Category Archives: Grantmaking

Adaptive Philanthropy

This is a guest post by Susan Wolf Ditkoff, a partner at Bridgespan and co-leader of the firm’s philanthropy practice. Susan also writes Bridgespan’s Give Smart blog. By Susan Wolf Ditkoff Decisions in philanthropy are sometimes painted in terms of false dichotomies – either you’re thoughtful and strategic, or you’re whimsical and opportunistic. But in […]

Becoming the Best Possible Philanthropist

I’ve long advocated for foundations to embrace impact focused transparency. While many people want foundations to be more transparent for the sake of accountability, I just think that foundations should share more as a way to achieve impact. In the wake of the Japanese disaster, charity rating organization GiveWell is demonstrating how impact focused transparency […]

Governmental “Crowding Out” in Philanthropy

In economics, “crowding out” describes the way that increases in government spending may lead to a reduction in private spending. The theory suggests that government spending does not have as large an effect on the economy as might be expected because the impact is offset due to the crowding out of private spending. It turns […]

Valuing the Future: Discount Rates in Philanthropy

One of the most basic financial tools is the concept of present value. The present value concept simply assumes that value received in the future is worth less than the same value received today. You can see this dynamic working if you think about whether you would rather be given $100 today or be given […]

Speed-Freak Grantmaking at Council on Foundations Conference

So the Speed-Freak Philanthropy post and the profile of the Energy Foundation’s 27 day grant cycle on their $110 million annual budget spurred a lot of interest. The Energy Foundation has received a bunch of emails asking for more information about their approach, including from two of the country’s largest foundations. In addition, the Council […]

The Energy Foundation: A Major Speed-Freak Grantmaker

In my recent post on speed-freak philanthropy, I cited two small foundations (Mulago and Philanthropic Ventures) for their rapid grantmaking. One of my points was that the slow grantmaking process of most foundations was due to self-imposed constraints rather than anything inherent. So I was thrilled to see the comment below left by Jason Ricci, […]

Burning Bridges to Make Venture Philanthropy Work

This is a guest post by John MacIntosh of SeaChange Capital Partners, a nonprofit firm that arranges collaborative growth capital funding for outstanding nonprofits. By John MacIntosh I joined SeaChange Capital Partners after a career in venture capital. In my experience on the inside, the venture capital market is a dynamic system where three key […]

New Smart Money Award Winner

Back in April, I wrote about the Smart Money Award concept that an ad hoc team I was part of had thrown together during a Monitor Institute meeting. The concept won first prize at the informal idea contest and so our team decided to make the Smart Money Award real. I described the award in […]

Announcing the Smart Money Award

During the Monitor Future of Philanthropy workshop, the attendees broke into small groups to rapidly prototype an innovation that could help propel some of the themes discussed in the workshop. The group that I was a part of ended up winning the prize for best innovation. Given that the winning entry from last year’s workshop […]

GuideStar Launches Expert Nonprofit Reviews

Last year, GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GiveWell, Philanthropedia, GreatNonprofits and Philanthropy Action put out a joint press release announcing their rejection of overhead expense ratios as the primary approach to evaluating nonprofits. GuideStar was a little bit of an odd group to sign the press release, because while they provide information about nonprofits, they do not […]