January 15, 2016

More Videos on Collaborating with Nonprofits

Videos about philanthropist-nonprofit collaboration.

Roger Hertog advises both donors and grantees to lay out expectations at the start
Roger Hertog candidly tells grantees, "We're going to be a real investor in you, but we just want you to know, here are the kinds of things we're looking for. And if we can't do it, we're going to slowly extract ourselves."

Lessons on due diligence: Carolyn Lynch shares what she looks for in a grantee before investing
Carolyn Lynch shares "two of the most important lessons" she has learned as a philanthropist, which includes paying close attention to a potential grantee's financials and getting clear on the organization's goals.

What's wrong with grantee evaluation? Emmett Carson believes rigid evaluations should give way to partnerships
"Very few evaluations are unambiguous," Carson says. Yet most foundations today abandon both grantees who perform well and those who perform poorly. "The grantee is in the Catch-22. That's not a process of partnership, that's a process of power."

"A humble approach": Jeff Raikes says it's important to seek feedback from grantees
"When you're a philanthropist, you get lots of very positive signals...because people want the money," Raikes explains. To get real feedback, be humble and ask grantees "what's the number one thing we can change to help our work together be better?"

Three Questions for Potential Grantees
Eli Broad's philanthropic investments must pass three tests.

Managing expectations: Mario Morino treads carefully during nonprofit due diligence
Venture Philanthropy Partners tries to avoid getting in a position where it has to say "no" by not accepting proposals and by doing its own research. When engaging potential grantees, it makes sure to be very sensitive to the expectations it creates.

"Personal knowledge, not questionnaires": George Kaiser and Ken Levit's view on due diligence
Ken Levit says his style of due diligence is often relationship- and observation-based. For the George Kaiser foundation, "knowing the people intimately, and how they have worked before, is sometimes more important than a detailed questionnaire."

Cause agnostic: Bill Draper lets grantees choose the direction
From the start, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation has invested in entrepreneurs in a wide range of areas, helping them follow their passions--wherever they might lead.

A philanthropist's biggest challenge: Nancy Roob on getting accurate information about potential grantees
Roob has found that nonprofits tend to "tell the funder everything that the funder wants to hear." As a result, EMCF conducts due diligence aimed at "trying to deeply understand everything about the organization; the good, the bad, the ugly."

The eyes have it: How Bill Draper selects his grantees
Draper Richards Kaplan has a strict regimen for evaluating applications, considering vision, mission, territory, and need. But for Draper, it comes down to who. When he looks into an entrepreneur's eyes, he wants to see "energy and drive and guts."

A recipe for philanthropic impact: Herb Sandler looks for gaps, focuses on a few areas, and gives general support
First, Sandler asks, "what aren't people doing that ought to be done?" When he finds a gap, he then looks for ways to help. Making big commitments to few grantees, Sandler gives general support and lets grantees decide how to use the money.

Evaluating the United Nations: Ted Turner praises its unsung effectiveness
Based on many years of close partnership with grantee, the United Nations, Ted Turner believes it is "the closest thing we have to global governance." Yet it receives little credit for getting "things done that nobody else could do."

Carrie Avery and The Durfee Foundation focus on supporting leadership and innovation
"We're more about the way the work is done than about what work is being done," says Avery who has developed multiple programs to support creative thinking by innovative people working in Los Angeles.

A two-way street: Josh Bekenstein is not "doing a favor" by donating to the organizations he supports
Partner with organizations that you believe in, says Josh Bekenstein. "My perspective is that there's a mutuality of interest. They've done you a favor because they are going to help you accomplish a goal...You're both doing something for each other."

"Will and capacity": What Paul Brest seeks to discover in his due diligence
Due diligence "doesn't involve a sixth sense," Brest says, "it involves looking at how well the organization is run." Essentially, "the organization has to have the will and capacity to think about outcomes and strategies in the same way that we do."

A close look at David Weekley's due diligence process
When sifting through nonprofits, Weekley looks for three things: 1) the desire to scale; 2) the possibility for leverage, so that his $100 can have $1,000 of impact; and 3) a way for the organization to grow into a sustainable model.

Striking gold in due diligence: How Nancy Roob and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation "discovered" Youth Villages
Realizing there was a gap in its portfolio for child welfare organizations, EMCF "scour[ed] the country" for promising organizations. It discovered "one of the best-kept secrets in America," Youth Villages.

