Nearly 60 foundations – of all shapes and sizes – recently took the Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool (FCCAT), a self-assessment measure for foundations, to better understand their strengths and challenges. Based on the recent summary report, here are five noteworthy things they had to say: Continue reading
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
I’ve always had an inherent appreciation for diversity – yet my training and work in the evaluation space has fostered even greater realization that diversity is a critical component to both program design and evaluation. Continue reading
As with all foundations, family foundations work to have a meaningful and measurable impact on social problems. But they also have a second, unique purpose: to serve as a unifying vehicle for multiple generations, providing opportunities for family members to share philanthropic interests. Establishing this cohesion can be accomplished by Continue reading
This is the story of a TCC-er.
I may not be unique. Like most people who work in or with the social sector, I have a personal drive to give back. But volunteering at a week-long summer camp gave me pause – and I will share with you how this experience reinforced how I embody TCC’s values – that is, a client-centered approach focused on learning, sustainable change, and resourcefulness.
For five of the last seven years, I have spent the third full week of July in Ripley, West Virginia – a rural community approximately 45 minutes from the state capitol.
But not just any summer camp. Continue reading
You’ve been hearing about the “external environment” “ecosystem” “collaboration” “collective impact” and “hubs, spoke, nodes, etc.” a lot lately. Have you been wondering how all these concepts should influence your organization’s strategic priorities? So have we. Continue reading
When it comes to capacity building, my colleagues and I have seen a noteworthy increase in municipalities interested in strengthening the social sector at the local level. Capacity Building 3.0 – TCC Group’s collaborative approach – calls for elevating the capacity of all players in the social sector to achieve greater impact. If we consider which players have the greatest potential reach and influence to lead in capacity building, why has so little attention been directed at municipalities? Continue reading
Earlier this month, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) held its National Conference in Minneapolis – bringing together nearly 900 foundation professionals, executives of nonprofit organizations, consultants, and other stakeholders for a stimulating and inspiring two days. The organization promoted the conference as “an event that offers participants the opportunity to explore the most relevant topics in the philanthropic field and hear new ideas for smarter grantmaking practices that enable nonprofits to grow stronger and achieve better results.” Note the emphasis on “grow stronger and achieve better results.”
I had the privilege of attending along with four of my TCC colleagues, two of whom were leading sessions that reinforced the focus on achieving greater impact. Continue reading
The strategic planning process conjures up a number of sentiments among nonprofit professionals: stress about the time intensiveness of the process and balancing other priorities; fear about the potential implications of a change in direction for the organization; and excitement about the opportunity to deepen the organization’s impact and further its mission. No matter how strategic planning makes you feel, objectively, strategic planning is critical to nonprofit functioning. If done well, it is a data-driven and inclusive process through which an organization will improve its understanding of:
- The need for its services;
- Its unique abilities and positioning compared to others with similar offerings;
- Ways in which it can potentially leverage its strengths by partnering with others; and
- The potential obstacles and opportunities that stand to impact the organization (whether positively or negatively) in the future.
A strategic plan with clear metrics of success serves as a tool for assessment, discussion, and correction. Continue reading
On a cold, rainy day in February, all seven members of TCC Group’s evaluation team came together for a retreat. With our team spread across the country, this retreat was a unique opportunity for in-person team building and reflection. Most interestingly, we completed an exercise to classify the types of work we are talking about when we say “evaluation.”
The end result? Clarity around the nine types of evaluation work we do. Continue reading
A few years ago, we did a governance study for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. I interviewed the board chair, who incidentally invented Microsoft Word and Excel, and I asked him if the three board meetings they had each year was the right number. He said, “Well, four is too many and two is not enough, so three is probably right.”
An interesting way to think about almost everything. If six cookies aren’t enough, and eight cookies are too many, have seven.