Monthly Archives: November 2011

FOTH Stipend Applications due Friday, December 16th

Stipends will once again be available to attend Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) in 2012. Foundations on the Hill is an annual event co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers for grantmaking and regional association representatives to meet with their members of Congress to promote the important role philanthropy plays in serving the public good. The upcoming FOTH will take place on March 21-22 and includes training sessions and meetings with members of Congress.

Each stipend will cover up to $1,200 in travel and hotel costs associated with attending Foundations on the Hill. Registration fees will also be waived for all stipend recipients. A stipend recipient’s regional association will also receive a $300 award to continue public policy and advocacy efforts in the state. Continue reading


New Look for LearnPhilanthropy

Earlier this fall, LearnPhilanthropy (LP) conducted 22 hands-on user tests of the LearnPhilanthropy prototype with staff, donors, and trustees from a variety of different types of grantmaking and philanthropy support organizations. These tests have helped LearnPhilanthropy to identify eight priorities for site improvement:

  1. Redesign the front page so that it’s inviting, active, compelling, and clear.
  2. Further develop LP’s search function – make it easier to find and more highly functional
  3. Improve initial search screen
  4. Populate and format the resource landing pages
  5. Improve the log-in/register page
  6. Build out the individual profile functionality
  7. Add and build more interactive elements
  8. Test initial value-added content, like collections of resources, Q&A, etc. Continue reading

2010 Regional Association Characteristics Data Now Available

The 2010 data collected from this year’s Regional Association Characteristics Survey is now available for members! For the first time this report includes data analysis and comparison between 2010 data and data collected in previous years. The Regional Association Characteristics Survey is an annual benchmarking tool for the regional association network on topics like membership, finances, programming, services, and governance.

We’d like to thank the 32 regional associations who updated their information to include 2010 data. This is a comprehensive and time intensive survey to complete and we appreciate the time and effort it takes to provide this information each year.

The Forum and the Council on Foundations are also excited to provide the first ever brief on the organizational and management trends of Affinity Groups and Regional Associations, available at the link above. The study uses data from both the 2010 Affinity Group Management Survey and the 2010 Regional Association Characteristics Survey to compare the similarities and differences of operations and organizational trends among these two very distinct groups of organizations. The Council has also provided access to the Summary Report for the 2010 Affinity Group Management Survey.

Engagement Snapshot: Philanthropy New York – A Strategic Approach

Guest Post by Beeta Jahedi, Assistant Manager, Professional Education, Philanthropy New York and Robert Hyfler, EngAGEment Initiative Program Consultant, Philanthropy New York

It was with great enthusiasm that Philanthropy New York signed on to the EngAGEment initiative and the funding partnership with Grantmakers In Aging. Philanthropy New York and our local co-funders, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation and FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, quickly developed a senior staff working group to develop our local approach to the challenge of increasing foundation funding in age-related issues. A three-pronged strategy emerged:
  • Encourage our 280 grantmaking member organizations and their 2500 individual staff members and trustees to look carefully at age-related issues through the prism of their existing areas of focus and then integrate age-related concerns into their current mix of priorities.
  • Connect age-related concerns to Philanthropy New York’s own central focus on policy. To reinforce this priority, a close working and advisory relationship was forged with the New York Academy of Medicine and the city’s “Age Friendly NYC” initiative.
  • Increase the footprint of age-related issues within the institutional fabric of Philanthropy New York. Continue reading

Meet the Cultural Creatives, But Don’t Try to Sell Them Anything

When we think of demographics, it’s easy to get weighed down in numbers based on age and ethnicity. At Wednesday’s Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers Annual Meeting, Dr . Paul H. Ray offered a new lens through which to view this data: values. Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers President Tamara Copeland said, “Numbers are only a part of the story. Our values determine how we respond to those numbers. We need to understand both.”

In Ray’s book, Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World, he classifies people by value systems rather than ethnic or economic indicators. Three groups emerge: Traditionals, Moderns, and Cultural Creatives. Those in the Traditional set are cultural conservatives. Moderns represent what we might call the mainstream, people who are success-oriented and well represented in the media. Ray defines Cultural Creatives as those people whose primary interests include authenticity, life-long learning, idealism, activism, globalism, ecology, feminism, and spirituality (though this does not necessarily mean religious).

Cultural Creatives represent about 35% of the population and, according to Ray’s research, they are growing. It’s important for philanthropy to take note here, because they also happen to be the group that volunteers and donates the most. In addition, they tend to be the opinion leaders in areas of social change.
So how do you reach these people? Authenticity is the key. Ray says Cultural Creatives see right through glossy marketing campaigns. If you try to sell them something, they’re not buying. Cultural Creatives want to learn and they want to learn with you. As this group grows, it will become increasingly important for grantees and foundations to tell their own stories. Foundations, Ray says, must clarify their values in relation to each project and grant. Cultural Creatives want to know how things work and why.

We’re all well away of the browning and graying of the population, but if the trends described in Ray’s book hold up, philanthropy will also have to contend with the rising tide of Cultural Creatives to be successful in the decades ahead.

Learn more about Dr. Ray’s work at

Forum Contracts ThinkShout to Develop New KM CMS

After a comprehensive vendor selection process, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers has selected ThinkShout, a leading Drupal development firm based in Portland, Oregon, to build the next iteration of the Forum’s Knowledge Management platform. Drupal is a powerful, scalable, flexible, and highly interoperable open-source CMS. Using Drupal will assure a solid technical foundation for our sites and will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive content sharing solution for regional associations.

ThinkShout owners Sean Larkin and Lev Tsypin have been passionately involved in nonprofit tech and open source software development for the majority of their individual careers. Over the last five years, Sean and Lev have managed over 100 Drupal development projects. ThinkShout continually pushes the boundaries of open source software development to consistently release software that serves the needs of the nonprofit community. Continue reading

Blogging Tips from the ASAE Acronym Blog Team

Last week, I attended Delcor’s Progress U. Blogger Summit here in Arlington, Virginia. Progress U. is an event where blogging and social media enthusiasts inside associations and non-profits can learn more and talk about blogging.  The agenda was packed with presentations by association bloggers I admire (Shelly AlcornJeff De Cagna, Maddie Grant, Maggie McGary, Jamie Notter, etc.) so there’s a lot to report, but for now, I wanted to focus on what was the very first presentation of the day.
In “Planning and Managing the Association Blog of Associations: Acronym Blog,” Lisa Junker and Joe Rominiecki talked about how ASAE plans for and manages an association blog and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Continue reading