Our 9 Types of Evaluation Work – Which are Useful to You?

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

4 Predictions for the Future of the Nonprofit Sector

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.

So, when I thought about my presentation at the BoardSource Leadership Forum, I decided that three predictions weren’t enough and five predictions were too many. So I have four. Continue reading

From “Good” to “Great” (or Better Yet, Impactful)

Does a “good board” really a strong organization make?

Fixing your board…that’s what many of us in leadership positions in the nonprofit sector believe it takes to improve our organizational impact. But how much does developing and educating your board really improve the way your organization does its work? Continue reading

CASE STUDY: Supporting Organizational Effectiveness Within Movements

Wikimedia's Organizational Effectiveness ToolFunders supporting movements face a unique set of challenges when trying to support
organizations working for the same cause. In their efforts to increase organizational effectiveness, foundations invariably face questions of credibility and control, and sometimes encounter diverging understandings of success. This case study profiles how TCC Group – with its partner, the Wikimedia Foundation – developed an innovative, participatory approach to these challenges, resulting in increased organizational effectiveness in the Wikimedia movement.

Read the entire case study >

Successful Corporate Citizenship: What Sets Leading Companies Apart?

Over the years of working extensively with countless corporations, TCC Group has developed a framework, Successful Corporate Citizenship – What Sets Leading Companies Apart, for identifying the key elements of building an effective corporate citizenship approach. TCC’s Director of Corporate Services, Tom Knowlton, lays out the four elements of this framework: Continue reading

Are Your Trustees Involved Too Much—or Too Little—in Grantmaking?

From her own experience as a family foundation trustee, TCC’s Ashley Blanchard discusses how a board can best determine its role in the grantmaking process. When should trustees dive in head first and when should they step back? How and when can they best strategize to support the growth and stability of the foundation? Continue reading

Game-Changing Philanthropy: Is Sean Parker the Daenerys Targaryen of Philanthropy?

Dany: I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel. −Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 8.

In his characteristically splashy way, Sean Parker made headlines recently by coining a new phrase: “philanthropy for hackers.” His Wall Street Journal op-ed (which also marked the unveiling of his new private foundation) outlines some basic ways that “hacker philanthropy” is a departure from the past. Continue reading

Coordinated Funding: Lessons from a Place-Based Grantmaking Collaborative

Three grantmakers in Michigan, including Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the United Way of Washtenaw County, and the Joint Office of Community and Economic Development, recently coordinated the leadership and funding of the region’s human service programs in order to maximize community impact. During TCC Group’s evaluation of the initiative, we identified several community assets and early successes that Continue reading

A New Approach to Capacity Building

“What you see is what you get.” This phrase is often used to describe a person who is very straightforward, but it can have another meaning – what you are able to see, what you choose to notice, affects what you can accomplish.

TCC’s Directors make a fundamental distinction between capacity (skills, knowledge and relationships) and capacity building (the process of cultivating those skills, knowledge and relationships), and map out the evolution of capacity building over the last few decades. The “end-result” is Continue reading

10 Key Factors to Help Funders Thrive

In 2004, TCC Group published a briefing paper entitled, “Ten Keys to Successful Strategic Planning for Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders.” The philanthropic landscape has continued to evolve since then, and TCC has benefited from ten years of additional work designing and facilitating funder planning projects.

Drawing on our client work in the intervening decade, TCC Group staff have identified important key factors that help foundations overcome unique challenges, provide strategic clarity, and chart a successful path forward. In our latest briefing paper, “Ten Keys – Ten Years Later: Successful Strategic Planning for Foundation Leaders,” we discuss 10 factors that Continue reading