Weekly Reader – January 25, 2016

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, January 25

A New Year’s Resolution: Be a Disrupter for a Day (Allen Smart and Nora Ferrell, Philanthropy411) At the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, we’ve started being disruptive. This isn’t about talking loudly during quiet time; this is about upending the status quo, facing the contradictions in community head on and thinking about our responsibilities well beyond the cutting of a check.

Tuesday, January 26

Great Mission. Bad Statement. (Erica Mills, Stanford Social Innovation Review) The rampant, widespread use of boring, convoluted language is costing the social sector a lot of money. Here’s why: Nonprofits are spending more to get people involved in their cause simply because no one can understand what they’re saying. The language they use to convey who they are, what they stand for, and what they do confuses donors, volunteers, staff, and board. And when people are confused, they don’t fully engage.

Wednesday, January 27

Reflections on Developing a Theory of Philanthropy (Michelle Gagnon, Ph.D., The Foundation Review) The most recent issue of The Foundation Review (Volume 7, Issue 4) includes a special section of four articles on theory of philanthropy. A theory of philanthropy is a way for a foundation to create and share a comprehensive and integrated picture of how and why it operates as it does. One of the two case studies included in this section is about the work we did at the foundation I lead, the Palix Foundation.

Thursday, January 28

Grantmaker Awareness: Essential for Building Sector-Wide Capacity (Eliza Smith, Fluxx blog) Philanthropy leaders are at their most strategic and are empowered to build capacity when they have a strong awareness of themselves, their partners, and the field.

Friday, January 29

Why Funding Overhead Is Not the Real Issue: The Case to Cover Full Costs (Claire Knowlton, Nonprofit Quarterly) Now more than ever, as the call to achieve high standards of outcomes-based measurement grows, we must hold ourselves to an equally high standard of understanding nonprofits’ full costs.

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Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's effective practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.

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