Weekly Reader – May 16, 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, May 16

What the Nonprofit Sector Needs to Reach Its Full Potential (Dan Pallotta, Harvard Business Review) The sector has many of the pieces that it needs to form a brain, but they operate at a distance from one another, with little or no neural connection. And just as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so too are the parts woefully less than a division of the whole.

Tuesday, May 17

Seeding the Way for Transformative Change: An Open Invitation from The Rockefeller Foundation (Dr. Judith Rodin, Huffington Post) For us, the very business of philanthropy depends on turning good ideas into innovations and interventions that transform people’s lives. With Insight Dialogues, we hope to not only catalyze conversations that cut across generations, geographies, points of view and experiences, but also help identify where we must deepen, elevate or refine our focus.

Wednesday, May 18

12 Common Criticisms of Philanthropy—and Some Answers (Karl Zinsmeister, Stanford Social Innovation Review) Critics have argued that charitable giving isn’t focused enough on the poor, isn’t sufficient to make a difference, is undemocratic, and more, but research—and history— show otherwise.

Thursday, May 19

Investing in Infrastructure (Henry Berman, PhilanthroFiles) Call it overhead. Or administrative expenses. Look for it as a line item in a proposal or perhaps as a request for general operating expenses. That really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that funders—whether foundations, trusts, individuals, or giving circles—understand what it takes to run a nonprofit. We can buy all the books we want for a literacy program, but, if the school can’t afford to heat the building, it isn’t hard to recognize that no learning will take place during the winter.

Friday, May 20

ICYMI – Doing More with More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice (Michael Allison, Susan Misra, and Elissa Perry, Nonprofit Quarterly) Essentially, the organizations found that they could do more with less (funds) by doing more with more (leadership).


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Nikki Powell

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