Writings

Institutional Racism: It’s Hard to See Racism When You’re White

If institutional barriers to fairness is the problem in our systems of economic development, justice, school-to-life pathways, etc., then how…

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Looking for Evidence of Success: Follow the Action

A curious donor will wonder where they might see signs that their donation is “making a difference.”  My simple answer:…

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Nonprofit Development and Evaluation: The Untold Story of Who Benefits from Nonprofit Programs

It’s a nonprofit’s responsibility – and opportunity – to understand and help others appreciate its own  construct of effectiveness in…

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How To Save The World: Evaluating Your Choices

“The world isn’t going to be saved overnight, or in a year, or with the one just-right program or policy. It’s people that will save the world, working in a smart accumulation of efforts that together make progress against specific substantial goals.” Steven E. Mayer

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Rural Mainstreet Radio Evaluation Standards – A New Introduction

Creating one’s own evaluation standards is good practice for any nonprofit, whether given special authorization or not. It creates opportunities…

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Saving the Babies: Looking Upstream for Solutions – A New Introduction

Your foundation’s grantmaking guidelines reflect your Board’s choice of philanthropic strategy, whether you meant them to or not.  Do your…

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Supporting Low-Income Neighborhood Organizations: A Guide for Community Foundations – A New Introduction

Projects that work well and produce good outcomes are more likely to capture the eye of funders.  Good outcomes in…

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The Assets Model of Community Development – A New Introduction

The assets view is a growth model.  It’s constructive, creative, and progressive. The “assets model of community development,” as distinct…

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Wanted: Better Evaluation Practices for a Better Philanthropy – A New Introduction

Both philanthropic effectiveness and nonprofit management need the field of evaluation to make more progress in measuring the ways systems…

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What is a Disadvantaged Group? – A New Introduction

Being disadvantaged, we learned, does not mean being born a particular way.  Instead, being disadvantaged is the result of an…

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Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations – A New Introduction

Increasing the abilities of its region’s nonprofits should be on the agenda of every community foundation. Building Community Capacity: the…

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Evaluation Court: A Mock Trial to Judge Program Effectiveness – A New Introduction

Proof of program effectiveness beyond a reasonable doubt? Let a jury decide.  Is traditional social science the only way to…

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Stand Your Ground: A Deadly New Racial Disparity

It will take activist nonprofits and activist funders to insist on fairness in law enforcement and law enactment.  The killing…

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Becoming more like a business?

Why “Becoming More Like a Business” Is NOT the Solution for Nonprofits

It doesn’t really matter whether you can quantify your results.  What matters is that you rigorously assemble evidence – quantitative or…

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Making a difference

Philanthropic Effectiveness: What “Making a Difference” Really Means

Effective philanthropy can mean doing good and “making a difference” at different levels – the individual level, the community level,…

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