Knowledgebase 2.0

It was announced in Forum Bits last week that we’ve created a new protocol for submitting documents to the Knowledgebase (KB). You can read the whole thing here, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about what the Knowledgebase is, how it benefits your members, and how this new streamlined process will make using the KB simpler for everyone.

What is the Knowledgebase?

The Knowledgebase is a shared resource archive for grantmakers provided by regional associations.

It’s often overlooked that the KB is designed for grantmakers. Yes, it’s incredibly valuable to regional associations, but ultimately it is a benefit provided to grantmakers by regional associations to make doing their jobs and finding the information they need easier.

The archive includes documents, links, reports, sample materials, job postings and more that are fully indexed and easily searchable all in one place. It’s essentially a treasure trove of philanthropic reports, tools and resources—like Google just for philanthropy. Okay, maybe I can’t quite claim Google status, but the KB is very comprehensive.

In my opinion, the sample documents are the best. Need a model for your social media policy? Here’s five to look at. Want to know how to best institute a board self-assessment? There are sample documents for that, too. It goes on and on.

Like I said, the KB was designed for grantmakers as a member benefit to joining their local regional association. All regionals have access to this benefit. If you haven’t made it available to your members already, please contact Val Rozansky to find out how.

So what’s the new process?

If you’ve been around the regional association world long enough, you’ll probably remember that we once had Content Vetting Groups (CVGs) that would have regular conference calls to review resources submitted to the KB. This proved to be a drain on RA staff time and cumbersome for Forum staff to organize.

With our new network model, we want to create a system through which it’s easy to share resources without distracting RA staff from their regular duties. Under the new protocol, when a RA staff member comes across an interesting resource in the course of their day to day activities—conducting research, doing a literature review, working with a member, etc.—he or she can submit it for consideration by emailing Dan Brady. KM partners have the additional option of categorizing documents to the KB for approval through the shared Content Management System (for a quick review contact Dan or Val).

The idea is that you are all coming into contact with great resources all the time. Why not share them with the network? All it takes is a quick email.

What about quality control?

The CVGs filled a crucial role, vetting new resources. Rather than a formal committee, Forum staff will be forming ad hoc committees of just two or three RA staff to review resources if the value of the resource is not immediately clear. RA staff members will be chosen by known expertise and willingness to participate. Feel free to volunteer!

The criteria for resources remain the same:

Relevancy: Resources should be pertinent, connected, or applicable to the work of grantmaker members and regional association staff.

Utility: Resources should be useful for regional associations and their grantmaker members.

Currency: Resources should present the most up-to-date thinking about a particular subject.  Many quality documents stand the test of time and are useful for continued reference.  However, we also want to make sure we focus attention on providing timely answers to new issues at the forefront of grantmaker thinking.

Credibility: Resources should come from reputable sources in the philanthropic field.

Presentation: Resources should be well-structured and grammatically correct.

Attribution: Resources should be properly credited to their authors. If a resource is produced by a regional association, it will be featured on the Forum website and promoted through social media channels. Forum staff will work with the contributing RA to draft content descriptions that can be reused by other regionals.


That was a lot of information. Got it all? If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Thank you to everyone who has made the Knowledgebase as success. We look forward to an even more successful future. Bring on the resources!


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