Due diligence through friends: For Josh Bekenstein, friends and philanthropy go hand-in-hand With a full-time job and no staff, Josh Bekenstein has sought ways to leverage his time in philanthropy. Talented friends who are actively involved in other organizations have proven to be one trusted way to ensure that he allocates his dollars wisely. Finding the right grantees: How Mario Morino and Venture Philanthropy Partners went from 3,400 options to 34
VPP starts by getting the community's opinion. Morino says if they "can't hear the community talking about an organization," then it "shouldn't be at the table." If they do hear good things, VPP looks for an opportunity to make a difference.

Good listener: Hearing consistent themes from inner-city youth, Geoff Boisi designed MENTOR to address their concerns
Geoff Boisi's MENTOR program has grown from 150,000 kids to 4 million. But the goal remains the same: "How can we get adults into kids' lives, and how can we introduce them to the world of work?"

Finding the right leader: Herb Sandler does serious due diligence
Looking to fund a progressive political institution, the Sandlers stumbled upon John Podesta. He looked good on paper--but they still made 30 calls and spent a day with him before deciding they would fund him to start the Center for American Progress.

Josh Bekenstein relies on trusted experts for high quality research on grantees
With limited time and no foundation or staff, the Bekensteins look to New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund, to fulfill due diligence needs as well as support grantees.

What are we trying to achieve? Paul Tudor Jones says to ask this first
"Due diligence starts with making sure that you and whoever you're funding have a clear understanding of what outcomes you expect to achieve," says Tudor Jones.

Picking proven nonprofits: Big aspirations count less than track records, says Nancy Roob
When selecting grantees, the Clark Foundation puts "a huge premium on looking at a prior track record," says Nancy Roob. "Where it's been and where it is today" accurately reflect an organization's "readiness for the future."

"Feel good" vs. impactful philanthropy: Herb Sandler says it comes down to due diligence
Herb Sandler is interested in doing impactful philanthropy, "philanthropy that affects the lives of large numbers of people and improves society." To achieve that, he asks tough questions of potential grantees.

Nonprofit power dynamic: Nancy Roob reflects on the value and challenge of building authentic relationships with grantees
As harsh as it may sound, "as many friends as you think you might have, you really don't have them," says Nancy Roob of the relationship between funders and grantees. Yet she has developed a few, making her more effective at her job.

In search of visionary leadership: Leonard Aube and the Annenberg Foundation focus on one thing in their nonprofit due diligence
When choosing nonprofits to work with, the Annenberg Foundation looks at, "Who's the leader? What's been their impact? How long have they been there? What's their relationship with their board?"

Patient-centric: The Michael J. Fox Foundation involves patients in decision-making with scientists
"When people are speaking dryly and pragmatically about things, they're going to look across the [board] table," and see a Parkinson's patient, says Michael J. Fox.

Standing up and standing out: Josh Mailman works to support moral leadership through investments in companies and nonprofits
Mailman believes in supporting individuals who take risks in advocating for tough issues - and invests in their success whether they run nonprofit or for-profit ventures.

Straight talk: When selecting grantees, Carrie Avery is focused--and honest
It can be tempting to try to fund everything, but Avery says it's vital for a foundation to focus - and to say no to groups that don't fit its mission. "I have learned that you're really not doing anybody any favors by not being straight with them."

Portfolio management: Emmett Carson classifies grantees into 3 different segments
Three buckets comprise the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's grantees, Carson says: basic needs, like food and shelter; a cohort model, like improving school performance; and public policy, like outlawing check cashers charging 450% interest.

When Herb Sandler gets involved in grantees' work--and when he doesn't
"We're involved in all of the business aspects of what ProPublica does, but not at all in any of the news stories or what they happen to be working on," says Sandler, who gets excited about improving organizations.

"A humble approach": Jeff Raikes says it's important to seek feedback from grantees
"When you're a philanthropist, you get lots of very positive signals...because people want the money," Raikes explains. To get real feedback, be humble and ask grantees "what's the number one thing we can change to help our work together be better?"

Roger Hertog advises both donors and grantees to lay out expectations at the start
Roger Hertog candidly tells grantees, "We're going to be a real investor in you, but we just want you to know, here are the kinds of things we're looking for. And if we can't do it, we're going to slowly extract ourselves."

Establishing trust: Richard Atlas swaps life stories with grantees
In an early, two-hour "learning to trust each other" meeting, Atlas asks grantees to "share their life" starting from birth--and he does the same. By the end, they are not funders or Board Chairs or Executive Directors; they are human beings.

Bringing business expertise, Herb Sandler gets "intellectually involved" with grantees
Possibly more important than funding, Sandler and his team also lend their experience to grantees, especially "the kind of things that we know [from business] that folks running not-for-profits don't know."
 

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