After the last turkey sandwich and cranberries were eaten, the last piece of pumpkin pie devoured with your choice of ice cream or bourbon whipped cream, many Americans set out to shop the best deals on holiday gifts. We had Black Friday, with people lined up outside stores that open in the wee hours of the morning, all hoping to get the newest tech gadgets, games and toys. Following the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend kicked off with Black Friday, there’s Cyber Monday, a day devoted to frenzied shopping online for great deals (haven’t done that, either).
Now, tomorrow there’s #GivingTuesday, when over 4000 nonprofits, corporations and individuals will kick off the giving season, encouraging and celebrating charitable giving. Last year’s inaugural event set impressive results to surpass this year:
In 2012, we had more than 2,500 recognized #GivingTuesday™ partners from all 50 states of the United States. The collective efforts of partners, donors and advocates helped fuel a marked increase in charitable giving on GivingTuesday. Blackbaud processed over $10 million in online donations on 11/27/12. DonorPerfect recorded a 46% increase in online donations and the average gift increased 25%. More than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about GivingTuesday – resulting in milestone trending on Twitter.
To be an official partner of #GivingTuesday, organizations must be a registered U.S. nonprofit with a specific #GivingTuesday initiative, or a for-profit business, school, religious or community group leading a project that will benefit at least one such nonprofit. #GivingTuesday also encourages generosity by individuals and families, by donating to or volunteering at favorite charities.
This year, some in the philanthropic sector are encouraging foundations to get involved in #GivingTuesday activities, including Phil Buchanan at the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He suggests that foundations select particularly effective grantees to receive #GivingTuesday Impact Grants.
Whether you finished your holiday shopping in the last few days or chose other ways to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, tomorrow’s recognition of philanthropy is an opportunity to increase our support of nonprofits and the ultimate beneficiaries they serve.
Philanthropy Ohio and more than 100 communities across the country – including several in Ohio – are celebrating National Philanthropy Day this month, sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and its local chapters. Setting aside one day to celebrate how Americans give back to their community began in 1986, when then-President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing November 15 as National Philanthropy Day.
Here in Ohio, the celebrations hosted by regional AFPs occurred throughout the month at events that recognized local individuals, companies and foundations for their philanthropic activities. We offer our congratulations to two Philanthropy Ohio members received awards from the AFP of Greater Cleveland: Sherwin-Williams received the corporate leadership award and The Cleveland Foundation received the foundation leadership award.
Philanthropy Ohio celebrated philanthropy during the annual conference on November 14, when we presented awards to two individuals and two organizations:
Brian Frederick, president/CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, received the Ohio Philanthropy Award, our life-time achievement award for outstanding service;
Cara Dingus Brook, president/CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, received the Emerging Philanthropist Award; and
We think all philanthropists deserve recognition for their dedication to the causes and organizations to which they donate, whether they give $25 or $25 million. Thanks to their gifts our state and nation are stronger and healthier places in which to live and work.
This week Philanthropy Ohio introduces Stacey Kuzda, the new executive director of The Dublin Foundation.
Title & organization:
Executive Director, The Dublin Foundation
Marketing Consultant at Mix Marketing
Why did you make the move?
I actually just added this to my portfolio of projects. The Executive Director position is only part time right now, so, I am still working on a few other smaller projects. I have always been involved in nonprofits in the past, so this was a natural move for me.
What do you hope to accomplish?
Focusing on our mission is most important, helping the Dublin Community. Growth and community awareness will help us achieve our mission.
What’s surprised you so far?
Nothing surprised me, but, I am pleasantly impressed by the hard work and determination of the board members and volunteers, both current and past.
What is it about your job that makes you excited to go to work?
Being able to make a difference in someone’s life.
What’s on your MP3 player?
I am a supporter of local music. Originals from a Columbus based band.
What’s the last book you read?
The last book I read was Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, a New York Times best seller about how people think and make decisions. I highly recommend it!
The conversation around funding nonprofits’ overhead or administrative costs has escalated in recent months, particularly due to an initiative spearheaded by GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance. CEOs of the three organizations penned a letter saying that the amount a nonprofit spends on overhead “is a poor measure of a charity’s performance.” GuideStar then created a campaign to end the overhead myth that has resources and FAQs as well as a sign-on support effort.
