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, October 22
How to Create Better Nonprofit Executive Teams (Libbie Landles-Cobb, Henry Barmeier, and Kirk Kramer, SSIR) Only 19 percent of nonprofit executive team members strongly agree that their teams focus on the right work. To improve the performance of these vital groups, leaders should ask five critical questions.
Tuesday, October 23
The New Strategy in Strategic Planning: Talk to Those Affected by the Work (Derrick Rhayn, Nonprofit Quarterly) Funders shift their priorities and distribution processes for a variety of reasons. Some decide their own strategies will heretofore trump that of the grantees, others become addicted to philanthropic fads and fashions. Still others, like the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), shift to be more adaptive and to fit the needs of their grantees.
Wednesday, October 24
Family Foundations Benefit from Diverse Boards (Kristina “Yna” C. Moore, NCRP Blog) For many family foundations, bringing in non-family members into the board may seem unnecessary. But for Nathan Cummings Foundation, it has proven to be to be essential ingredient in the foundation’s effectiveness and continuing impact on issues and communities it cares about.
Thursday, October 25
Getting the Best Possible Failures in Philanthropy (Jen Ford Reedy, SSIR) We in the foundation world talk a lot about embracing failure, but it’s not something to take lightly. What constitutes “good” failures in philanthropy, and how can we have more of them?
Friday, October 26
The People We Seek to Help (Melinda Tuan, CEP Blog) What words should we use to describe the clients served by nonprofits? Participants in nonprofit programs? Recipients of nonprofit services? End beneficiaries of philanthropy? Partners? Constituents? Citizens? The list of possible answers — ones that take into account power dynamics, cultural sensitivities, and other considerations — goes on and on.