Posts Tagged ‘Do More Than Give’

How one donor achieved impact beyond check-writing

“Philanthropy is neither a solitary effort by the donor nor even a dialectical effort between the donor and the grantee. Social change involves many different players from all sectors of society. It is through the engagement and alignment of these multiple players that catalytic donors achieve their impact.”

A best practice worth repeating

I recently taught a philanthropy class where we discussed the merits of this sentiment published in Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer’s book, Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World. While this book has been widely discussed since it was published in 2011, revisiting it with my class reminded me that the principles are as relevant today as they were four years ago. I have a renewed appreciation for some of the case stories that illustrate what it means to be a catalytic donor so I’d like to return to one of the authors’ great profiles about a donor by the name of Emily Jackson Tow.

Jackson Tow is an example of what the authors call an adaptive leader or someone who fully evaluates the issue and hand and determines how she can facilitate transformative change beyond funding. These adaptive donors “are not content to merely give a man a fish, or even teach him to fish; these entrepreneurs won’t stop until they’ve revolutionized the entire fishing industry,” says Ashoka founder Bill Drayton. In this particular case, Jackson Tow demonstrates the first of the six highlighted best practices in the book: advocate for change.

How Emily Jackson Tow advocated for change

The authors highlight the Tow Foundation’s advocacy efforts to demonstrate the power of a donor’s influence beyond financial impact. The Tow Foundation maintains a portfolio approach to giving, but its greatest impact comes from its nonfinancial contributions, such as sweat equity, knowledge of best practices, national and local networks, relationships and perseverance to reform the state’s juvenile justice system.

Emily Tow Jackson became aware of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of adolescents who were jailed for minor offenses, such as graffiti, in the same facility as serious offenders and confined to small, poorly ventilated cells for up to 21-hour stretches with two inmates and no toilet. Beyond the horrible conditions, the larger issue was Connecticut’s escalating youth imprisonment rates. Many of the juvenile offenders did not require high-security prison facilities; rather they needed counseling, safe and stable homes, and other basics.

Tow Jackson immediately set to work by enlisting three nonprofit organizations to establish the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance with a start-up grant of $25,000. Additionally, the foundation engaged in advocacy activities that included the following:

–        funding and participating in collaborations,

–        educating legislators with forums at the state capitol,

–        participating on local and state government committees,

–        raising public awareness through media,

–        and giving general operating support to nonprofits focused on this issue.

By 2009, referrals to juvenile court dropped by more than one third and the number of youth convictions dropped by almost two thirds. At the time the Do More Than Give was published, Connecticut was recognized nationally as an innovative leader in handling juvenile cases, rather than as a leading incarcerator of minors.

Nuances of advocacy

The authors explain an important piece about this best practice: Some funders avoid lobbying because of a fear or misunderstanding of how much lobbying is allowed, so the authors define advocacy and related terms as:

–       Advocacy refers to activism around an issue such as climate change, free trade or youth justice. Examples of activities range from educating and mobilizing voters to pitching media stories and raising awareness to directly influencing public officials.

–       Policy advocacy (a.k.a. lobbying) refers to specific efforts to change public policy or obtain government funding for a social program.

–       Lobbying versus advocacy: Most of the confusion lies with advocacy. Lobbying is prohibited by foundations in the U.S. and advocacy is an all-encompassing term for a whole range of activities.

Private foundations, which include most family foundations, cannot fund or engage in direct lobbying, but they can make general operating grants to nonprofits that lobby. Large private foundations have a long political history because they generally have a larger staff of trained professionals who have a deep understanding of the issues and social sector.

Conversely, public foundations, such as community foundations are allowed both to engage in lobbying themselves and to fund nonprofits that lobby. Because community foundations find themselves at the center of many different stakeholders, most shy away from lobbying. However, the authors explore a case study about The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and how it successfully positioned its lobbying activities so its constituents would embrace them.

–       Corporate foundation lobbying: Good corporate foundations reconcile lobbying activities that benefit their company with those that lend strength to the social causes they support for a win-win. Corporations can leverage vast brand recognition and marketing channels to broadcast policy messages and they can mobilize entire industries. In contrast, some companies still support legislation that directly contradicts their socially responsible images. For example, Toyota, maker of the eco-friendly Prius, lobbied with other carmakers against tougher fuel economy standards.

