Making a Conference Worth Attending

The following is a revised and updated version of a post that originally appeared on the CEP Blog in March 2015. It is posted here as part of our Rewind series. Like anyone who spends a lot of time on the conference circuit, I’ve sat through a lot of dud sessions and conferences, as well...
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How Three Funders Cultivate Better Understandings of their Fields

This post delves into findings from CEP’s report, Lessons from the Field: From Understanding to Impact, a series of case studies that provides an in-depth look at how three foundations work to cultivate an understanding of the fields in which they work — and then turn that understanding into more effective grantmaking. This post originally appeared on the blog in December 2010. It…

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Nonprofits Think Foundations Can Do More to Help with Their Challenges

This post, delving into data from the 2013 CEP report, Nonprofit Challenges: What Foundations Can Do, originally appeared on the blog in October 2013. It is reposted here as part of our Rewind blog series. Nonprofits want more than just money from foundations. Grantees see other, crucial opportunities for foundations to help them. This is…

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7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Foundation Boards

This 2012 post on foundation governance was for a long time the most widely read on the CEP blog. We are re-posting it here today as part of our “Blog Rewind” series for those who didn’t see it back then — or for those who want a refresher on what habits boards should avoid. In my work…

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Business Knows Best … or Not

This piece was originally posted in January 2020. The past two decades have seen a shift in the conversation about philanthropy. We entered the 2000s being told that what philanthropy needed was a “business” or “investor” mindset, with less clarity of course about what exactly that even meant. The first decade of the 2000s was the...
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Philanthropy’s Role in a Better Future

This piece was originally posted on January 8, 2021, two days after violent attacks on the Capitol. Today, with the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack hearings underway, we revisit that moment, and what philanthropy can do to strengthen democracy. The events of January 6 were infuriating. The world doesn’t especially need...
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Re-Purposing Foundation Boards

This piece was originally posted in March 2021. Philanthropy is not like investing. Nonprofits are not like business. Even the most casual reader of this blog or occasional follower of CEP’s work has heard me make this argument many times (too many, you might be thinking). But repeating this message matters. And nowhere does recognizing these simple facts...
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We Are All Disaster Philanthropists

This piece was originally posted in October 2020. At the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), we say that all philanthropists are disaster philanthropists seeking to strengthen communities. Prior to 2020, this adage was a way to remind donors that no matter their focus or mission, there was a tie-in for them in supporting a community’s response...
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Giving Is Not Like Investing

This post, which originally appeared on Giving Compass, is excerpted and adapted from Phil’s book, Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count. I remember sitting in a second-year elective course as an MBA student at Harvard Business School nearly two decades ago, listening to a guest lecturer describe how the “venture philanthropy” organization...
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