Are There Too Many Cooks in Your Nonprofit’s Strategic Planning Kitchen?

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

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

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

Why Doing Good is Good Business

TCC Group’s CEO, Richard Mittenthal, is featured in the current edition of Profile Magazine, a publication that “identifies and promotes innovation in prominent American industries.”DoGoodBusiness

Read “Why Doing Good is Good Business” to learn how Richard views the state of the sector and the role of TCC Group in helping nonprofits, foundations, and companies achieve greater social impact. Continue reading

4 Steps to Leverage Your Philanthropic Impact with Non-Grantmaking Roles

Increasingly, funders want to take on more catalytic roles within their communities. Creative grantmaking can help them move in this direction. But without realizing the potential of their non-grantmaking activity—convening, advocating, training, or educating—foundations may be leaving significant value on the table. TCC’s Senior Consultant Marieke Spence outlines a straightforward but holistic process for funders considering non-grantmaking roles using relevant examples from the field. 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