The three charity CEOs are not the only ones concerned about the reluctance of funders and donors to fully fund the cost of nonprofits’ programs and projects. A Stanford Social Innovation Review’s article says “The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits’ misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs. To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.”
Since the end of the year is a big fundraising time for charities of all kinds – including our community foundations – this campaign is quite timely. Let’s end the overhead myth, funding nonprofits for sustainability.
In our last conversation, I asked you to stay tuned to learn more about Philanthropy Ohio’s strategic platform, one that creates real impact and leads change going forward. Of course, every platform should be supported by a substantial foundation, and whether virtual or structural, the adage “form follows structure” rings true. Here, let me share the foundation I’ve adopted and have come to own, personally and professionally.
Picture a literal platform supported by a series of columns—eight in all—of equal size and distance apart. On this platform is your heart’s desire, your wishes, your vision. Yours may include a profitable enterprise, a meaningful cause, a fabulous relationship. It’s yours to decide, but whatever you desire will require change. Sure, you’ll achieve this vision (as any business consultant will tell you) by developing the right mission and the appropriate goals, but I contend that the foundation under it all is even more critical.
Enter John Kotter in 1995 and his groundbreaking research on leading change. He wrote, “Leaders who successfully transform businesses must do eight things right (and they must do them in the right order).”
Kotter and his Harvard team researched over 100 companies, including small and large organizations—from Ford and British Airways to Landmark Communications—as they each instituted some sort of major organizational change. Some succeeded, some failed, and Kotter observed that the change process itself was the determining factor. In fact, he’s shown in 30 years of research that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail because the leaders do not see change as a process…and they don’t see the process through.
His research yielded eight stages of change, which he contended must be successfully completed to achieve lasting, sustainable change. This is the foundation we are using as the basis for the changes we are making at Philanthropy Ohio.
Here are the eight steps, briefly:
Step 1: Create Urgency – Spend significant time and energy building urgency, before moving onto the next steps. Kotter writes that over 50% of the companies he researched failed in this first phase.
Step 2: Form a Powerful Coalition – Use strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Managing change isn’t enough—you have to lead it. To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team or group, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise and political importance.
Step 3: Create a Vision for Change – A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then what you are asking them to do makes more sense.
Step 4: Communicate the Vision – Communicate the vision at every opportunity, concisely and with passion. And listen for it to be communicated back to you.
Step 5: Remove Obstacles – Encourage risks and empower people to try new approaches, to develop new ideas, and to provide leadership.
Step 6: Create Short-term Wins – Nothing motivates more than success. Create short-term targets—not just one long-term goal.
Step 7: Build on the Change – Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change.
Step 8: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture – To make any change sticks, it should become part of the core of your organization, it should become part of your culture.
As another of my favorite writers, Peter Drucker, said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
So this is the foundation we are building at Philanthropy Ohio. We understand and embrace the urgency. We are building a strong coalition of strong leaders in Ohio and we have a vision to be the leading voice and premier resource for philanthropy in Ohio. We look to you as we continue to build our foundation, securing our platform and becoming a stronger advocate for philanthropy.
Philanthropy Ohio welcomes Deborah Hoover, president & CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, with a guest post.
We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.–Thomas Edison
Over the last decade, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has gone “all in” on entrepreneurship. Sometimes for people outside of our organization, this laser focus pleases and excites them and sometimes it frustrates them. The fact is, that we are focusing our grants and energy precisely on the vision that inspired our founder, Burt Morgan. He had very specific goals in mind for the Foundation he created–the resources generated through entrepreneurship were to be directed toward inspiring the entrepreneurial dream in others.
