Philanthropy Forward 2011 a great introduction to grantmaking

December 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

OGF welcomes guest blogger Jeff Williams with a cross-posting from the blog of The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

From left: Health Foundation Program Officer Ann Barnum, Director of Evaluation Kelly Firesheets, Program Officer Francie Wolgin, Grants Manager Shelly Stolarczyk-George and Director of Publications Jeff Williams attended Philanthropy Forward 2011 in Columbus.

I had the pleasure of attending Philanthropy Forward 2011, the annual conference of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, last month in Columbus. For me the conference was an initiation of sorts into the world of philanthropy. I came to my job as the Health Foundation’s Director of Publications in June after a 15-year career in the newspaper industry.

The world of foundations and grantmaking was almost completely new to me. Thanks to the conference, I now better understand the breadth and impact of philanthropy, both the kinds of organizations involved (from private community foundations to faith-based nonprofits) as well as the activities they fund (from health initiatives to social enterprise). Plus I met a lot of the great people who are doing this important work throughout the state every day.

The Health Foundation’s own Shelly Stolarczyk-George presented the session “What Due Diligence Delivers,” along with Kerry Shaw of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and Leonor Alfonso of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. Shelly described her experiences with due diligence as the Foundation’s Grants Manager. She helped participants develop strategies for getting information they need to make informed decisions about awarding grants while not overburdening grantees with information requests.

In addition, the two communications sessions I attended reinforced the importance of organizations’ blogs and websites. It is there that groups can share their own story and engage advisers, donors and others interested in their mission. A well-designed, modern and sophisticated website can make a favorable impression of your organization on users. Thus, the use of photos and attention to the amount and spacing of type on a website are important. Finally, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way to direct users back to content on your blog or website.

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Entry filed under: Annual Conference 2011, Commentaries, OGF News.

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