Author Archives: summergathercole

Sometimes We Forget the Basics

In working with entities that are trying to develop a long-term growth plan, I often ask what story they want to tell in 5 years (or 30, depending on the type of project). Sometimes I ask them to write the … Continue reading

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Who Does This?!!

I recently attended a meeting in Pueblo, Colorado. The local workforce center was holding its regularly-scheduled meeting with its partners. The people sitting around the table represented the local Department of Human Services, Voc Rehab, the community college, and an … Continue reading

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Every Nonprofit Board is Unique

Nonprofit Boards change over time. And they should. As your organization changes, the governance needed to help ensure success requires a different level of commitment, as well as expertise and knowledge. I’ll never forget the meeting when I got into … Continue reading

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What If This Nonprofit Had Said, “We’re Struggling”

Last year, I conducted a site visit in D.C. with a nonprofit that had submitted a relatively large funding request to a foundation. It was fairly well known that the organization had been struggling. The Post had written a few … Continue reading

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Maybe the Community Doesn’t Want You

Now, more than ever, I am hearing about foundations implementing various community engagement activities. This was also highlighted in GEO’s recent report, “Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?” Foundations want – and should—involve the community in various aspects of their work. But … Continue reading

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Sustainability: The Nonprofit Joke

I recently had lunch with a nonprofit Executive Director (ED) who was lamenting about “sustainability” in the nonprofit sector. I empathized with her. It is always a question that funders ask, and yet there are few good answers. I remember … Continue reading

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What if Foundations Didn’t Measure their Own Impact?

I recently met with the VP of a large foundation, who shared that they were struggling to define their “impact.” I applaud them for having the conversation, which can be a challenging one. Nowadays, everyone wants to talk about outcomes … Continue reading

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Only Funders Can Change Their Own Behavior

When airlines first started introducing Wi-Fi on planes many years ago, I loathed the idea. I appreciated the quiet, uninterrupted time to read, respond to emails that wouldn’t be sent until we landed, and update my “to do” list. Now … Continue reading

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Nonprofits Need to Make Smarter Decisions

I’ve had several strong reactions lately to all sorts of news. The #metoo campaign and seemingly never-ending apologies coming from men makes me sad. The dwindling relationship with North Korea has me scared and starting to stock up on water. … Continue reading

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Dear Co-Impact: Please Work!

In recent conversations, I have not been shy about my opinion that funders need to collaborate more. That is exactly why I am so excited to hear about Co-Impact, a new effort in collaborative philanthropy that brings together donors from … Continue reading

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