Archiving Your Family Foundation
Get the complete guide to archiving your foundation's history. Includes articles, samples, and resource lists.
- A Shared Perspective on Archives and Family Foundations by Douglas Bakken and Edmund Berkeley, Jr.
This article notes the value of recording the oral history of a foundation by interviewing people who worked at the foundation and/or had other personal ties to it.
- Why Foundation Archives Matter by James Allen Smith
The importance of archiving lies in how we would like individuals in the future to perceive a former organization and learn from both the successes and the failures carried out by the foundation. We must therefore have enough care to preserve the documents that tell the foundation's story.
- Taming the Archival Tiger by Peter Dobkin Hall
Building a foundation's archival history takes planning, but Peter Dobkin Hall argues that it may be essential to an efficient and effective organization in the long run. He notes, for instance, that public policy toward nonprofits depends to a significant extent on what policy-makers know about them. Their knowledge, in turn, is based largely on the work of scholars who use archival collections. Therefore, if nonprofits are not adequately represented in archival collections, they are not likely to receive their due from policy-makers.
- What Do We Keep? By Lee R. Hiltzik
Use these basic guidelines to start your archival process. The author briefly outlines the types of significant administrative, legal, and historical documents to save.
- Digital Archiving: What is Involved
- Thoughts on Establishing Foundation Archives
- Hiring an Archival Consultant
- Plumbing the Past
- Commissioning a History
- PDF as a Standard for Archiving
- Managing Archives and Archival Institutions
- Preserving Archives
- The Oral History Manual
- Archiving Resources
- Record Keeping Policy - Americana Foundation
- Margaret Thatcher Foundation Archives
- Lannan Foundation Audio Archives
Board Composition and Governance
Foundation boards make important organizational decisions. Their cohesiveness and collaborative work are, therefore, fundamental to the success of any family foundation. They lead a foundation in its vision and make leadership appointments that can critically impact the organization.
Communications and PR
Foundations need to carefully consider how they will communicate with the press and the public. These interactions create an image or a brand of the foundation that is seen by the public.
- Building Communities on Twitter
Read the transcript of the Chronicle of Philanthropy's discussion with John Haydon, a marketing consultant for small nonprofit groups in Boston, who has studied how some charities are using Twitter to build meaningful relationships with supporters.
- Why Nonprofits Should Invest More in Advertising by Dan Pallotta
Nonprofit advertising pales in comparison to that of the private sector. In a poignant piece, Pallotta argues that larger and more prevalent ads featuring Darfur, ending AIDS, or curing breast cancer—rather than Hummer, T-Mobile, AT&T, and a host of electronics and furniture retailers—would increase awareness and evoke a sense of urgency to contribute more to these social causes.
- Communicating for Impact by GrantCraft
In this guide, grantmakers explain how they've used communications to advance programmatic goals. They discuss what's involved in developing a strategy, structuring a program, managing relationships, using new media, and evaluating communications activities.
- Publicity for Nonprofits by Sandra Beckwith
Every nonprofit organization needs publicity to drive awareness of its goals. Yet, breaking through the clutter in today's information-overloaded society poses a huge challenge to organizations of all sizes. Beckwith shows how to capture the public's attention with successful publicity strategies designed specifically for nonprofit organizations.
- Marketing Philanthropic Research Knowledge
- Cone Nonprofit Branding
- Web Engagement Strategies
- Foursquare for Charities: Why Location Matters
- Developing a Media Policy
9a. Strengthening Communications (webinar)
- When Foundations and the News Media Connect
- Communication Strategies for Nonprofits
- Developing a Communications Strategy
- Marketing for Foundations and Nonprofits
- Public and Media Relations - Free Management Library
- The Networked Nonprofit
- The Public Relations Handbook for Nonprofits
- Press Release - Stern Foundation
- Press Release - Nord Foundation
There are many approaches to starting or modifying a grant evaluation program. Listed below are stories and articles on how to create an evaluation process that works for your family's philanthropic goals.
Family and Global Philanthropy
Today's generation sees the world as a much smaller entity than older generations did just 20 years ago. Global causes therefore are becoming more popular and the needy, who once were halfway around the globe, are now seen as neighbors in our backyard.
Running an organization in which you are working with other family members can be a challenge. Read the following articles highlighting the dynamics of working so closely with family members.
- A Reflection on the Role of Elders by James E. Hughes, Jr.
Providing a structural formula reflective of that of democratic governments, Hughes illustrates family governance as a vehicle with a legislative, executive, and judicial branch.
