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4 Key Results of Talent-Investing
Emma Spalti, graduate fellow, Fund the People

What happens when funders invest in nonprofit staff, and can it go beyond the individual to improve organizational performance and programmatic outcomes? Foundations that have taken the plunge into talent-investing – and measured the results along the way – can offer some insights. In this post, I share my findings from studying 16 of these evaluations from funders including the Bill and Melinda Gates, Annie E. Casey, Robert Wood Johnson, and Blue Shield of California foundations.

Over the last several months, as a graduate fellow with Fund the People, I have gathered and analyzed evaluations of talent-investments by foundations to look for common outcomes. The results of this research establish baseline data based on some of the existing information in the field. In addition to reviewing reports, I conducted interviews with foundation staff, evaluators, and industry leaders to better understand the results of these evaluations. Throughout this exploration, I observed the meaningful impact that talent-investing can have on strengthening individual leaders, nonprofit organizations, and fields of work and social movements across different methodologies, interventions, and locations. These findings ought to be shared widely, discussed, and tested further to improve philanthropic practices.  Read more>>

From the Field
Headlines from the FLA Evaluation
Investing in leadership delivers results. That’s the key takeaway from the five-year evaluation of the Haas, Jr. Fund’s Flexible Leadership Awards program.

In this "evaluation short", Haas, Jr. Fund staff, grantees, and the evaluator help connect the dots between leadership development activities, and the impact of the work.
Talent-Value Chain in the Nonprofit Sector

In recent years, many funders and nonprofits have turned to business for everything from branding to technology to strategy. Everything, that is, except staff development. 

The business world has entered a networked “knowledge economy” in which there is a “war for talent”, and the best and most successful companies develop a competitive advantage by investing intentionally and significantly in their employees. Meanwhile, many in the philanthropic community still fund nonprofits as if we operate in the industrial age — as if staff work on conveyor belts, and programs are machines that produce outcomes. This is a trend repeated from the “scientific charity” of the late 19th century; it didn’t work then, and it isn’t working now. Read more>>

From "Talent-Value Chain in the Nonprofit Sector" 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 Workshop
Fund the People: How and Why to Invest in the Staff of Grantee Organizations
Philanthropy New York - 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC 10036
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST

How can funders advance nonprofit equity, performance, impact, and sustainability? By investing in grantee staff and the systems that support them.

No matter the size, issue focus, or model of your foundation, this skill-building workshop will help you gauge why and how “talent-investing” can be crucial to the success of your grantmaking and the causes you support.

You will leave with research and practical guidance from Fund the People to help you use talent-investing to drive your mission forward. You will also benefit from the experience and lessons of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, a long-time supporter of grantee leadership.

Meet Us in San Francisco
We'e hosting several events in collaboration with the 2018 GEO National Conference in San Francisco. If you're attending the conference, please plan to join us at one (or all!) of the events. Whether you prefer an evening reception, mid-morning workshop, or breakfast conversation... we have an event for you! Download our events flyer.
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