Community Foundations Series from The James Irvine Foundation

The Community Foundations Series is based on knowledge gained from Irvine's multiyear investment in a group of small, growing community foundations in California. It features practical information, examples, and tools that community foundations can use to help plan for growth and maximum impact in their communities.

This collection forms a significant body of knowledge that can benefit community foundations everywhere and holds particular relevance for the youngest and smallest members of the field.

Learning to Lead: The Journey to Community Leadership for Emerging Community Foundations  

When done well, community leadership can provide enormous benefits for a community foundation and the community it serves. But how can emerging community foundations define their leadership opportunity, role, and first steps? How can they lead meaningfully with limited resources? This paper, developed by FSG, addresses these questions and includes lessons, examples, and planning resources generated through the experiences of a group of small, growing community foundations in California.

Sizing Up: Strategies for Staffing Emerging Community Foundations  

Newer or smaller community foundations are especially dependent on the quality of staff to get a foothold on success. But many organizations struggle to achieve big results with limited operating resources. This paper, developed by Sutherland-Edwards, presents principles employed by a group of small, growing community foundations in California and illustrates the priorities and personalities that were drivers of specific staffing approaches.

On Board: Engaging the Full Potential of Community Foundation Directors  

An engaged board is critical for a community foundation to achieve its greatest level of impact. But how can an emerging community foundation encourage board members to be fully engaged in helping the organization grow and fulfill its mission? This paper, developed by FSG, addresses this important question and presents a summary of roles and techniques for involving board members, as well as testimonials and tools drawn from the experience of a group of small, growing community foundations in California.

The Four Ps of Marketing: A Roadmap to Greater Visibility for Community Foundations  

Visibility is vital to community foundations as they seek to gain credibility and attract new resources. But how can younger and smaller community foundations best use their limited marketing budgets? What audiences should they target first? How important is broad public awareness — and how much investment does it merit? This paper, written by Williams Group, addresses these questions and offers a tested model along with relevant examples and worksheets to help any community foundation create and manage its marketing program. (January 2011)

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Reaching Out: Board Ambassadors for Growth in Community Foundations  

It’s commonly known that board members can help community foundations grow assets and impact. But the trick is to help them engage fully — and confidently — as ambassadors who connect their community foundation to new donors and other key audiences. This paper, written by Williams Group, presents five essential elements in nurturing board ambassadors, and provides examples as well as tested exercises and tools to help strengthen board ambassadors in any community foundation. (January 2011)

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Growing Smarter: Achieving Sustainability in Emerging Community Foundations  

It’s a striking paradox: As community foundations grow their assets, their sustainability is often threatened. Younger and smaller community foundations can define a solid pathway to growth, and this paper, written by FSG, can help. It describes case studies and economic models that can inform community foundations of virtually any size. It also includes an executive summary and discussion guide, as well as an overview presentation introducing core concepts for board members. (October 2007)

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