Working together for maximum impact

To create systemic change, nonprofits today need catalytic donors in their court to leverage the full participation of every sector in society. According to the authors, the number of billionaires has tripled since 2000 and nearly half of the 75,000 private foundations established in the U.S. were created in the last decade. We’re also seeing growth in private enterprise where new corporate entities are created to blend profit with social purpose, as well as in government’s willingness to partner in nonconventional ways.

Within the context of these societal trends, there is no question that donors are positioned like never before to help orchestrate an integrated approach to problems and embrace catalytic philanthropy. Visit the Do More Than Give website for more stories about donors who create catalytic change in their communities.

See also:

Fail Better: Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner

Mission-Based Management: Leading Your Not-for-Profit in the 21st Century, 3rd Ed.

The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project or Business Venture

Image credits: ask.com, towfoundation.org, stlucianewsonline.com, parksandrecreation.com

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In session: Advocacy for the nonprofit leader

This article is the first of a series on advocacy.

As many state legislatures are about to convene or already have for 2012, it’s a good reminder for those of us who work in the social sector to roll up our advocacy sleeves and engage in the process. My friends at The Bell Policy Center tell me working at this level upstream can save an inordinate amount of time and resources downstream at the direct service level.

For example, The Center worked with a broad coalition of 40 nonprofits to enact a payday lending law in 2010 and preserve it in 2011. These nonprofits provided critical support by enlisting the testimony of their clients who use payday loans. Thanks to the successful collective efforts of this coalition and The Center, they estimate that payday borrowers will save more than $52 million annually in loan charges, which will have a lasting effect on the low-income people served by this coalition and will reduce the demand for services.

Nonprofit organizations are responsible for substantial economic and social impact. Of the 2 million+ organizations in the world, 1.5 million are in the U.S. alone. It’s imperative we observe best practices when participating in advocacy and demonstrate exemplary leadership in this arena.

The following is an excerpt from the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado, published by the Colorado Nonprofit Association, which focuses on advocacy, public policy and civic engagement — a useful reference for your own statewide advocacy endeavors.

Principles

Advocacy is the active support of an idea or a cause. A nonprofit should advocate on behalf of its constituency, organization and the nonprofit sector as a whole in order to advance the mission of the organization. Involvement in advocacy, public policy and civic engagement will vary in sophistication dependent upon an organization’s mission and strategic direction. Nonprofits should encourage broad community participation in these efforts and, in the process, provide appropriate assistance when needed. These practices pertain only to nonpartisan public policy issues.

When a nonprofit advocates for or against specific pending legislation or ballot issues, federal and state lobbying rules apply. Lobbying activities are permitted but a nonprofit must not violate the prohibition on endorsing a candidate or elected official and must stay within regulatory limits on activities that meet the definition of lobbying. By knowing and observing these rules, nonprofits may legally include lobbying activities directed at specific legislation or ballot issues in their advocacy efforts.

Practices for advocacy and engagement

1.       Proactive approach – A nonprofit should proactively develop specific strategies to address key issues facing the organization, its constituency, and the charitable sector and should include its stakeholders in those efforts.

2.       Stakeholders as advocates – A nonprofit should encourage board members, staff, volunteers, and constituents to act as advocates and ambassadors for the organization and the entire charitable nonprofit sector.

3.       Inform stakeholders – A nonprofit should ensure that individuals who act as advocates and ambassadors for their organizations are knowledgeable about the programs and activities of the organization and prepared to speak on its behalf when appropriate.

4.       Communications – A nonprofit should ensure that information provided about or emanating from their organizations is timely and accurate and that the social and political context of the information is clear. Information provided by the organization to the general public, the media, and policy makers becomes a matter of public record and these activities may be subject to lobbying limitations and political campaign prohibitions.

5.       Public policy and advocacy plans – If engaged in public policy and/or advocacy activities, a nonprofit should adopt a written policy that clarifies the scope of the work, as well as the time and resources to be allocated to those activities, including clear guidelines that explain and adhere to the limits on lobbying activity and prohibit political campaign activity.

6.       Relationship building – A nonprofit should build relationships with elected officials, community leaders, and other nonprofits in order to strengthen its ability to affect community change and impact public policy. However, these relationships should be carefully scrutinized to ensure there is no express or implied endorsement of a candidate for public office or attempt to influence legislation outside the permissible limit.

7.       Education – A nonprofit should provide board, staff, stakeholders, and the public with nonpartisan resources and training on issues important to it or its constituencies.

8.       Public forums – A nonprofit organization whose constituencies are affected by government actions should conduct public forums for nonpartisan discussions or provide venues for constituents to express concern about the effects of various policy choices.

