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September 2010 (4 posts)

Introducting TRASI
September 30, 2010

Logo_menuFor anyone who seeks to maximize social change—investors, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs alike—assessing the social impact of a given project is an important aspect of strategic planning. It can help to determine whether goals are being met, if a project is ready to be scaled up, and provide a sense of accountability. However, due to the diversity of the field, determining how to go about assessing a project can be difficult, even controversial. How can you measure to what extent you change lives, particularly when there are such diverse ways to go about doing so?

To respond to these concerns, the Foundation Center has launched a new database: Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact (TRASI). Developed in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, and with additional input from experts in the field, TRASI contains over 150 approaches to measuring and analyzing social impact for programs and investments, collected in a single searchable database


These tools have been authored by social investors, foundations, NGOs, microfinance institutions, and others in the field who seek social change. Besides the assessment tools, the web portal provides additional resources including videos, podcasts, articles, an experts section, and TRASI Community, a social networking site for connecting with peers.


I encourage all of you to spend a few minutes browsing TRASI and considering the available tools for assessing your organization's own social impact. McKinsey's Learning for Social Impact page is also worth looking over to get some additional perspective on the subject.

Live Fundraising Q&A
September 28, 2010

(from Philanthropy Front and Center)

Believe it or not, charitable giving surges in the last three months of each year, when the holiday spirit and tax planning ironically converge.

Join us at the Philanthropy Front and Center-Cleveland blog on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010, 2-3pm ET, when veteran fundraising consultant Tony Poderis will answer your questions about how to capture this end-of-year largesse for your nonprofit. Mr. Poderis has been a fundraiser, speaker, and author for more than 30 years, with 20 of those as Director of Development for The Cleveland Orchestra. He also is a frequent contributor to our online message board, PND Talk. Register for the live chat here.

This live, text-based Q&A session will take place online here. At the scheduled time, use the window at this page to submit questions and comments, interact with the presenter, and follow the conversation as it happens. You are also welcome to send in your questions early by submitting a comment at the post here.

Immediately preceding this live chat will be our free webinar, Introduction to Fundraising Planning. Watch the recorded version anytime, or register to "attend" the live version on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010, at 1pm ET.

On an unrelated follow-up to the last post, a fun, quick "reminder" about how to use social media.

Foundations and Social Media
September 22, 2010

Many nonprofits have plunged head first into the world of social media, using it as a means to raise awareness about their causes and activities. But are foundations reciprocating these efforts? A recently published report from the Foundation Center shows that foundations are using social media, but calls into question the level of engagement at a leadership level. Survey responses seem to suggest that while usage among foundation leaders is starting to pick up, for most it is not yet a part of their regular routine. Some key findings from the report:

  • About one-third (33 percent) of foundation leaders use Facebook regularly, and a similar number (30 percent) regularly read blogs.
  • About one in 10 foundation CEOs listen to podcasts (11 percent) or watch YouTube (10 percent) videos.
  • Just 6 percent use Twitter regularly.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) read e-newsletters regularly, while about half (47 percent) use Listservs regularly.


Even so, foundation leaders seem optimistic about the potential for social media to contribute to their work and to the field of philanthropy in general, even if they have yet to become personally involved in its development.

You can view which foundations are already using social media by going to glasspockets.org, but stay tuned for upcoming developments toward integrating this information into Foundation Directory Online.

Free Shipping on the Foundation Center's Newest Publication
September 13, 2010

Dir_corp_giv_sm This September, the Foundation Center is offering free shipping on the newly-released 16th edition of our National Directory of Corporate Giving when you order online.

The updated 16th edition includes comprehensive profiles of more than 3,300 company-sponsored foundations and over 1,400 corporate giving programs. Each profile contains vital information on giving priorities and funding guidelines, including:

  • Program descriptions
  • Fields of interest
  • Annual giving amounts
  • Average size of grants awarded
  • Giving limitations
  • Key contacts - including officers, donors, and trustees
  • Application procedures
The National Directory is also fully indexed by company name, subject, and geographic focus for quick access to funder profiles.

Visit the Marketplace section of our web site for more information on this publication or to view a sample company entry. The National Directory of Corporate Giving is available for just $195 with free shipping online, but annual subscribers to Foundation Directory Online can order it for just $100 in the Discount Book Mall. 

Courtesy of Stephen Sherman, Reference Librarian, Foundation Center-Atlanta