Family Philanthropy Playbook for Community Foundations

Unit 1: Getting Started

The success of your family philanthropy services depends on the support of other functions in your foundation—grantmaking and community knowledge, governance and executive team, data and technology management, communications, finance, and more. You also may need support from partners such as legal counsel, storytellers, and donor services software providers.

As you plan your new or improved suite of philanthropic services, consider how the rest of the foundation could help your team with these five key goals:

  1. Fulfill your Social Value Proposition (defined in Module 3)

  2. Reach your customers and partners (defined in Modules 2 and 8)

  3. Sustain high-quality relationships (defined in Module 5)

  4. Augment and integrate with your core team’s expertise and knowledge (defined in Module 6)

  5. Build long-term revenue streams for the foundation (defined in Module 9).

BORROW AND ADAPT: Planning Ahead

Here are some example planning tools to get you started:

  • Philanthropic Services Support Activities Template [members only] – NCFP developed this Excel spreadsheet to help you think through the skills, knowledge, and processes you’ll need from each functional area of your foundation as you plan, test, launch, and sustain your philanthropic services.
  • Akron Strategic Plan [members only] – Akron Community Foundation shared three years of its strategic plan spreadsheets which show the development and launch of its family philanthropy resource center
  • Project Plan [members only] – the Seattle Foundation shared its one-page template for project planning

DO (30-45 minutes): Difficulty-Importance Matrix

Which support activities are easy wins, must-haves, or luxuries? The interactive Difficulty-Importance Matrix exercise helps an interdisciplinary team sort through options and understand where to best focus limited time and resources. Some teams define “difficulty” as “cost to execute” which might take into account financial costs, political capital, or other drains on internal resources.

DO (3-4 hours): What’s Next for Community Philanthropy (Monitor Institute, 2014)

The Generating New Ideas and Prototyping Solutions tools provide easy ways to quickly develop, test, and evaluate new products and services. Some regional associations have materials you can borrow and offer trained facilitators. Free to download