- Not Your Father's Foundation by Jessi Hempel
When young philanthropists join their parents on the board of a family foundation, they have their own ideas about what causes to back. The foundation’s work becomes problematic when these ideas aren't the ones favored by their families. Read about how Danielle Durchslag, the great granddaughter of Sara Lee founder Nathan Cummings, encounters this reality when she joins her family’s foundation.
- Effects of Family Culture on Family Foundations by Deanne Stone
In many ways, a family’s culture determines how a family foundation will be run. For example, families that exhibit strong allegiance and strict abidance to family guidelines may look down on progressive actions by younger members. On the other hand, families promoting openness and free ideas may embrace new and differing opinions.
- Family Wealth: Keeping it in the Family by James E. Hughes
A general study of family wealth, this book covers everything from creating a family mission statement to engaging family members in philanthropic efforts.
- Who's on the Board
- Managing Conflict in Family Foundations
- The Trustworthy Person
- Not in the Family
- The Question of Family Relationships
- Resolving Conflict
- Staying Connected While Growing Apart
- Navigating Family Dynamics (webinar)
- Managing Family Dynamics (webinar)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
- Generations of Giving
- The Impact of Family Dynamics (sample documents near end)
- Group Dynamics and Team Building
- Conflict Management
Learn about the different methods of safe investing and management of your foundation’s funds.
Generational succession provides a unique opportunity for younger family members to not only take on a leadership role, but also to make an impact in the greater community.
Today’s grantmaking is strategic and involves a concrete plan. Strategies used for one type of grantmaking do not necessarily prove effective for another type of grantmaking. Delve into the topics below to strengthen your own grantmaking.
- Is it Nice to Share? by Foundation News
So much of what foundations do—evaluating proposals, weighing the pros and cons of ongoing programs—is inherently confidential. But when a funder collaborates with others, is it generally understood that all information on a grantee will be shared? At the same time, are there ever special considerations to be made when handling information about a grantee that is negative?
- Small Grants make Creative Grants by Carrie Avery
Carrie Avery, president of The Durfee Foundation, shares strategies about running small grantgiving programs. Small grants are not necessarily given only to small foundations, nor do they always result in the typical projects that foundations might see with small grants. Rather, Avery believes that small grants make creative and impactful grants.
- Approaches to Grantmaking: Developing a Family Strategy by William J. O’Neill Jr.
O’Neill covers three important topics about grantmaking strategy: why have a strategy, how a strategy is developed, and what is a strategy. He concludes by demonstrating how these strategies have helped to further his own foundation’s mission.
- Capacity Building Strategies by the Council on Foundations
Capacity building is called many things—offering technical assistance, increasing sustainability, funding infrastructure. Yet capacity building by any name still benefits nonprofits more than project funding, or so the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (MRBF) says. Through its Organizational Development program, MRBF helps organizations build the internal capacity to be the most effective they can be and to sustain themselves over time.
4a. Creative Grantmaking (webinar)
4b. Giving Grantees a Voice (webinar)
- A Colleagues Perspective on Grantmaking Issues for Family Foundations
- Choosing a Grantmaking Style
- Ten Tips for a Wise Grantmaker
- Grantmaking from the Grassroots
- Horse Manure and Grantmaking
- Setting Up Scholarship Funds
- Tips for Effective Grantee Relations
- Capacity Building Begins at Home
- How to "Do" Capacity Building
- Jargon Watch: Featured Buzzword: Capacity
- When Capacity-Building Grants Flatline
- Don't Spread It Thin
- The Long and the Short of It
- Good to the Core
- Set Up or Support?
- Going to the Next Level
- Capacity Building for Small Foundations
- Performance Counts
- How Do You Grow Your Garden?
- Collaboration Approaches for Smaller Foundations
- Nonprofits Working Together
- How Foundations Learn to Collaborate
- World Bank and Foundations - Good Practices for Partnerships
- Nonprofit Leaders Need Collaboration Skills
Public Policy Grantmaking
- A Strategy That Pays Off
- Making Welfare to Work Work
- It's That Time Again
- Making Grant Dollars Go Further
- It's a Wide Spectrum
- What the Law Allows
- Getting Involved in Public Policy: A Guide for Board Members and Trustees (webinar)
- Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker
- Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics: A Field Guide for Funders
Sample Documents for Grantmaking
- Grant Guidelines
- Common Grant Application - Council of Michigan Foundations
- Common Grant Application - Minnesota Council on Foundations
- Grant Acceptance Letter
- Grant Declination Letters
- Agreement Letter
- Expenditure Responsibility Grant Agreement and Pre-Grant Inquiry
- Foreign Grant Expenditure Responsibility Letter
- Gathering Collaboration Invite Letter
Legal and Tax Issues
Understanding the ever-changing legal issues associated with private foundations is one of the most complicated aspects of managing a family foundation. The following documents provide a broad overview of some of the most common legal problems.
