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November Must-Reads

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This month, we were reminded of how hard it is to make changes within an organization, and we also got advice on a specific type of change: making boards more diverse. We heard concrete tips on how to gather feedback from those we seek to serve. And we were reminded of good foundation practices from funding capacity building to assessing performance.

What caught your attention this month?


1. How to Fund Capacity Building Well

CAPACITY BUILDING | India Development Review | 5-minute read

Funding isn’t always enough; nonprofits also need the right kind of capacity-building support at the right times. This blog post shares insights on when it’s most crucial to fund capacity building for grassroots organizations, how to understand the areas in which nonprofits most need support, how to measure the impact of capacity-building funding, and how capacity building is a lot like running a restaurant.

Did you see our new GrantCraft case studies on capacity building?

2. Tools and Lessons to Make Listening to Clients Feasible

LEARNING & EVALUATION | Stanford Social Innovation Review | 19-minute audio slideshow

Gathering feedback from clients and those you seek to serve can lead to invaluable insight. This audio slideshow shares a five-step process (developed by the Listen for Good initiative of Fund for Shared Insight) to truly listen to clients, collect data, interpret it, and respond to it.

3. Why Are We Still Struggling with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Governance?

EQUITY | Nonprofit Quarterly | 18-minute read

Many nonprofits recognize that nonprofit board diversity matters, so why has it remained stagnant overall? The writer shares insights from a panel discussion at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action conference, providing several actionable frameworks and highlighting the panelists’ thoughts on:

  • how to reach beyond your social circles to identify board candidates of color
  • how to create mechanisms to hold yourself accountable
  • how to avoid tokenism and redistribute power

4. Streamlining Is Change, and Change Isn’t Easy

CHANGE MANAGEMENT | Peak Grantmaking | 5-minute read

“Change efforts meet confusion and resistance, even when the change is sensible and desired,” writes Dr. Streamline, also known as Jessica Bearman, for Peak Grantmaking. Bearman walks through the Change Curve, a framework that shows the predictable reactions people have to change over time, and several factors that may speed up or slow down the process. Though Bearman talks about making changes to grantmaking practices, the change management process she describes shows up in all types of organizations and situations.

5. Understanding & Sharing What Works: The State of Foundation Practice

LEARNING & EVALUATION | Center for Effective Philanthropy | 24-minute read

It can be hard to assess how well a foundation is performing. This new Center for Effective Philanthropy report shares how well private and community foundation leaders think they understand what’s working in their program work, how they use knowledge to make decisions, and what knowledge they share with others. The report includes discussion questions for foundation staff and boards of directors and is accompanied by a separate set of profiles of learning practices at Weingart Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Impetus-PEF.

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