Posts Tagged by grants
|March 1, 2012||Posted by M. P. under NRM||
|September 30, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy, Research||
According to Census 2010 data, over a ¼ of the population of Pennsylvania (27 percent) is located in rural areas, and a considerable amount of our region of western Pennsylvania is considered rural. Yet in my admittedly anecdotal experience, it seems that much of the mainstream discussion in the sector focuses on urban organizations. The challenging issues faced by rural nonprofits, accessibility (a dispersed population), transportation (rarely any of a public sort), technology (reliable connections and coverage) and needs specific to non-metropolitan areas may be a bit of a mystery (hopefully not an afterthought) to the thinkers and influencers in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
A report from The Bridgespan Group, Small but Tough: Nonprofits in Rural America by Alex Neuhoff and Andrew Dunckleman, turns the lens on rural nonprofits in the United States to examine what these organizations look like, identify their most pressing challenges and determine how they differ from their urban peers. Some highlights of the study:
- Rural nonprofits are funded at a lower rate per capita than their urban counterparts. Rural areas make up 18 percent of the total population of the United States, have a higher rate of poverty overall (22 percent of the country’s poor reside in rural areas) but represent 8 percent of the total spending in the nonprofit sector (including human services).
- In spite of the above, overall, rural nonprofits appear to be in a better fiscal state than urban nonprofits and are less likely to run an operating deficit.
- Data suggest that rural nonprofits have learned to be both nimble and aggressive, prioritizing and pursuing strategies perhaps different from those of urban nonprofits used to the close proximity of both clients and funders. The authors point out that rural organizations collaborated, merged and otherwise partnered with each other or a larger network, had strategic approaches to grants (private and public) and emphasized relationship-building outside of their communities.
- A major obstacle faced by rural nonprofits is leadership recruitment and retention, an issue Pennsylvania grapples with per a recent study on the challenges associated with rural leadership development.
The study (available for download at The Bridgespan Group website) provides an excellent initial picture of rural nonprofits, including a comparative case study of similar programs operating in two very different locations. I hope this type of organizational research continues, as there may be much to learn from the nonprofits operating 60 miles outside of Pittsburgh, but seemingly a world away.
|July 7, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Evaluation, Management, Philanthropy||
A new paper from the Innovation Network discussing strategies in building evaluation capacity should be on the reading list of program evaluators, trainers, foundations and nonprofit leaders alike. The brief, Evaluation Capacity Building: Funder Initiatives to Strengthen Grantee Evaluation Capacity and Practice by Myia Welsh and Johanna Morariu, examines the process of engaging nonprofits in evaluation capacity building (ECB) to support their programs and operations.
The authors present case studies of evaluation capacity building activities with grantee organizations on behalf of and in collaboration with funders. Some of their lessons learned include,
- Ensure organizations begin the evaluation capacity building process with a clear grasp of what evaluation is (and isn’t) and how it may best be used within their organizations.
- Make evaluation a required element of grant reporting.
- Make capacity building services the default offering – do not make grantee agencies have to self-select into the process.
- Capacity building goes beyond the executive leadership. All staff matter in good evaluation practices and should be represented in ECB activities.
Has your organization participated in some kind of evaluation capacity building training? How did it impact your evaluation practices?
|May 8, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy||
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and the Association of Small Foundations (ASF) have partnered to create and distribute a series of tear-sheets on timely issues related to grantmaking such as organizational learning and new ways to use evaluation.
Currently, two tear sheets are available: Using Evaluation to Become an Effective Learning Organization, and Engaging Stakeholders for More Effective Grantmaking. These briefs provide useful information on critical issues, terminology, core questions and action items as well as suggest additional resources for further research.