- Family Foundations and the Law by the Council on Foundations
Family Foundations and the Law provides legal advice for members of family foundations through the use of easy-to-understand explanations. The author identifies and explores a number of laws regarding family foundations, including charitable deductions, excise taxes, self-dealing, minimum payouts, international grantmaking, and the 990-PF.
- Top 10 Ways Family Foundations Get Into Trouble by the Council on Foundations
Getting in trouble with the law can happen relatively easily. For example, salaries above federal compensation guidelines for nonprofits, paying rent to disqualified persons for use of their offices, and taking family members on foundation travel at the foundation’s expense are all ways that family foundations can run into problems with the law.
- Private Foundations: Tax Law and Compliance by Bruce R. Hopkins and Jody Blazek
This book is a resource for family foundations at all stages in the life cycle, whether individuals are thinking about starting a foundation for the first time or closing foundation doors after years of operation. The book delivers informative explanations and useful samples of various tax forms.
3a. Avoiding Conflicts of Interest (webinar)
- Conflict of Interest Overview
- Legal Basics
- Self-Dealing - Guide for Foundation Board and Staff
- Payout and Public Policy Issues
- Excess Benefit Rules Provide way to Avoid Penalty
- IRS 501(c)(3) Exemption Requirements
- How to Avoid Self-Dealing
- Private Foundation Law Made Easy
- Legal Answer Book for Private Foundations
- Private Foundation - Charter
- Private Foundation - Declaration of Trust
- Conflict of Interest 1
- Conflict of Interest 2
- Generic Trust Agreement
- Whistleblower Policy
Management issues involve topics such as staffing, evaluation, compensation, and benefits. Choose from an array of resources designed to help you meet these challenges.
- Managing Your Family Foundation: Consider the Options by the Council on Foundations
There is no single best way to manage a family foundation. Each family creates its own rules and structures for its foundation, allowing for a variety of management styles.
However, as different as management styles may be, this article focuses on three basic factors that are integral in developing a management model: the nature of the foundation’s grantmaking, the skills and experience of its board members, and the costs of management.
- What Drives Foundation Expenses and Compensation by the Urban Institute, the Foundation Center, and GuideStar
This report presents final results from the Foundation Expenses and Compensation Project—the first large-scale, long-term, systematic study of independent, corporate, and community foundations’ expense and compensation patterns and the factors behind them.
- Family Foundation Staffing Models Excerpt from Management, from the Family Foundation Library Series
This includes examples of models that are used for staffing family foundations. Many families use variations on these models or a combination of them. Any of them can be effective, depending on what is important to the family.
- Linking Payout and Mission by the Aspen Institute
Among the challenges facing those engaged in grantmaking, none is more daunting than aligning a foundation’s charitable work with its financial resources. Matching payout to mission requires a commitment at a foundation’s highest levels, from presidents and other key staff officials to boards of directors and their investment and program committees.
Expenses and Spending
- How Operating Characteristics Affect Spending
- Trends in Administrative Expenses
- Family Foundation Staffing, Salaries and Benefits
- Best Practices in Determining Executive Compensation
- Issues for Nonfamily Staff
- Family vs. Nonfamily Management
- In Training
- Foundation Internship Programs
- A Shared Perspective on Management Issues for Family Foundations
- Fundamental Steps for Investment Management
- Wise Hiring
- Three Funders
- The Guide to Small Foundation Management
- Foundation Policy Manual
- Employee Performance Appraisal
- Administrative Expenses Chart
- Code of Ethics
- Position Description - President / CEO
- Position Description - Executive Director
- Position Description - Family Foundation Comptroller
- Position Description - Family Foundation Sr. Program Manager
- Position Description - Family Foundation Program Officer
- Position Description - Family Foundation Information Manager
Next Generation Philanthropy
To secure a dynamic future for the field of philanthropy, we need to engage young philanthropic leaders and provide them with the appropriate skills and leadership opportunities to blossom in the sector.
