Monthly Archives: July 2010

Top Ten Reasons to Get Excited about the Forum Annual Conference!

10. Location, location, location: Chicago. The city of broad shoulders, home to deep dish pizza, home to that crazy box they put on the Willis Tower where you can look down and see how crazy high up you are, sausage, hot dogs, art museums, improv, the hottest team in the American League Central, da Bulls, da Bears, not to mention our home-away-from-home, the hotel Sofitel.

9. Social Media mania. Boy, do we have a session for you! We’ve gathered the network’s top social media advocates for a thought-provoking skill-building session. Allen Gunn, aka Gunner, will be back to facilitate. Follow all the conference action on Twitter through the hashtag #Forum10.

8. You’ve probably heard a lot about Jeff De Cagna, now you can ask him your questions face to face as we focus in on business planning with one of the top experts in the field.

7. John Graham, President and CEO of ASAE,  explores the “New Normal” for Regional Associations as the association management paradigm changes dramatically in the digital era amidst the economic downturn.

6. At the Stop, Collaborate and Listen session, you’ll learn about the exciting work your colleagues are doing together around the country and what the Forum is doing to facilitate!

5. Author of Super-Charged Giving and Chair-Elect of Southeastern Council of Foundations, Dr. Byron Harrell offers a vision for the future of philanthropy and how regional associations can stay relevant in the era of Super-Charged Giving.

4. Meet our newest member NCNG! Bobbi Hapgood, Executive Director of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, will be in attendance. Make sure to say hello.

3. President & CEO of the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and new Board Chair of the Council on Foundations, Carol Larson, will deliver the opening remarks on Wednesday morning. Get there early for this one!

2. Network with the Network. You don’t get a chance to meet your colleagues from all over the country often enough.  There will be tons of opportunities for discussions and interaction, not just sessions and lectures. Meet and welcome new colleagues! Collect great ideas from around the country. Learning practical tips about membership management, communications, building networks, and more!

1. It is an important time for our network.  We have a lot to be proud of, but the work we do together in the coming years will be critical to our success. That success begins now, at the Forum’s Annual Conference.


Coming Soon: Women & Philanthropy!

This September Jossey-Bass will release Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World by Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha A. Taylor with Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz. That’s right, Buffy from ABAG. Not only that, but the book includes mentions of the Forum and our work on giving circles and women’s philanthropy. Clearly, a must have. It’s available on pre-order now at

Welcome North Carolina Network of Grantmakers!

The Forum is pleased to officially welcome its 34th member organization, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers!  Headquartered in Chapel Hill, the Network is a statewide association of grantmakers helping their members to share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned—and provide opportunities for North Carolina grantmakers to work together to improve the effectiveness and ultimate impact of grantmaking.  NCNG represents over 80 foundations, corporate giving programs and donor-advised funds that make significant grants to North Carolina charitable causes.  The Network was organized in September 2002 by a group of leading grantmakers who appreciated the need for a statewide forum to connect and support trustees, staff and advisors or grantmaking organizations that operates under the fiscal oversight of the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Along with the Southeastern Council of Foundations, the Network will work together to promote and build effective philanthropy throughout North Carolina.

Many of you may already be familiar with the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers and its Executive Director, Bobbi Hapgood, from their past participation in Foundations on the Hill.  The staff also includes Program Director Amanda Miller.  More information about the Network can be found at

Program Spotlight: OGF’s Annual Reports: Moving from Print to Online

Great events are taking place around the network almost every day. It’s time we shine the spotlight on these model programs. What follows is a snapshot of an upcoming regional association program that addresses issues at the forefront of everyone’s minds. If you know of a program that may interest the rest of the network, contact Dan Brady at dbrady (at) to see it featured here.

Online storytelling is always a hot topic. Whether it’s how an organization can use online video or how to convey your message on Twitter, regionals are always looking to take their game up a notch. But what can you do with a data-heavy, old fashioned annual report? Ohio Grantmakers Forum has the answer.

Ohio foundations have impressive stories to tell about their work and engagement in communities, and 21st century technology offers exciting new ways to deliver the message. Some are replacing traditional print versions of their annual reports with interactive websites containing audio and video elements as well as the traditional contents such as financial data, grants lists and letters from board chairs.

In this statewide webinar, staff at The George Gund Foundation andSaint Luke’s Foundation will show us how they are changing the way they tell their stories, developing annual reports using innovative, interactive tools to engage the online reader.

By attending this webinar you will:

  • Be exposed to two award-winning examples of how foundations are using the Internet to tell their stories;
  • Learn about the hurdles they faced and how they overcame them;
  • Hear what additional steps they are contemplating;
  • Share what online tools you are exploring or using in your own communications efforts

Forward-thinking, practical, and member-focused, this OGF program offers lessons we can all learn from. Who would have thought annual reports could be so exciting? Learn more at

10 Questions or Less for Kristen Ruff

10 Questions or Less is a feature here on the Forum’s Forum in which we get to know regional association staff members a little better—their work, what drives them, and more. This week, Kristen Ruff, Member Services Manager at Philanthropy New York.

Member Services can encompass almost every task at an association. What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?

That’s the fun thing about Member Services—you never get bored! My day-to-day work could include anything from planning programs for subsets of our membership (such as our CEO roundtables), to coordinating professional peer networks (like our Foundation Administrators Network), to working on new initiatives (i.e., our Young Leaders Breakfast Club), to managing and reporting on member information through the database.

