“The movement towards outcomes-driven philanthropy has done a lot to diminish creativity,” concluded one CEO at a recent GMA Foundations’ NPO Conversation on creativity. At this regular lunchtime forum, leaders of seven Boston-area nonprofits were asked to open up about their organization’s most creative moments, their innovation wish list for 2012, and obstacles to organizational creativity. Judging by the conversation, creativity and innovation are still essential to the daily existence of these organizations. The question, though, remains: Is outcomes-driven philanthropy affecting creativity?
Funders, nonprofit journalists and academics gathered this week at the Council on Foundations convention in Los Angeles to discuss challenges nonprofit news outlets face in getting charitable 501c3 status. It’s part of a project called the Nonprofit Media Working Group, a partnership between Knight Foundation and the Council.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Madonna. Really, I do. But for a while there, anytime I searched the topic of global philanthropy, the only news that surfaced focused on Madonna and her effort to build a number of schools in Malawi. I’m not saying it’s not important or that she’s not doing great work, but come on philanthropy! We all know that there is a lot more going on out there than that. Why should Madonna get all the press?
Wayne Gretzky famously said that a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. These are instructive words for philanthropic foundations and other groups confronting fundamental and rapid shifts in the communication landscape. Two disruptive forces are reshaping the terrain on which our public dialogue takes place: digital communication technology and the unraveling of traditional journalism. This is of enormous consequence for social sector organizations whose effectiveness relies in part on a functioning, well-informed public debate on issues such as health, education, the economy, global development and the environment.
The nonprofit sector as a whole has the opportunity to harness the power of innovation to improve the quality of service delivery.” That’s one of the key findings from “Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services,”a new research report from MAP for Nonprofits funded by the ADC Foundation and researched by Idealware.
Like many of us, I hate to lose when I play a game, whether it is cards, sports, or video games. The serious online game Catalysts for Change that I invite you to play this week (April 3- 5) counts on the playful and competitive nature in all of us to propose, debate, and improve on ideas that have the power to change the lives of poor or vulnerable communities around the world. Organized by the Institute for the Future, the game aims to tap the innovative imagination of young gamers as well as NGO practitioners, entrepreneurs, and experts to envision what could be done to address some of the world’s biggest problems.
At the invitation of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Games for Change is part of the curatorial team introducing a new theme around games that will run throughout the Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations. CoF is a national non-profit, membership association whose members’ collective assets exceed $300 billion. The Conference attracts over 1,000. We see it as an important opportunity to showcase concrete examples of the manner in which games are supporting philanthropic investments and can be used effectively as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.
Attending this week’s annual Knight Foundation Media Learning Seminar in Miami, we were struck not only by how much has been accomplished by the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), but also by how much the conversation has evolved. It was just a few years ago that Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced the KCIC and its Knight Information Challenge Grant program during the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations. This open invitation encouraged community foundations and other place-based funders to help local community media discover and define their community’s information needs.
As community foundations become active leaders in local news and information, many are learning they don’t need to go it alone. A variety of different partnership models are emerging and they are detailed in a new report by FSG for Knight Foundation.
A report underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has found that this donor is younger and more likely to be African-American or Latino than traditional donors. Moreover, new donors often use their mobile phones to make contributions through text messaging that is inspired by moving and sometimes distressing stories about people in crisis.