Weekly Reader – May 9, 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 9

5 Issues Foundations Must Confront to Stay Relevant (Phil Buchanan, Chronicle of Philanthropy) It’s hardly the case that foundations have become obsolete. They will remain crucial players and influencers in the nonprofit world. That said, they should not be complacent, and they must focus on changing to accommodate new realities. Here are five issues that should be front and center for America’s grant makers.

Tuesday, May 10

Models and Components of a Great Nonprofit Dashboard (Hilda H. Polanco and Sarah Walker, Nonprofit Quarterly) As an organization’s goals, strategy, and operating context shift over time, a dashboard allows a nonprofit to monitor both the effectiveness of this enterprise or business model, as evidenced by the organization’s financial health, and the impact of the programs and services being provided.

Wednesday, May 11

The Missing Piece of Modern Philanthropy: Part I (Laurie Michaels & Maya Winkelstein, PhilanthroFiles) Many philanthropists these days consider themselves at the cutting edge of innovation and problem-solving. Perhaps at a programmatic level we are, since through philanthropy we have eradicated age-old diseases, supported mass social movements, and turned around entire cities. Yet despite our modern successes, philanthropists do not have a habit of expecting the unexpected.

Thursday, May 12

5 Ways We Can Do Philanthropy Better (Manoj Bhargava, Huffington Post) One of the biggest fallacies of philanthropy is the expectation that money will solve everything and that more money equals greater results. Trillions of dollars are spent globally on social and environmental issues, and very few problems have been solved. Why is that? We’ve been focused on the wrong things.

Friday, May 13

4 Performance Measurement Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make (Liana Downey, Philantopic) Performance management can be a tricky beast — hugely important, but difficult to get right. Here are four common mistakes my team and I see made by social, government, and nonprofit organizations trying to measure their impact, and tips on how to avoid them.

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Nikki Powell

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