Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

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Press Release

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Dan Brady
Communications Manager
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
(888) 391-3235

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and
Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

Nationwide Partnership Will Expand Access to Data on Philanthropy, Improve Foundation Effectiveness

New York, NY — October 6, 2014. Washington, DC-based Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and New York-based Foundation Center have announced a new partnership to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking through the strategic collection and sharing of data on philanthropy. The Forum is a national network of 34 geographically organized philanthropic associations that together have a membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations, making it the largest network in American philanthropy. Foundation Center is an independent nonprofit that is known as the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.
"The philanthropic sector talks increasingly about such things as field alignment, strategic collaboration, and leveraging core competencies," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "This partnership is a golden opportunity to put those principles into action."
The Forum's mission is to leverage the collective knowledge of its association members so that each can be the highest quality provider of philanthropic support services in their regions, while a Foundation Center priority is to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic. The partnership will tap the unique strengths of each organization in order to achieve shared goals.
"The Forum Network has both deep regional roots and a broad national reach, and our regional associations' members are key to strengthening connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector. However, at present, only a handful of our associations has access to up-to-date grantmaking data on their membership, and none have sophisticated online tools that allow the data to be queried and explored in real time," said Michael Litz, president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. "Opening these new resources to the Forum Network will be a game-changer for those striving to be more strategic and impactful in their philanthropy."
The partnership will entail establishing platforms and systems for collecting data contributed by Forum members and translating it into knowledge services that will benefit not only the Forum membership, but the broader philanthropic sector. Specific plans include the following:
  • Philanthropy Data: To support a vibrant and effective philanthropic sector, the partnership will launch a "donor data campaign" to encourage members of regional associations to centralize and standardize giving data at Foundation Center. This current data will be accessible to all members through an interactive mapping platform helping to inform funding decisions and track trends in each region.
  • Philanthropy Research: Templates for research reports will be created so that information about regional giving can be more easily and efficiently published and shared, providing regionally focused funders with critical information about funding patterns in their communities.
  • Philanthropy Tools: Data visualization, benchmarking, and knowledge management tools will provide regional associations with continuous access to comprehensive data on the work of their member foundations and empower users to draw actionable conclusions from the information.
In recent years, Foundation Center and individual Forum member associations have partnered on a wide variety of projects, including more than 40 research reports and fact sheets, and Forum members have participated in Foundation Center's Funding Information Network. This partnership is a natural evolution of those preceding collaborations, all of which have in common the goal of spreading knowledge to strengthen philanthropy and the good it can achieve. The national scope of the partnership, however, will introduce efficiencies and broaden its impact.
"Recent advances in information technology have put us in a position to collect and share knowledge far more efficiently than ever before," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at Foundation Center. "When this system for data gathering, sharing, and visualization is applied across an entire network of grantmakers, the opportunities for donors to collaborate and achieve their visions of a better world will multiply exponentially."
Share on Twitter: Strategic alliance btwn @givingforum and @fdncenter will improve quality and effectiveness of grantmaking.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call(212) 620-4230.
About the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers
Established in 1998, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national philanthropic leader and network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers with a combined membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum facilitates effective philanthropy by fueling connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector, delivering efficiencies and cost savings for our 34 member associations, and providing tools and resources to advance policy change. For more information, please visit or call (888) 391-3235.

Foundation Center • 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 • (212) 620-4230

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust - RISK eNews

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A SOURCE for Tools, Advice, and Training to control risks… so you can focus on your nonprofit’s mission.
October 8, 2014

