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May Must-Reads 2018

Each month, we’ll be gathering five new resources that can help us work smarter, think more deeply, and create the change we want to see in this complex world. This month’s reads cover equitable grantmaking, impact evaluations, capacity building in a time of disruption, an argument against fairness, and framing issues to make progress. 1. …

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Each month, we’ll be gathering five new resources that can help us work smarter, think more deeply, and create the change we want to see in this complex world. This month’s reads cover equitable grantmaking, impact evaluations, capacity building in a time of disruption, an argument against fairness, and framing issues to make progress.


1. Power Moves

EQUITY | National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

This toolkit is a very thorough, actionable resource to guide foundations in examining how well they build, share and wield power. To truly strive for and advance equity and justice, the toolkit states, you have to understand your own power and privilege. The toolkit includes best practices, sample questions to gather data and solicit feedback, discussion guides, and next steps and tools for implementing changes.

2. Bracing for a Downturn: Nonprofits, Charitable Deduction Worries, and How Foundations Can Help

STRATEGY | The Center for Effective Philanthropy

This survey shows how nonprofit and foundation leaders view the implications of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In short, most of them are concerned that charitable giving might go down. The survey also highlights suggestions for how foundations can help nonprofits such as supporting their efforts to raise money and be financially sustainable, helping them and their donors understand the effects of this legislation, and promoting the importance of nonprofits.

3. The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption

CAPACITY BUILDING | Open Impact 

How is the current economic and political environment impacting the capacity building needs of social change leaders, nonprofits, networks and movements? How are funders responding to these changing needs, and how can they better support this work going forward? This new report shares findings on what nonprofits need most right now and recommendations for how nonprofits and foundations can meet those needs.

4. Ten Reasons Not to Measure Impact—and What to Do Instead

LEARNING & EVALUATION | University of Washington and Northwestern University

Subscription Required – Impact evaluations—while important—are only a good investment in the right circumstances, argue the authors in this Stanford Social Innovation Review article. When circumstances aren’t right, organizations must build an internal culture in which the right data are regularly collected, analyzed and applied. For more on how to build this type of culture, take a look at our blog post on creating a culture of learning through evaluation.

5. Picture This: How We Frame Issues Matters for Social Change

STRATEGY | The Communications Network and FrameWorks Institute 

The way we frame issues profoundly influences our understanding of them and how we approach solutions. This Stanford Social Innovation Review series shares how framing issues of gun violence, sexual violence, immigration, climate change, aging, addiction and housing have helped spark meaningful dialogues and drive change. As we’ve found in our own research, communications must be viewed as a critical piece of strategy in order to make large-scale change.

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