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Effective Matters: December 2019

Date: December 17, 2019

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Gain the Insights You Need to Be Most Effective in 2020

Philanthropy has the tremendous opportunity to take on pressing challenges that other actors in society cannot or will not. Yet, giving effectively is uniquely challenging to assess. How do you measure effectiveness when your giving is working to address a complex social issue — one that hasn’t been successfully tackled by government or business? How do you go about the sensitive task of collecting candid feedback from key stakeholders when there are power dynamics at play and crucial relationships hanging in the balance?

Questions like these are at the heart of CEP’s mission. Our nearly two decades of experience working with funders has taught us that rigorous assessment and candid feedback are critical in allowing your philanthropic institution — whether large or small — to do its best work.

So how can CEP help? Here are a few of our resources:

  • Grantee Perception Report (GPR): Using an easy-to-implement, confidential online survey, the GPR allows funders to learn from actionable insights based on candid and reliable grantee feedback. The GPR is the most widely used grantee assessment that puts your results in a comparative context with your peers and nearly 300 funders.
  • Donor Perception Report (DPR): Partner with CEP to better understand what your donors value and how that aligns with their philanthropic goals. The DPR is the only donor assessment that puts your results in a comparative context with more than 80 other community foundations.
  • Staff Perception Report (SPR): An effective and engaged staff culture is crucial to your ability to create impact. Designed specifically for those working in philanthropy, the SPR is the most comprehensive staff survey that helps you drive organizational change and improvement.
  • Advisory Services: CEP’s data-driven, customized advisory services help funders answer pressing questions regarding their work, address existing challenges, and hear from valued constituents.

As you head into 2020, consider how CEP can help you maximize your philanthropic effectiveness.

A Gift for the Givers in Your Life


This holiday season, share the gift of effective giving with the changemakers in your life. Giving Done Right by CEP President Phil Buchanan is the perfect gift for those who are looking to make the greatest difference through charitable giving, whether they’re a high-net-worth donor, foundation staffer, or middle-income giver.

Giving Done Right not only provides the tools and insights effective givers need to make a difference, but it also shares the compelling stories of the nonprofit leaders whose work is changing — and often literally saving — lives. If you have folks in your life who truly want to make a difference through their giving, give them the book that will inspire and guide them.

Buying the book supports CEP, too, as half of all royalties during the first year post publication go to CEP.

CEP Launches Search for First-Ever Director of Donor Resources

As CEP continues to expand our reach to bring data and insights to more givers, we’re looking for a dynamic leader to help drive our work helping individual major donors to be more effective. CEP’s director of donor resources, who will be based in our San Francisco office, will help refine and execute our strategy to reach more individual major donors with our knowledge and insights, build strong relationships with intermediaries who work with these donors, and bring CEP research findings to relevant groups of donors and donor-facing audiences around the country.

Are you passionate about the effectiveness of individual giving and the importance of evidence and data in philanthropy? A strategic thinker capable of developing a business model and helping broaden a new effort? Experienced in building and managing relationships? Or maybe you know somebody who is? This might be the perfect opportunity! Learn more and apply here.

We also have a search currently open for an analyst to join our assessment and advisory services team, based out of CEP’s San Francisco office.

As always, we hope you will share these roles with your networks!

In Case You Missed It: On the CEP Blog

In a post adapted from remarks he delivered to a gathering of nonprofit leaders, CEP President Phil Buchanan talks about why these leaders are the “unsung heroes” of American society and shares seven principles that can help them navigate a perilous moment.

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, challenges the philanthropic sector to make a stronger commitment to supporting grassroots leaders of color, arguing that a specific window is open right now for necessary change.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer argues that making philanthropy more like business is a big mistake.

CEP’s Alina Tomeh discusses the challenges of funder collaboration and why effectively managing partnerships might just be harder than rocket science.

Anne Phillips and Melinda Mosier of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation share an important reminder about how donors should take a holistic approach when thinking about what it takes for nonprofits to make change in communities.

The evaluation all-star team of Equal Measure’s Meg Long, Engage R+D’s Clare Nolan, Equitable Evaluation Initiative’s Jara Dean-Coffey, and Center for Evaluation Innovation’s Julia Coffman speak to why basing evaluative work in values can advance equity and social justice.

On the occasion of #GivingTuesday, CEP’s Ethan McCoy highlights a handy resource from Giving Done Right for donors as they navigate the year-end giving season: a list of the 10 key differences between ineffective and effective givers.

Melinda Tuan takes stock of what Fund for Shared Insight has learned on its equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) journey and how those insights have fundamentally changed the collaborative’s work.

Megan Campbell and Britt Lake of Feedback Labs share three lessons for advancing equity in global philanthropy.

In another post focusing on grantmaking in an international context, Ruth Levine, policy fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, lays out precisely why the draw to grantmaking beyond U.S. borders “should be balanced with a large dose of humility and introspection.”

Levine also writes in a separate post about the importance of not leaving operational considerations (and the expertise of internal foundation staff from administrative departments) out of strategy development.

Esther Wang and Emily Coppel of IDinsight highlight the role that amplifier organizations can play in helping nonprofit organizations grow their impact.

Amy Kingman and Cate Latz of Learning by Giving Foundation share four observations about what college students participating in Learning by Giving courses are prioritizing in their grantmaking decisions — and what this might tell us about the next generation of philanthropic leaders.

Heather McLeod Grant, co-founder of Open Impact, shares insight into how funders can most effectively support system leaders.

And following the release of CEP’s most recent research report, Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits, a number of guest bloggers shared thoughts on effective practices of major donors.

  • Rhode Island Foundation Senior Vice President of Development James Sanzi offers guidance on how to build strong and effective relationships between donors and nonprofits.
  • Elaine Martyn, vice president and managing director of the Private Donor Group at Fidelity Charitable, shares her answer to the essential question: how can we work with major donors to make more of an impact?
  • Stephanie Gillis, director of the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative at the Raikes Foundation, reacts to the report’s key findings and offers three key lessons for donors to release their superpowers: learn, connect, and take action.
  • Your Philanthropy CEO Dawn Franks writes about the importance of understanding donors’ many different “giving pockets” — and why it’s incumbent upon donors to ensure that nonprofit leaders are aware of them.

Book a CEP Speaker

CEP’s experts have spent more than a decade working closely with philanthropic funders and are passionate about sharing their views on the unique and important work of the sector. Learn more about CEP’s leaders here and reach out to Vice President, Programming and External Relations, Grace Nicolette if you have questions about booking a CEP speaker.

Support CEP

We hope you’ll consider supporting CEP this year. If you believe in CEP’s work, and if it benefits you as you seek to do yours, please consider making a contribution as part of your year-end giving. Supporting CEP means supporting more effective philanthropy globally.

New Faces at CEP

This fall, the Assessment and Advisory Services team welcomed aboard Administrative Assistant Sae Allan Darling and Manager Sonia Montoya to the Cambridge, MA office.

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