Category Archives: Tactical Philanthropy

Strategic & Tactical Philanthropy: A Truce

Paul Brest, the outgoing president of the Hewlett Foundation, has written an elegant article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled A Decade of Outcome-Oriented Philanthropy. Paul helped push my thinking over the years by willingly engaging me in public debates about my ideas on Tactical Philanthropy and his views on Strategic Philanthropy. I’m honored [...]

An Investment Approach to Philanthropy

Many people who hope to see the social sector perform at a higher level talk about the need for a more “business-like” approach to nonprofit work and philanthropy. The phrase is odd because nonprofits are businesses and so there’s no other way for them to act but to be business-like. So what the phrase really [...]

A Different Kind of Philanthropy

What if foundations mostly gave unrestricted funding instead of dictating how grantees could spend their grants? What if foundations kept supporting grantees who performed instead of ending funding because the “grant cycle” had ended? What if foundations ditched the whole system of soliciting grant proposals and focused on proactively searching for great grantees? What if [...]

Tactical & Strategic Philanthropy at the Ford Foundation

I owe the Ford Foundation an apology. As I’ve written about the distinction between tactical and strategic philanthropy over the last couple of years, I’ve always refrained from labeling any specific foundation as being strategic or non-tactical. This is because I realize that most foundations pursue a mix of approaches in their grantmaking and unless [...]

Philanthropists as Investors

This is my most recent column from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. You can find an archive of past columns here. Providing the Capital Organizations Need to Run — and Grow By Sean Stannard-Stockton October 1, 2009 | Link to Original Article According to Paul Brest’s excellent book Money Well Spent, strategic philanthropists devise ways to [...]

Tactical Philanthropy & Major Donors

This post is part one of a three part series on defining the phrase Tactical Philanthropy. Read Part I Read Part II Yesterday I laid out a definition of tactical philanthropy and made the argument that a tactical philanthropy orientation was distinct from a strategic philanthropy orientation. I said that the two orientations were not [...]

Defining Tactical Philanthropy

This post is part one of a three part series on defining the phrase Tactical Philanthropy. Read Part II Read Part III After the 2007 Council on Foundations conference, readership of this blog took off and broaden to include nonprofit professionals, foundation professionals, major donors, communications and social media experts, college students and many others. [...]

Tactical Philanthropy: Looking Back & Forward

This post is an intro to a series looking at the history and future of Tactical Philanthropy. The series is in preparation for a number of new initiatives we’re preparing to roll out soon. Read Part I Read Part II Read Part III Whew! I started this blog in October 2006. You can see my [...]

The Foundation Review: Call for Papers

In February I wrote about Tactical Philanthropy reader Teri Behrens (director of evaluation at W.K. Kellogg Foundation), new project The Foundation Review. Said Teri at the time: I am very excited about this new venture because I believe the time is ripe for a peer-reviewed publication that will provide practical information about what works — [...]

Online Grant Applications

Flaw #9 from the Project Streamline report: More than 80 percent of the grantmakers who responded to our survey reported that they have taken steps to make their information gathering practices “more efficient and streamlined for nonprofit applicants.” …Many streamlining strategies have turned out to be useful to foundations and their grantees. Yet others, notably [...]