- Trading Power by the Council on Foundations
Trading Power examines themes of multigenerational leadership challenges in today’s philanthropy, including the perceived lack of leadership opportunities for Next Gen; what each generation can learn while working together; and why and how to engage a new generation of philanthropic leaders and welcome them to the decision-making table.
- Ready to Lead by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Meyer Foundation, idealist.org, and Compass Point
As the Baby Boomers retire from their nonprofit leadership positions over the coming decades and the labor market grows ever tighter, how will the nonprofit sector attract the most committed and talented individuals? What would draw members of Generation X and Generation Y to positions that typically offer long hours for short pay?
- The Giving Family by Susan Crites Price
This book outlines eight specific steps parents, grandparents, teachers, religious leaders, and other adults can take to instill the spirit of giving and volunteering in children ages 5 to 18. It explains how children can learn philanthropy in and out of the home, how young people can become involved with nonprofit groups as advisers or board members, and how parents can learn from the experiences of family foundations.
- Beyond Duty and Obligation
- Overcoming Entitlement and Raising Responsible Next Generation Family Members
- Family Charities Get Focused
- Guiding a New Generation of Philanthropists
- Generation Change
- Growing up Giving
- Next Generation and Governance
- Succession Planning for OUR Next Generation
- Get Involved with Resource Generation's Family Philanthropy Program
- Next Generation in Philanthropy
- Young People in Philanthropy Resources from Resource Generation and 21/64
Perpetuity vs. Limited Life
Some donors believe that their giving should be focused on the social ills and problems of their generation, while others view the continuation of giving beyond their lifetime as a valuable resource to society. Deciding whether a foundation will exist in perpetuity or have a limited life is an important decision that every family foundation needs to consider since such a choice will alter a foundation’s strategy and governance.
Philanthropy and the Recession
The current recession has undoubtedly affected everyone within the philanthropic sector, from donors to grantee nonprofit organizations. See how foundations are dealing with and overcoming the challenges of the economic recession.
Site Visit Companion
When a foundation has a limited amount of time and resources, site visits are usually one of the first things to be reconsidered. Many, however, argue that site visits are crucial to the grantmaking process as well as the success of any grantgiving program. Evaluating an organization in real life, compared to seeing one on paper, can result in two very different nonprofits.
Social Media and Technology
Technology is not only changing the way people live their daily lives. It is also transforming the way foundations and nonprofits solicit donors and interact with the public.
Training new trustees ensures that they understand their new board responsibilities, the foundation’s mission, and how to carry out their appointment efficiently.
Values, Vision, Mission
A values statement reflects the core principles that ground an organization, while a vision and a mission statement define the purpose of your philanthropy—what you hope to accomplish in the future, and what you plan to accomplish in the present, respectively.
- Values, Vision, and Mission by Elaine Gast
Learn about the differences between a foundation’s values, vision, and mission.
- Articulating the Foundation's Mission by Newell Flather, Mary Philips, and Jean Whitney
A foundation’s mission changes constantly. Depending on the board members and the times we are living in, the foundation’s mission can change to help an organization be flexible and to meet the demands of changing times.
- A Colleague's Perspective on Mission and Vision Statements by William Graustein
Graustein, a trustee of the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, describes what a mission statement means for him, especially when his foundation’s assets increased about a hundred fold.
- The Strategic Planning Session by Jerry J. McCoy and Kathryn W. Miree
Writing a mission statement is not easy. The best approach is to gather the board members in a strategic planning session and to prepare them for the task ahead. One way to prepare the group is to provoke thought on the mission of the foundation through a questionnaire.
- Values at Play
- Charity Really Does Begin at Home: Nurturing Family Values
6a. The Development of Mission and Values Statements for Family Foundations (webinar)
- Turning Values into Vision
- Sharing the Vision
- 2010 Perpetuity and Sunset Dates
- 2010 Spending Out-Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan Resources
- Developing a Mission Statement: Board Step-By-Step Option
- Developing a Mission Statement - The Board Retreat Option
- Articulating the Foundation's Mission
- Communicating Missions to the Public***
- Many Benefits to Utilizing a Family Mission Statement
Sample Value, Vision, and Mission Statements
- The Grotto Foundation
- The Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation
- The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
- The William Penn Foundation
Working with Advisers/Consultants
Help from advisers and/or philanthropic consultants can bring more efficiency to your grantmaking organization. Most philanthropic advisers have experience in the field and can provide help on a variety of topics.