july 28, 2020

What must be sacrificed in times of crisis


Leaha Wynn
Alliance Magazine

For centuries, philanthropy has aided society during times of crisis. At The Forum’s 2020 Annual Conference (virtually, this year), the ways philanthropy has mobilized to address the COVID-19 crisis was (unsurprisingly) a central theme. In the past several months, philanthropy has grappled with shifting in ways it never considered to adapt to the novel challenges presented by the pandemic.

On top of the virus, the outcry to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others has prompted dozens of U.S. cities to name racism a public health crisis. But reactions to this crisis have been different. There are statements of solidarity and commitments to learning, but commitment to action has been slower. With the understanding that racism, like COVID-19, is actively harming our communities, what can philanthropy take from the lessons learned of the pandemic response and apply to its efforts to confront and tear down racism?…>read more

may 1, 2020

Center for Effective Philanthropy Leader Talks About Philanthropy’s Response to the Pandemic (Podcast)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

This episode of the Business of Giving podcast features Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He speaks with podcast host, Denver Frederick, about:

• why foundations should give more now,

• the rapid-response grantee feedback tool, and

• the challenge to nonprofit revenue models….>listen

march 27, 2020

How to Best Support Nonprofits through Uncertainty

Hannah Martin

National Center for Family Philanthropy “Family Giving News Blog”

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is complicating an already complex funding landscape for nonprofits. While the need for nonprofits’ programs and services is increasing—exponentially for some—nonprofits are having to cancel events, and donors and foundations are losing money in a volatile stock market.

At the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), we believe that the nonprofit perspective on issues that affect the sector provides crucial insight into how funders can have greater impact. In November of 2019, we surveyed nonprofit CEOs from our Grantee Voice panel—a national sample of CEOs from nonprofit grant-seeking organizations that receive at least one grant from foundations giving $5 million or more annually—to learn how they are thinking about and responding to a variety of anticipated changes and challenges. All of these issues are even more relevant as the coronavirus pandemic—and its economic implications—intensifies….>read more

march 26, 2020

Leading an Organization Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Phil Buchanan

BoardSource Blog

Editor’s note: Running an organization is a huge responsibility on its own, but doing so in today’s environment is truly a different beast. We are in uncharted waters. This post, originally published as a series of tweets by Phil Buchanan — president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) and author of “Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count” — touches on 15 things to keep in mind as you adjust to the many new realities that COVID-19 has created. You can view the original thread on Twitter, but we have posted it here with Phil’s permission for the BoardSource community.

Being in a leadership position of any kind at an organization of any size is a challenge in this moment. Some thoughts (which may or may not be helpful or remotely right but are running through my head).

  1. You can’t communicate enough. People want to know what’s going on — and that you’re not minimizing and that you’re on it. Use all the channels you have to communicate with folks. Be open and honest but also encouraging…>read more

march 9, 2020

Recommended Reading: Giving Done Right: A frank discussion with Phil Buchanan about how he is getting it done right.

Ops & Asks: The Musings of a NYC Fundraiser
Juliana Weissbein

A majority of American households give to charity in some form or another–from local donations to food banks, religious organizations, or schools, to contributions to prevent disease or protect basic freedoms. Whether you’re in a position to give $1 or $1 million, every giver needs to answer the same question: How do I channel my giving effectively to make the greatest difference?

In Giving Done Right, Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, arms donors with what it takes to do more good more quickly and to avoid predictable errors that lead too many astray. This crucial book reveals the secrets and lessons learned from some of the biggest givers, from the work of software entrepreneur Tim Gill and his foundation to expand rights for LGBTQ people to the efforts of a midwestern entrepreneur whose faith told him he must do something about childhood slavery in Ghana. It busts commonly held myths and challenging the idea that “business thinking” holds the answer to effective philanthropy. And it offers the intellectual frameworks, data-driven insights, tools, and practical examples to allow readers to understand exactly what it takes to make a difference.

I am thankful to have had the chance to sit down with Phil to discuss how he is getting it done right….>read more

february 27, 2020

When Billionaires Give To Charity


WGBH’s Greater Boston
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently pledged to invest $10 billion of his money into an initiative to fight climate change, but he did not provide many details about where the money will go. His announcement placed renewed attention on his company’s large carbon footprint — which a group of Amazon employee activists have long challenged — and raised bigger questions about how to respond to the ultra-wealthy’s charitable giving efforts.


Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, Emily Barman, professor of sociology at Boston University and author of Caring Capitalism: The Meaning and Measure of Social Value in the Market, and Michael Serazio, an associate professor of communication at Boston College and the author of Your Ad Here: The Cool Sell of Guerilla Marketing, spoke with Jim Braude Thursday on Greater Boston….>watch here

February 6, 2020

Listening and Learning Is Not Enough

Charlotte Brugman

Association of Charitable Foundations Blog

ACF’s report Impact and Learning: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice defines learning as a “proactive and lifelong process of reflection and open listening” that “takes time and is an iterative process.” As the report argues, this means a stronger foundation should “regularly review its mission to ensure it is still fit for purpose” by listening and “making efforts to understand the realities of the people, issues and causes with which the foundation seeks to engage.”

From my vantage point leading the Center for Effective Philanthropy‘s work in Europe, I couldn’t agree more.

In order to stay relevant, focus on what matters, and do no harm, funders need to proactively and regularly seek candid feedback from the people they’re engaging most closely with on the work: their grantees, beneficiaries, partners, and other key stakeholders. Listening and learning needs to be a constant practice, preferably benchmarking feedback results against that of other funders and structurally tracking performance over time. This helps foundations to stay agile and adaptable, to keep program officers aware of actual needs, and to make sure that strategies achieve intended impact….>read more

january 21, 2020

What’s The Role Of Philanthropy In Connecticut?

Carmen Baskauf & Lucy Nalpathanchil
Where We Live (WNPR)

Demand for social services in Connecticut has grown in the same decade that’s seen the state struggle to pass balanced budgets. The nonprofit sector has provided more and more of these services but now its facing more pressure, as Americans charitable donations decline and government cutbacks continue.

This hour, we talk with national and local experts about the role philanthropy plays in helping Connecticut residents today. How much of a role should the state government play in supporting Connecticut’s nonprofits?…>listen here