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9 Strategic (and Inexpensive!) Ways Funders Can Support Grantee Staff
Marianne Philbin, executive director, Pierce Family Foundation

Nonprofits tend to sink or swim based not on mission and funding alone, but on the talents of employees. Keeping good employees and equipping them for the work is one of the critical challenges frequently cited by nonprofit leaders, yet funders tend to invest much less in the “people" aspects of nonprofit organizations than they do in other areas. Businesses spend four times as much per person on leadership development as nonprofits, and according to Foundation Center grant data from 1992-2011, less than one percent of foundation grant dollars are invested in developing the nonprofit workforce.

There are many reasons for this, from fear of getting into personnel issues, to foundation guidelines that focus on funding programs rather than operations. However, as Fund the People emphasizes, nonprofit people are nonprofit programs, and even modest investments in staff development can have significant impact. Read more>>

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Want to share Marianne Philbin's tips for supporting grantee staff? Download this infographic.
Talent-Investing Across All Grant Types

Talent-investments can be integrated into all types of grants. Your foundation, or your grantmaking portfolio, has likely defined your grants according to certain functional types of grant support. Commonly used categories are program grants (project or restricted grants); general support (core support, general-operating, or unrestricted); and capacity-building grants (organizational effectiveness grants). While there are other types (planning, capital, etc.), this supplemental guide will focus on these grant types.

The grantmaking practice we refer to as “talent-investing” is the intentional deployment of resources to support and develop professionals and leaders in the nonprofit sector workforce. This practice traditionally falls under the umbrella of capacity-building grants. This is far from adequate. Nonprofit programs, general operations, and capacity, all rely on nonprofit professionals and volunteers. And while nonprofit people are the bedrock of organizational capacity, they do not belong to their organizations like laptops, databases, accounting software, or intellectual property. People ebb and flow across organizations, bringing their skills and perspectives with them. So, it is counter-productive to relegate support for talent to a bullet point in a long list of capacity-building activities. Read more>>

From "Talent-Investing Across All Grant Types" in Fund the People Toolkit.
We want to learn from you! Does your foundation intentionally deploy resources to build the support systems that enable grantees to develop their staffs? Let Yolanda Caldera-Durant know!
Upcoming Webinar
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST
Fund the People is presenting a webinar to help United Philanthropy Forum's PSO funder members better understand how to bake talent-investing - the intentional deployment of resources to support and develop nonprofit professionals - into their strategy and grantmaking.
  • What does it look like, concretely, to invest in nonprofit talent?
  • What types of interventions are available?
  • What works?
Also, hear from Neesha Modi about how The Kresge Foundation is investing in their grantees' staff development, and Isabelle Moses of Community Wealth Partners and Sarida Scott of Community Development Advocates of Detroit about how talent-investing looks in practice.

NOTE: Open to members of these affinity groups, regional associations, and other funder networks.
ICYMI... (In Case You Missed It)
ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation
19th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness

Nearly 150 nonprofit professionals, board members, philanthropists, funders, community volunteers, and business leaders, representing almost 90 organizations, attended the 19th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness on March 2nd, in Tucson, Arizona. This year's theme was "Leading in an Age of Disruption" and featured an opening keynote presentation by Rusty Stahl, president and CEO of Fund the People.
Stahl's presentation - The Most Important People in our Economy, Democracy, and Community - challenged attendees to share their assumptions about and attitudes toward the nonprofit workforce. He then delved into and provided data to counter some of the most prevalent assumptions, including data specific to the nonprofit workforce in Arizona. Stahl rounded out his presentation by discussing the systemic need for investments in the nonprofit workforce, the benefits of such investments, and how to put talent-investing into practice.

The presentation concluded with Stahl asking the attendees to identify and commit to one thing they would do to bake talent-investing into their work.

Want to bring Fund the People to your foundation, association, conference, etc.?  Drop us a line or give us a call (845.288.0176) to share your interest.
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