While we may have earned a reputation as a narrowly-focused grantmaker–supporting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education–we have also worked expansively to push the envelope on the paths we take to achieve our goals. We are constantly prowling the horizon for the next opportunity for the Foundation to play a leadership role. How do we best provide the strategic resources to boost our region’s economic prospects? How do we deploy all of the philanthropic tools at our disposal to optimize impact? And how hard do we push our organizational infrastructure to achieve these goals? The answers to these questions have been shaped by a culture of stretching our boundaries and taking risks. This culture arises from the very nature of entrepreneurship–a culture we inherited from our fearless founder. He was the eternal optimist, always believing that the educated risks he took were worth the uncertainty and anxious moments. We have often shared his bulldogged observation that “failure never stopped anyone who is truly determined to succeed.”
We have made progress toward Mr. Morgan’s bold vision, and a good deal of our success resulted from being open to working closely with others. We have experimented with philanthropic collaboration through our alliances with the Fund for Our Economic Future, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and more recently, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. To be successful in our partnerships, we had to overcome challenging sticking points and prickly relationship dynamics–employing the art of compromise, regular and direct communication, unwavering patience, and a fair amount of soul searching. It has all been worth it. The end result of these efforts has been nothing short of transformational for our organization. We have gained valued colleagues in far flung places. We have learned more from our grantmaking than we ever could have working on our own. We bounce ideas around with our partners, borrow and adapt programs structures, share in evaluation efforts and troubleshoot together. Through this outreach, our grants deployed on a regional basis, take on national significance and have far reaching impact from lessons learned in partnership with others.
What does all this mean internally for our organization? Our mission is first and foremost, the guiding light that drives our work. Our constant reaching means we are always all hands on deck. We all pitch in when there is work to be done. We all take ownership of the end result. Our grantmaking experiences are richer because of this approach. We are challenged and engaged at both the board and staff levels. We have become a learning organization, building on past experiences, mistakes included, and growing all the time. The risks we take lead to some results we never could have anticipated, usually wonderful developments that inspire extraordinary next steps, but yes, also some projects that go bust. This mode of working also means we are oftentimes a bit off kilter and frequently out of our comfort zone as we explore new territory.
It is in that space, out of our comfort zone, where amazing stuff tends to happen. The phone rings and someone has a brilliant idea that capitalizes on one of our programs. The connectivity between several of our grants creates sparks that lead to a new way of working and addressing a problem. Young people contact us to share what great project transpired as a result of a foundation-funded program. A grant that goes astray teaches us a valuable lesson and through iterations, we get better and better at what we do. The entrepreneurial culture that we work so hard to generate for our region circles back, stimulating the growth of our own entrepreneurial mindset, and constantly pushes us to venture out of our comfort zone to try new things and embrace the occasional queasiness.
We would not have it any other way. We will continue to reach out of our comfort zone. It is after all, where the magic happens. It is exactly how our intrepid founder wanted us to approach his special brand of philanthropy.
This week’s blog shares a recent letter Philanthropy Ohio sent to members of the Ohio General Assembly.
Dear General Assembly member,
Philanthropy Ohio, a respected statewide association of over 200 foundations, corporate giving programs and other individuals and grantmaking organizations who give millions of dollars each year to support improved education, continues to play a leadership role in the critical issues affecting education in Ohio. Our goal is substantial improvement in the education and lives of children and adults across our state. For this very reason, we strongly support Ohio’s adoption of New Learning Standards, including the Common Core State Standards.
As we noted in our recent education report, Preparing Students for Success in Life, the new standards are:
- Aligned to college and work expectations and teach students what they need to know to succeed in life;
- Clearer, deeper and more focused to allow teachers to better individualize instruction to meet the needs of all students;
- Set more challenging expectations for students and teachers but allow for flexibility at the local level;
- Built upon strengths and lessons of Ohio’s current state standards;
- Informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in life;
- Implemented locally, with curriculum and textbook selections being made entirely by educators in Ohio’s communities; and
- Evidence- and research-based.
Philanthropy Ohio and its members have been strong supporters of Ohio’s new learning standards, accompanying assessments and the new A-F school report cards. In making this transition to the new standards and assessments, we know there will be confusion and concern about these new more challenging expectations and assessments, but we urge you as policymakers, to continue to support the on-going work that is taking place in classrooms, schools and districts to ensure our students are prepared for success in whatever they choose to pursue after high school.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.