shaping good policy, and its role in accountability and due diligence. Includes real-life examples illustrating his points.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation OE Goldmine Research Project: Executive Summary

October 1, 2011

In response to growing demand for learning information from the nonprofit capacity?building field, the Packard Foundation launched the OE Goldmine Research Project to collect, organize, and analyze data from its OE Program in April 2010. Initial work on the project was conducted by the Data Center, who administered a survey to former OE grantees and organized the vast amounts of data related to the program. The Foundation subsequently engaged TCC Group, a national consulting firm that provides evaluation and planning services to nonprofits and foundations, as partners in the learning process.

Final Report to Oregon Arts Commission on 2011 CCAT Study

September 12, 2011

In 2008 TCC Group was retained by the Oregon Arts Commission (OAC) to help determine the need and desire for capacity-building assistance among its grantee organizations across the state, and to conduct an assessment of those grantees' organizational capacity using TCC's Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT). One hundred and ten grantees were invited to take the CCAT, and 70 organizations ultimately did so. Beginning in June 2009, TCC Group worked with OAC to design and implement the Sustaining Oregon's Arts capacity-building initiative, which provided workshops, webinars, an annual convening, and a peer exchange that organizations could voluntarily participate in free of charge. The Initiative's kickoff convening for arts nonprofits across Oregon took place on October 1, 2009. The keynote speaker at that convening, Holly Sidford, President of Helicon Collaborative, spoke about the dramatic changes taking place in nonprofit organizations' operating environments: Increasingly, nonprofit cultural institutions represent only one "cultural" or "creative" option among many, and – for increasing numbers of people – not the most compelling one … the explosion of cultural options beyond the nonprofit model, and people's growing appetite to participate in, rather than passively "consume" the arts, are the two most important strategic issues facing nonprofit cultural organizations today. And they represent our greatest sources of possibility. Members of the nonprofit arts sector ignore these trends at their peril. The offerings of the Sustaining Oregon's Arts Initiative over the course of 2009 – 2011 helped nonprofit arts organizations to strengthen organizational capacity and adapt to the "paradigm shift," as Sidford referred to it, facing the sector. As the Initiative came to its conclusion in June 2011, OAC asked TCC to administer the CCAT to identify if any changes in organizational capacity among its grantees had taken place during the course of the initiative. This report presents the findings of the 2011 administration of the CCAT, comparing the results to those of 2008. The report also presents the findings of an analysis of organizational budget data gathered from the CCAT as well as from funding requests submitted to OAC in May 2011.

Fortifying LA's Nonprofit Organizations: Capacity-Building Needs and Services in Los Angeles County

November 2, 2010

Examines organizational capacity of Los Angeles nonprofits; capacity-building services provided to and needed by; and funders' roles in shaping nonprofit performance. Lists recommendations.

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