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust

By Melanie Lockwood Herman
After a whirlwind month during which we hosted three, back-to-back risk conferences, life at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has returned to “normal.” What’s normal? Working with dedicated leaders from a diverse array of mission-directed nonprofits on projects ranging from the development of a cloud application for one client’s 2,800 stakeholder organizations, to performing risk assessments and designing in-person and online training.
During a planning session for one of the workshops we’re delivering later this month, our team began talking about how personality types and communication styles contribute to the success of a meeting. And since we generally don’t know the personalities and styles of the nonprofit staff members who will be attending one of our custom workshops, we need to be prepared for anything. On that topic, Director of Client Solutions Kay Nakamura shared two articles that poke fun at the personalities that too often derail thoughtful agendas and the important goal of engaging everyone around the table. If you’ve ever attended a brainstorming session, you’ve probably met a few of these troubling attendee types.
From the Black Enterprise article, “Top 5 Most Annoying—And Productivity-Stealing—Personalities in a Meeting,” meet Mr. Talk Alot and Ms. Micro-Issue:
·         Mr. Talk Alot: According to writer Janell Hazelwood, what delights this meeting attendee most is “the sound of their own voice.” She adds that Mr. Talk Alot is also the participant most likely to elaborate on points that need no further elaboration or engage in distracting side conversations.
·         Ms. Micro-Issue: This label is assigned to the attendee who cleverly derails the agenda and draws the conversation to a topic that is of great interest and relevance to her, but is arguably off-track and inapplicable to the rest of the group.
From the Fast Company article, “The Top Ten Meeting Personalities,” meet the Multitasker, the Disrupter and the Interrupter:
·         The Multitasker: According to Jackie Yeaney, Chief Marketing Officer of Premier Global Services, “All of us are guilty of multitasking during a meeting. Some of us are better at it than others.” Signs of a multitasker? According to Yeaney, “when asked a question, the Multitasker frequently responds with, “Sorry, I missed that. Could you repeat that?”
·         The Disrupter: Taking a risk by not knowing exactly how a meeting will wind up is half the fun for many people who attend lots and lots of meetings. But there is a downside to the risk as well. Yeaney writes that “Changing the topic or taking people down a side street, the Disrupter can sometimes uncover new thinking or creative ideas. But the Disrupter can also blow up an agenda and make other meeting participants irritable and cranky. You'll know the Disrupter as they often end a sentence with “… but I digress.”
·         The Interrupter: What meeting wouldn’t benefit from a few good ideas? Yes, but, there’s a time and place for every brilliant comment. Yeaney cautions, “When a good idea comes to mind, the Interrupter can't wait to present it to the group. And does … right at that moment! This personality is not inherently bad because hey, it is a GOOD idea. But have caution: combining the Interrupter with distant relatives the Disrupter and the Long-Winded can create meeting anarchy.”

Risk Rescue for Derailed Meetings

Consider the risk tips below to prevent meetings from going off the rails, or to get them back on track when a familiar personality type gets in the way of your plans for a productive and meaningful conversation.
1.    Keep it Timely – A great technique to keep a meeting on track is to adopt and follow a timed agenda. A timed agenda indicates the estimated time that will be devoted to each key discussion topic. It’s a great tool for the meeting minder (the chair or facilitator), particularly when that person (you know who you are!) has a hard time interrupting the attendee who seems determined to hear her voice from start to finish.
2.    Choose the Chair with Care – Sometimes senior leaders in a nonprofit aren’t the best meeting facilitators. That’s ok. If there are critical topics to discuss, consider choosing the best meeting facilitator, instead of the staff member at the highest pay grade. A great meeting leader knows how to gently move the discussion from topic to topic, how to engage the quiet attendees, and how to respectfully get the disrupters and interrupters to stand down.
3.    Keep a Plan B Close at Hand – Meetings go off the rails for any number of reasons, including sabotage by a participant to “stuff happens.” When you fear your agenda is too skimpy for the time allotted, make sure you have a compelling, meaty topic in mind as an add-on. Always ask the group’s permission before going down the new path. If your concern is that the time may be inadequate, make certain you’ve identified one or two topics that can be postponed until the next time the group meets. Again, ask permission to take those topics off the table out of respect for the published end time for the meeting.
4.    Be Flexible – A common mistake is to try to control the discussion and the outcomes. The truth is that the most rewarding workshops and meetings often bring things to light that had been hiding in the darkness for too long. Facilitators who lead scripted and rehearsed brainstorming sessions quickly lose credibility and respect. “Why are we here?” and “This was a waste of my time!” are sentiments you don’t want to hear in the hallway or read on the meeting evaluation form.
The futurists who predicted the demise of in-person meetings and conferences during the Internet age have thus far been proven wrong. Many associations are reporting record attendance at their annual conferences, and we heard over and over again at the Center’s recent risk events that conference and video calls are a poor substitute for face-to-face conversations about controversial and troubling risk topics. Yet even a thoughtful agenda is at risk of spiraling out of control when the usual suspects show up. By considering the risk of a meeting gone wrong before you conduct roll call, you’re in the best possible position to increase the odds that your next meeting, brainstorming session or workshop will be time well spent for all involved.
Melanie Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Melanie enjoys discussing risk issues against the backdrop of a nonprofit’s mission during custom workshops for Center clients. She welcomes your questions about risk management and the Center’s consulting services and cloud applications. She can be reached at (703) 777-3504 or