9.       Nonpartisan activities – A nonprofit engaged in promoting public participation in federal, state and local policy must ensure that the activities of the organization are educational in nature or within permissible lobbying limitations (IRC 501(c)(3) and 501(h); 990).

10.   Promote civic engagement – A nonprofit should encourage citizen participation in local, state and federal policy-making efforts amongst its stakeholders.

In one of the Page to Practice™ book summaries I’ve recommended below, Do More Than Give: Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World, the authors argue that today’s growing complex issues require a new donor asset they call adaptive leadership. What’s more, the author’s research revealed these new adaptive donors embrace their recipients as equals, so they can advance real systemwide change. Catalytic donors have the opportunity to exemplify adaptive leadership because they have something to give beyond financial support. Political clout, community contacts and business savvy are among them. It’s up to you to diversify how your donors participate with your organization.

As you reflect on these 10 practices above, notice how many involve the engagement of the catalytic donor. Whom among your immediate nonprofit community could be tapped for their influence or connections related to advocacy? It’s time to take a page out of Do More Than Give and create partnerships with donors who can help you influence and accelerate your goals. Public policy might be a great place to start.

See also:

One-Hour Activist

Social Change Any Time Everywhere

Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

Special thanks to the Colorado Nonprofit Association for its permission to excerpt Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado.

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Social good by the slice

You love pizza. Why not be purposeful about it? A new company called Naked Pizza agrees. Naked Pizza’s mission is to demonstrate, by example, that fast food can be part of the solution in the global epidemic of obesity and chronic illness by, 1) proving that an unhealthy and popular fast food can be made healthier and tasty, and, 2) making a business case for investment, profit and scale. Naked Pizza’s corporate social responsibility strategy is textbook, or in this case, business book—Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World to be exact. Naked Pizza now shares company with GE and other large companies that are opening up new business markets by blending social good with the bottom line.

According to Do More authors, Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer, one of the six best practices of highly effective donors is to blend profit with purpose. Businesses have a lot to offer as vehicles for social progress, and donors can engage business tools in three ways:

1) They can tap corporate know-how to create direct social impact: They can utilize the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees, as well as company systems and processes; intellectual property such as patents and trade secrets; and other assets. For example, GE used their industry know-how to upgrade thirty-seven clinics and hospitals and retrained local staffs in poor communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, all without charge. GE continues to open a new clinic every month as part of its $90 million annual budget for philanthropy.

2) They can create shared values through profit-making initiatives that serve social objectives: In the GE example, senior executives saw a tremendous range of opportunities for their business. The company invested $6 billion to develop new, inexpensive products and treatments that meet the health needs of low-income populations around the world with a goal of reaching 100 million new patients every year. GE partners with Grameen Bank, the microfinance institution, to build a sustainable rural health model, reducing maternal and infancy mortality rates by 20 percent.

3) They can use their investment capital to further their social impact: The authors report that catalytic donors are using their vote and their cash to further social issues through “impact investments.” The authors explain a strategy called “shareholder advocacy,” where a foundation can purchase shares of stock in a company in which they wish to have policy influence. For example, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, whose interest in the environment prompted them to purchase stock in Smithfield Foods so they could file a shareholder resolution requesting complete disclosures of environmental impacts. They filed annually, eventually gaining 29 percent of the shareholders’ votes, and the company began to negotiate with the foundation. The foundation brought in their grantees for expertise, which led to the company’s commitment to track and report environmental indicators relating to its farms.

Even more immediate social impact can be accomplished by foundations offering low- or no-interest loans to grantees, which has been done for decades. These loans qualify as program related investments, which means foundations can count these loans as part of their payout requirements. This strategy allows foundations to “recycle” their funds because they can be used multiple times to achieve social impact.

Another example of impact investing is when foundations or donors are willing to be the lead investors in a socially responsible business solution to attract other venture capitalists. Kiva is a great example—in 2010 users lent more than $100 million in microloans. The Packard Foundation similarly was the first investor to the table in their case, taking the risk and lower return in order to fund a sustainability project, which eventually attracted substantial venture capital from traditional sources.

For more examples about blending profit with purpose, visit Joe Waters’ blog www.selfishgiving.com.

For more information about Do More Than Give, visit www.DoMoreThanGiveBook.com or our Page to Practice book summary library.