What would you say is Philanthropy New York’s most popular member program?

We have close to 300 members so their interests really run the gamut. Our members love our core skill-building classes, such as our tax and financial analysis series, but they also turn out in large numbers for our Thought Leader programs, where we invite recognized pioneers, both within and outside the field of philanthropy, to discuss “big picture” topics and engage in dialogue with the audience.

How did the Documentary Film Series get started? I’m jealous every time I see those posted.

The idea for the film series started with two Board members, Vince Stehle and Orlando Bagwell—both of whom do a significant amount of work in film and new media. The goal of the series is to showcase documentaries as an alternative vehicle for furthering foundation missions and increasing the visibility of social issues. Each screening is preceded by a wine and cheese reception and followed by a discussion with the filmmakers. Although we originally limited attendance to members and their guests, we have found that by opening it up to students, nonprofits, and members, the events have taken on a new energy and the conversations with filmmakers are more robust. The credit for pulling off the events each month goes to my colleagues Roshni Melia and Marjorie Rutimann!

Continue reading

District Days Web Site Live

The Foundations on the Hill- District Days Web site is now LIVE at  The site contains a host of resources (including updated issue papers, legal considerations and frequently asked questions, template letter of invitations, legislator contact information and media tools) to help you plan and coordinate any district events that you may be considering for the upcoming congressional recesses.   As you begin to finalize your plans please be sure to register your district days events through the site.  While there is no cost associated with registration for district days, we ask that you share your initiatives so that we are aware of the various events taking place across the country.  Please note: as you register for district days we will include your event on the district days calendar. We will NOT include all details of the event unless you indicate otherwise.

Please contact the Mary O’Neill (703-879-0811) or Courtney Moore (703-879-0809) at the Forum or Chatrane Birbal (703-879-0689) at the Council with any questions.

LearnPhilanthropy Runs the Numbers

Have you been watching the good work of the LearnPhilanthropy team? You should. They’ve recently revealed the results of their initial field-wide user needs surveys and the data is very interesting. Finding out what people want is a pretty good way of finding out what you should do. Consider this a glimpse of the future.

  • Respondents want a multi-focused system:  field-wide catalog (67%); education and training outlines relative to common career paths (59%); and providing education or materials in addition to what currently exists in the field (58%). [HART]
  • Respondents expect to pay ala carte for each offering (73%) but also expect membership fees (54%), and grants (50%) to support a field-wide system. [HART]
  • Most organizations (56%) do not have someone formally tasked with training and learning. In organizations with 10 or fewer staff, the Executive Director/President is mentioned as the most frequent decision maker (40%).  In organizations with 11 or greater paid staff, supervisors are cited by 25% of the respondents as the decision maker. [HART]
  • Learning that includes networking seems most popular. In the last two years, professional development for respondents has included: Conferences (89%) and Informal Networking (82%).  Online webinars and workshops (81%) are also preferred.  Face-to-face instruction (61%); blogs & publications (51%) and tools or kits (28%) were mentioned less often. [HART]
  • Networking (20%) and General management/leadership skills (20%) were also considered the most beneficial kind of development with other topics ranging from 10-15%. [HART]
  • Leading and Managing is of greatest interest to respondents with more than 10 years experience in philanthropy (52%). Those with less than 10 years experience also rate leading and managing high (50%), but they seek opportunities to learn grantmaking (57%) most of all. [HART]
  • Less than 50% of all respondents say they have access to quality learning opportunities with the exception of those with more than 10 years experience who say they do have access to quality grantmaking learning opportunities (53%).  For the same subject, only 32% of those with less than 10 years experience can say the same. [HART]
  • In both surveys, respondents rely on “self-directed” to guide their development and training activities (75/72%).  Affinity Groups (54/54%); National Associations (53/50%); Regional (49/37%) and Local Associations (48/33%) were also mentioned.
  • The top preference for a field-wide grantmaker education system is that it include a digital library of downloadable tools and documents specific to learning needs (69%).  A central catalog/list of online and offline offerings from multiple providers is the second most popular feature (65%). [HART]
  • Less experienced staff are more interested in having a place to post questions and share information (53%).  They also prefer 48% to 36% having a jobs board and a system for matching mentors and mentees (48% to 33%) compared to more experienced staff.  [HART]
  • Independent (32%) and Family (26%) make up half the respondents. Community (14%), Public (12%), Corporate (6%), Private (2%) make up the other half. [HART]. We had somewhat greater participation from Corporate (11% vs. 6%) and Community Foundations (17% vs. 11%) in the survey vs. the HART survey.  95% of those responding to HART and 93% to are paid staff.
  • In the HART survey 53% of the respondents come from foundations with assets of less than $100 million vs. at 57%.  In the HART survey 54% come from organizations with fewer than 11 paid staff and on it was similar with 55%.
  • 44% of respondents are in grants management/administration roles and 39% are program officers or other program professionals. The next highest response came from CEOs (17%). [HART]
  • 57% of those responding to the HART survey belong to an Affinity Group; 47% to COF; 47% to the Grant Managers Network; 38% to Regional Association of Grantmakers.

Find out more at You can also follow the initiative on Twitter and Facebook.