Risk Webinars

Fit-to Suit Risk Policies

My Risk Management Policies, Version 2.0 helps you create custom risk policies for your organization in a matter of minutes. Need well-written policies? This cloud app makes policy drafting easy. After completing the quick registration process, search by keywords, categories or peruse an alphabetized list of 150 templates. Each template offers many options to consider. Some of the templates force you to make practical choices. For example, you might prefer an informal style over formal language. Or perhaps you want to strictly prohibit something that other nonprofits allow! With My Risk Management Policies, Version 2.0, custom-fitting policy language to suit your nonprofit is easy and dare we say… fun!
Version 2.0, What’s New?
We’re excited to announce some terrific new features, plus a bold new design. Many of the new features were developed with client feedback in mind. You spoke and we listened!
·         Multiple users, one account — The new version has two levels of users: Account Holder and Added User. This means that two or more staff from one organization can collaborate on the drafting of policies. Want to get your outside counsel involved? No problem! The Account Holder for your nonprofit may grant system access to expert advisors through the “added user” feature.
·         Policy drafting tips — We’ve added policy drafting tips at the top of many templates. This is our chance to offer a few hints from our years of experience drafting and editing risk policies for nonprofits!
·         More policies than ever before — We have added nearly 50 new policy templates and updated many of the templates in the first version, and we’re not stopping there! As always, we welcome your suggestions for new policy types, new policy language, policy options and more. Send your requests to
To begin developing customized Risk Management Policies for your nonprofit, click here.
The one-time licensing fee for My Risk Management Policies is only $179 or just $29 if your nonprofit is an Affiliate Member of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Pass it On!

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© 2014 Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters banner

Wanted: Courageous Board Members
Stand For Your MissionFor too long, a myth has hung over the nonprofit community like a scary fog:  that nonprofit advocacy is somehow spooky. Nothing could be further from the truth, because advocating for missions is a core part of our sector’s proud legacy. If you eat in smoke-free restaurants, drive safely on divided highways, have a Social Security card, use your civil rights, or are a voting female, then you are benefiting from the past advocacy work of nonprofits – and board members. That’s why we are excited to let you know about a new campaign,Stand For Your Mission, launched to raise awareness - specifically among nonprofit board members - that being an advocate for the nonprofit’s mission is an important role for every board member to play.


The Stand for Your Mission campaign calls on all nonprofit board members to stand up as powerful champions for the missions they serve. The campaign is designed to unleash the full potential of nonprofit organizations to advance their missions in their local communities by engaging board members more directly as advocates on behalf of their organizations.

The goals of the Stand for Your Mission campaign are to:
  • Bring about a sustainable shift in the understanding and expectations around board engagement in advocacy;
  • Move advocacy from an ancillary to a key board leadership role; and
  • Strengthen the nonprofit sector’s ability to advance the public good.

Importantly, this new campaign is not being advanced by ghosts, ghouls, or goblins, but by trusted, mainstream organizations in the nonprofit and grantmaking communities that recognize the need to change the culture around nonprofit advocacy so it is embraced as an effective, everyday tool for advancing nonprofit missions. The National Council of Nonprofits collaborated withBoardSource, the Alliance for Justice (with its Bolder Advocacyinitiative), the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Campion Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to curate a set of core resources for board members, CEOs, and grantmakers. Please share the Stand for Your Mission discussion guide as a useful resource with your board.


Talking about That Which Shall Not Be Named [what it really costs to be a charitable nonprofit]
While we wish we could just wave a wand, magical thinking won’t stop those who rate and rank nonprofits by focusing on the cost of a nonprofit’s operations, rather than its impact in solving community challenges. So what can nonprofits do to shake off this aversion to costs? Remember Harry’s invisibility cloak? Throw it off! Be bold and brave enough to have candid conversations with donors about what it really costs to deliver programs and services.  