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“Letting Go” and “Do More Than Give” share views

An interesting article was brought to my attention this morning by a tweet from one of our CausePlanet contributors, Michaela Hayes. Published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and written by Kristi Kimball and Malka Kopell, “Letting Go” highlights a handful of ways that foundations are getting in the way of their grantees’ work. Micromanaging is just one of the ways that foundations undermine the work of their recipients, say Kimball and Kopell, who work within the foundation world.

In fact, the first problem was described as “foundation-designed solutions.” Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer discuss this problem in Do More Than Give. The Do More authors describe number four of their six best practices as “empower the people,” which explains that when foundations or donors sit shoulder to shoulder with recipients and even the communities’ served at the same table, creating social change becomes more collaborative and results-oriented rather than the give, spend and report cycle, we typically see between grantor and grantee. Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer say that catalytic donors view individuals as “essential participants” in the process of solving problems for themselves. Listening to stakeholders is a powerful engine for change because of the ideas that emerge and the solutions that result from brainstorming.

Another problem Kimball and Kopell expose from their view inside the foundation world is that funders typically make grants with “tunnel vision.” They choose one organization to make the change they are looking for in the entire system. “Instead of letting 1,000 flowers bloom, they think they can afford just one variant. But focusing narrowly on one solution is a fragile strategy, particularly in complex, unpredictable environments,” say Kimball and Kopell. Do More authors would agree by sharing best practice number three, which is “forging nonprofit peer networks.” Instead of focusing on a few grantees, donors are in a unique position to look at an issue in its entirety and call for convenings among all nonprofits who focus on the same issue to benefit from information sharing and collective impact.

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Blending profit with purpose

Do More Than Give is an important read for many reasons. Here are two: 1) This book takes a rare and intelligent look at what the donor can do beyond selecting a good cause and 2) Each of the donor recommendations fuels your imagination to explore how you can cultivate the catalytic behavior in your followers, friends and philanthropists.

Also worthwhile in this book are the case studies of individuals, corporations and foundations—large, small, private and community—who have played a unique role in advancing a larger issue with nonprofits at the table. For those who haven’t read its predecessor, Forces for Good, you can read a summary of best practices in the book’s appendix, which essentially means two books in one. Overall, the book contains a great deal of innovative thought and approaches to working collectively with donors.

This week, I’m highlighting Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer’s best practice #2: blending profit with purpose, thanks to a recent blog post I read today at SelfishGiving.com.

The post is called “Cause Marketing versus Sponsorship – What’s the difference?” and is coincidentally written by one of our featured authors, Jocelyne Daw, who wrote Cause Marketing for Nonprofits.

According to the authors, businesses have a lot to offer as vehicles for social progress, and donors can engage business tools in three ways:

1)   They can tap corporate know-how to create direct social impact: They can utilize the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees, as well as company systems and processes; intellectual property such as patents and trade secrets; and other assets. For example, GE used their industry know-how to upgrade thirty-seven clinics and hospitals and retrained local staffs in poor communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, all without charge. GE continues to open a new clinic every month as part of its $90 million annual budget for philanthropy.

2)   They can create shared values through profit-making initiatives that serve social objectives: In the GE example, senior executives saw a tremendous range of opportunities for their business. The company with a goal of reaching 100 million new patients every year. GE partners with Grameen Bank, the microfinance institution, to build a sustainable rural health model, reducing maternal and infancy mortality rates by 20 percent.

3)   They can use their investment capital to further their social impact: The authors report that catalytic donors are using their vote and their cash to further social issues through “impact investments.” The authors explain a strategy called “shareholder advocacy,” where a foundation can purchase shares of stock in a company in which they wish to have policy influence. For example, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, whose interest in the environment prompted them to purchase stock in Smithfield Foods so they could file a shareholder resolution requesting complete disclosures of environmental impacts. They filed annually, eventually gaining 29 percent of the shareholders’ votes, and the company began to negotiate with the foundation. The foundation brought in their grantees for expertise, which led to the company’s commitment to track and report environmental indicators relating to its farms.

4)   Even more immediate social impact can be accomplished by foundations offering low- or no-interest loans to grantees, which has been done for decades. These loans qualify as program related investments, which means foundations can count these loans as part of their payout requirements. This strategy allows foundations to “recycle” their funds because they can be used multiple times to achieve social impact. Another example of impact investing is when foundations or donors are willing to be the lead investors in a socially responsible business solution to attract other venture capitalists. Kiva is a great example—in 2010 users lent more than $100 million in microloans. The Packard Foundation similarly was the first investor to the table in their case, taking the risk and lower return in order to fund a sustainability project, which eventually attracted substantial venture capital from traditional sources.

