Ask the Center Posts

What tips do you have for making the most out of attending a conference for philanthropy?

Posted by Christine Reeves on April 29, 2014

With the 2014 National Forum on Family Philanthropy right around the corner (May 7-9 in Cambridge, MA), there are lots of conversations, ideas, and relationship-building on the horizon.  In the spirit of good conference-ing, my friends at the National Center for Family Philanthropy asked me to author a...

How do you choose grants management software?

Posted by Laura Quinn on March 24, 2014

Grantmaking programs are complicated to manage. Even the relatively small programs can involve tracking dozens of applications, reviewers, requirements, and payments. But grants management software applications can help by saving grantmakers time, making their processes more effective and transparent, and even transforming the way they do business. Grantmakers’ choices are growing each year…So how can foundations choose the right grants management system from this growing selection?

How can my family foundation use data visualization to better tell our story?

Posted by Ann K. Emery on February 15, 2014

Memos and metrics, emails and texts, newsletters and reports: Is your organization suffering from information overload? We consume 34 gigabytes, or 100,500 words, of information every day. Our brains are overwhelmed and struggling to keep up. Data visualization–or dataviz–is one of the strongest...

How to create and make the most out of our foundation's mission statement?

Posted by Kevin Laskowski on January 21, 2014

We have received inquiries from many family foundations who are trying to craft a mission statement for the first time or are re-imagining their current mission.  This Ask the Center is excerpted from a 2007 piece written by Kevin Laskowksi “Where We Go From Here: Crafting a Family Mission Statement”....

How can we conduct an effective board meeting by telephone?

Posted by Jan Masaoka on December 15, 2013

Editor’s Note: This article addresses a strategy which an increasing number of geographically dispersed family foundations have been forced to rely upon in recent years – conducting the occasional board meeting by telephone. It is reprinted with permission from Blue Avocado, a practical and readable...

What is the biggest threat to nonprofit missions that no one is talking about?

Posted on November 15, 2013

This question is quite timely, given increasing community needs. The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s nationwide research found that in 2012, for the first time in the history of that organization’s surveys, a majority of nonprofits reported that they could not meet the increased demands for their services....

Who should we follow as we get started on twitter?

Posted by National Center for Family Philanthropy on August 15, 2013

We’ve heard a lot about the potential value of Twitter for keeping connected with nonprofits and fellow grantmakers in our community. Do you have suggestions for specific Twitter feeds that our foundation staff and board member may choose to follow as we get started? New to the world of Twitter?...

Are family foundation board internships an effective tool for training the next generation?

Posted by National Center for Family Philanthropy on July 15, 2013

Are board internships an effective tool for training the next generation? What are some examples of other family foundations that have used them, and what have their experiences been? The National Center for Family Philanthropy and Youth Philanthropy Connect, a program of the Frieda C....

Disaster Philanthropy: What is the role of family giving in preparedness, response and recovery?

Posted by Lori Bertman and Regine A. Webster on June 15, 2013

We’re pleased to present a very special edition of Ask the Center, featuring answers to questions on disaster philanthropy from two of the presenters from our June 13th webinar on the topic of “Disaster Philanthropy: The Role of Family Giving in Preparedness, Response and Recovery.” Lori J....

What is a disqualified person?

Posted by Benjamin T. White on May 15, 2013

Self-dealing is defined to include almost all business and financial transactions between a private foundation and its “disqualified persons.” So what is exactly is a disqualified person? The following is excerpted from the National Center for Family Philanthropy’s Passages Issue Brief, “Avoiding...

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