Bring financial sustainability closer in 3 easy steps
First, let’s toss out the shape-shifting term “overhead” that means something different to everybody and instead just call all these costs what they are, whether “fundraising,” or rent, or “general administrative.” Second, let’s ignore any apparent incentives to be fuzzy about the full expenses needed to deliver a nonprofit’s services or programs. Instead, by fully embracing our own costs, nonprofits will help manage expectations about what is really needed to solve problems in communities. Third, let’s find the courage to talk about the costs, especially with donors and grantmakers – and document them, demonstrating accountability and candor consistent with a culture of transparency. We think this is the right approach – and we’re inviting you to join us by:“owning your own costs.”

Join us for a Special Webinar to Raise Awareness
About Costs
At the National Council of Nonprofits, we and our State Association network are tackling misconceptions about costs one step at a time. Transparency about costs first requires knowing how much it actually costs to provide services and deliver programs. This means that someone at every nonprofit should be able to properly account for program related costs as well as those costs that cut across all the activities of the nonprofit. We know this can a challenge, so our network is hosting a special program designed to help your nonprofit #OwnYourOwnCosts.

Please join the National Council of Nonprofits and our State Association network for a free webinar about proper cost allocation, so we can all own our own costs and spread the message that all costs, whether for fundraising or administration, or anything else related to advancing our nonprofit’s mission are essential.

Guest speaker: Jeff Russell, founder and CEO of Jitasa
October 23 | 3:30 - 4:30 pm Eastern

Resources for Board Members
Good governance (National Council of Nonprofits)

Board members’ voices count!

More resources about scary stuff

Risk, risk, and more risk – and resources for managing it (National Council of Nonprofits)

Losing tax-exempt status(National Council of Nonprofits)

501h election: A simple way to protect your nonprofit from lobbying missteps (National Council of Nonprofits)

Worth Reading
Is your nonprofit scared of social mediaAespire explains the three myths of social media.

New! The Sustainability Mindset, by Jeanne Bell and Steve Zimmerman

This month’s poll:
Does your board monitor the impact of public policies on your nonprofit's mission delivery and resources?

Tell us in this quick, one-question poll and look for the results in next month's Nonprofit Knowledge Matters.

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© Copyright 2014 National Council of Nonprofits. All rights reserved 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mohawk Valley Nonprofit Leaders Group Steering Committee Meeting Oct 15th

Mohawk Valley Nonprofit Leaders Group

Planning Meeting

October 15, 2014


Steering Committee:

Attended by- Lorraine (Childcare Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County), Sonia (Mohawk Valley Latino Association), Cassandra (Center for Family Life and Recovery), Kevin (On Point for College), Cornelia (MAMI Interpreters), Frank (MVCC) and Andrew (NYCON)


Focus for this year and next:

  • Many things going on that impact nonprofits- Vision 20/20, coalitions, nanotechnology efforts
    • HUD ran a meeting and grouped organizations by category
      • Idea that came out from meeting was the need for networking opportunity- just to touch base and connect
    • Get folks together to connect and touch base and get updates
    • Mixer
      • Offer info
      • Have a couple different speakers
        • Vision 20/20- Dave Mathis and Randy Vanwagoner (co-chairs)
        • Utica City/HUD- Indicators Study
        • John Zogby- Imagine Utica
        • Community Foundation sessions- have someone comment on recent sessions
          • 2025 initiative
        • Empire Development/Regional Economic Council
    • Dec 3 or 4
      • Morning/breakfast is priority (8:30 am-10am)
        • 8:30 to 9 mixer; 9 to 9:45 speakers; 9:45-10:00 networking
        • Afternoon is second choice (4-5:30)
      • Frank- approach Mayor’s office and County Executive
      • Kevin- approach Barb with CF
      • Location
        • MVCC- priority
        • Utica Library- second choice
        • RCIL
          • Charge fee for refreshments
          • Bring brochures/info to share
  • Programming for 2015
    • Theme of economic impact
      • REDC- Regional Economic Council
      • John Zogby- Imagining Utica- quality of life
        • Speaking at Thincubator (part of MVCC)- having session on Dec 16th
    • Other ideas
      • New voices of Utica
        • Refugee organizations and populations
          • Develop more connections amongst nonprofits
        • Have someone from Refugee Center to present
          • Ecumenical group is a connection too
          • Challenge for nonprofits to reach different populations
            • Connecting to populations of Utica
            • Utica Chamber might be org to contact about this topic
    • Mixer for year end
      • Wrap up for year- open for other ideas