Each month, we gather five new resources that can help us work smarter, think more deeply and more effectively contribute to the change we seek. This month’s reads cover what went wrong in a global effort to reduce open-fire cooking, a conversation about the role of data and foundations in fighting racism, how organizations can create a strong culture, trends in charitable giving, and how collaborations can navigate challenges in sharing data.
STRATEGY | ProPublica | 18-minute read
After eight years and $75 million, efforts by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves have seen only modest progress. The stoves distributed haven’t effectively reduced users’ risk of deadly illnesses, if they’re used at all, and the environmental impact of cooking fires has proven to be less harmful than initially thought. So what went wrong? And what can we learn from this effort? This article raises valuable questions we can ask ourselves as we seek to strengthen our own change efforts.
2. Conversation about Data and Racism
EQUITY | Chronicle of Philanthropy & Twitter Feed
(4-minute read) To guide their actions on diversity, equity and inclusion, foundations need to understand the demographics of the organizations and communities they’re granting to (or not), say Michelle Greanias and Melissa Sines of PEAK Grantmaking.
(1-minute read) Yes, and while data is important, foundations must also question their power and how they might exacerbate inequalities in asking for this information, says Jennifer Lentfer of Thousand Currents.
CULTURE | Stanford Social Innovation Review | 7-minute read
The social sector isn’t immune to toxic individuals and cultures. To counter that, we should not only hold ourselves accountable for what we accomplish, but also for how we accomplish it, argues Alexa Cortes Culwell of Open Impact. Leaders should ask four questions: 1) Are your organization’s values and cultural norms explicitly stated? 2) Does your organization have policies in place to ensure that everyone, especially top leadership, is held accountable? 3) Does your organization have policies in place to support diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels? And 4) Does your revenue model take into account fair and equitable employee compensation? For more on creating a strong culture, including 10 steps to guide your culture efforts, take a look at our article, “Cocreating a Change-Making Culture.”
SECTOR TRENDS | Chronicle of Philanthropy | 2-minute read
Although charitable giving was at its highest in 2017, several trends suggest the future of philanthropy might be shaky. The percentage of Americans who donate is declining among every age group, income level and education level, leaving nonprofits to increasingly rely on wealthy individuals. At the same time, groups are getting creative in how they raise money.
COLLABORATION | The BUILD Health Challenge | 51-minute read
We know how important data is in collective efforts to improve community health, but we may not agree on how to use it. This report examines the five most common data challenges from the BUILD Health Challenge cohort: 1) HIPAA concerns, 2) logistics of sharing data across different data systems, 3) language differences between partners, 4) lack of experience with data, and 5) finding methods or metrics to evaluate interventions. It includes examples of how others tackled these challenges, takeaways, tools and best practices.
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