Helping nonprofits do their work better…

Today, I read Rosetta Thurman’s blog, “Perspectives From the Pipeline,” that resonated with a lot of the conversations that Cedric, Carmen, and I have been having about how the Kapor Foundation can work to help the nonprofits we support to do their work better.  Given that my job’s purpose is to do just that, I was excited to learn about the focus of the blog: a recent report by the Nonprofit Quarterly:  The Nonprofit Quarterly’s Study on (U.S.) Nonprofit and Philanthropic Infrastructure.  This report examines the strengths and weaknesses of the network of supports that exists within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Rosetta mentioned that  a broad definition of nonprofit infrastructure is organizations that provide capacity building, technical assistance, consulting, workshops, training, conferences, advocacy and research for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.  Some examples include Independent Sector, Council of Nonprofits, Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Guidestar, Council on Foundations, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Hispanics in Philanthropy and many others.  The main finding from the paper is that small to midsized nonprofits are often under-represented when it comes to building nonprofit infrastructure.  I’m still reading through the paper, but so far, I find the discussion very interesting and timely.

I’m trying really hard to think of strategies and partners and ideas to make sure that here at the Kapor Foundation, we help strengthen the organizations that we work with who most need it in spite of tough economic times.  I’m looking forward to talking with foundations and nonprofits alike regarding how best to help strengthen both sectors and address the social justice issues we’re striving to alleviate.  I welcome your thoughts!!

Comments 1

  1. I’m really looking forward to reading this report. Small infrastructure organizations are more likely to be working with the grassroots, constituent-based groups that are the backbone of community organizing, advocacy and civic engagement. The new federal stimulus money is needed, but seems to be more appropriate for institutions engaged in services and workforce development.

    The handful of infrastructure organizations concentrating on building power in disenfranchised communities didn’t have a lot of foundation funding in better economic times. The groups we (Environmental Support Center) work with need us more than ever, but they are less likely than they were before to be able to pay the true costs of learning, training, consultation and networking. I hope that the report sparks a creative and productive dialogue within organizations like GEO and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

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