Watch for more Do More Than Give highlights during the month of April. You can also visit DoMoreThanGiveBook.com. For more information on this book and other features, visit our Page to Practice library or follow us at Twitter and Facebook.

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Donors who do more

Working through one sector alone is no longer enough to address the multifaceted social and environmental problems we face today. Because donors can do more than give, they have a critical opportunity to move on from passive donor to problem solver.

To create systemic change, nonprofits today need catalytic donors in their court to leverage the full participation of every sector in society. According to Do More Than Give authors Crutchfield, Kania and Kramer, the number of billionaires has tripled since 2000 and nearly half of the 75,000 private foundations established in the U.S. were created in the last decade.

We’re also seeing growth in private enterprise where new corporate entities are created to blend profit with social purpose, as well as in government’s willingness to partner in nonconventional ways. Within the context of these societal trends, there is no question that donors are positioned like never before to help orchestrate an integrated approach to problems and embrace catalytic philanthropy.

These authors have distilled the six practices of donors who change the world for readers. Nonprofit leaders will no doubt discover ways in which they can nurture best behavior in their donors with this book. As we always do in our Page to Practice™ book summaries, we interview the author and Leslie Crutchfield provided some terrific insight. Here’s one of our questions and her answer:

CausePlanet: Within the six best practices of donors who change the world, which did you find to be the least common among your donor profiles and why?

Crutchfield: This is an excellent question and one I haven’t been asked before. When speaking about Do More than Give or my previous book with Heather McLeod Grant, Forces for Good, I’m often asked which is the most important practice to focus on if you’re not doing all of them. But which one is least common? I think we’re starting to see a shift on a many of these. Practice #1: Advocate for Change is an interesting theme, because so many foundation boards shy away from funding advocacy. In my view, this is mostly because there is simply too much confusion about what is legal versus what is not–I always tell boards and trustees that each of the nonprofits in my first book, Forces for Good, were able to do all the lobbying they needed and still fall well within the legal limits–to see a shift toward advocacy. But it seems today more donors are warming up to the new idea. Practice #2: Blend Profit With Purpose is where we address activities such as mission investing. But a very small percentage of foundations actually put into practice that approach, despite the excellent report on the subject by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor: “Philanthropy’s Passing Gear.”

Watch for more Do More Than Give highlights during the month of April. You can also visit DoMoreThanGiveBook.com. For more information on this book and other features, visit our Page to Practice library or follow us at Twitter and Facebook.

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Empower the people

Last week we had a terrific article, “Language Matters,” presented by Marco Montenegro, Senior Associate of La Piana Consulting, who discussed the notion of language usage and how it’s become imperative to check your definitions at the door when working with vastly different constituents in the community. Be they funders, recipients, stakeholders or bystanders, individuals and organizations must respect perspective when collaborating with one another.

Montenegro says, “As the gap between rich and poor widens and the ability to connect in an ever shrinking world increases, today’s nonprofit leaders need to be the conscience for our varied definitions for the social issues we are working to improve. How would someone raised in the U.S. define educated and unemployed or government corruption in contrast to a recently arrived Egyptian immigrant? How would a woman from the U.S. define women’s rights in contrast to a woman from Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia?

I couldn’t help but think about Montenegro’s article in light of our upcoming Page to Practice feature, Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World by Leslie Crutchfield, John Kania, and Mark Kramer. In Do More, “Practice 4: Empower the People” refers to the fact that systemwide change cannot be attributed to a single organization or donor. In reality, it is the “collective action” of many individuals and entities that create transformative change.

Donors who want to catalyze change must acknowledge that our collective communities don’t view philanthropy in the same way. For example, the authors explain that what a white American might call philanthropy, a black American might call self-help. A Latina might say the most important service she provides is filling out her Census form so her people can be counted. The reason this discussion is so important is that donors who want to make the biggest change in their communities or globally must empower and mobilize people at the individual level. The people most affected by a problem aren’t always closely affiliated with the organizations that support their issue.

According to the authors, specifically engaging and empowering individuals helps funders and collaborators to:

Generate new and better solutions to pressing problems.

Build collective will to solve problems on a wider scale.

Bridge divides of class, race and place.

Watch for more Do More Than Give highlights during the month of April. You can also visit DoMoreThanGiveBook.com. For more information on this book and other features, visit our Page to Practice library or follow us at Twitter and Facebook.

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