Category Archives: Social Change

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (Summer 2017)

[We are continuing our series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences, and let us know of others you’d like to share!]

As we shifted into summer, we saw movers and shakers around the world come together to create, discuss, and implement solutions for current world challenges.

This year’s +Impact East Conference focused on workplace giving and volunteering. America’s Charities released preliminary findings from their Snapshot2017 survey of more than 1,500 employee donors. They noted that workplace giving is alive and thriving, and that a winning recruitment and retention strategy is emphasizing employee community engagement, such as paid time off to volunteer, company match, and volunteer service grants. Other issues explored included a presentation by actress Nzinga Blake, who explained the secret ingredients of storytelling for social impact: the why, what’s at stake, and the call to action. Everyone (staff, volunteers, clients, etc.) loves a good story and can take inspiration from it!

The Social Innovation Summit 2017 in Chicago brought together innovative thinkers and global leaders to develop and advance the most impactful social partnerships. In one workshop discussion, participants shared ideas for scaling successful innovations on a global level, including how to invest time and resources into identifying local partners in your communities who share your visions and understanding how initiatives with similar visions can complement each other, rather than compete.

We heard from Van Jones how “There are two political parties in the country: The ‘Give a Damn’ party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ party.” With the overall agreement that now is the time to do something, we realized the importance of blending our passions with our frustrations. One important reminder is that we all have a seat at the table to make significant changes because it is up to us to solve the problems of our time. Continue reading

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (April 2017)

We are introducing a new ongoing series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. Our team is actively engaged in helping to create a better world and one way we can help is to share the stories and visions of like-minded individuals and organizations. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences and we would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations about other learning opportunities.

The month of April brought us better weather and a wealth of information from conferences in England to ones in Durham, NC and Philadelphia.

Media relations and marketing were the focal point at the Create Good Conference. “Offering a creative space for nonprofit communications professionals to ‘get the tools to get to work,’” the conference hosted workshops ranging from grassroots organizing and marketing to Millennials to the future and effectiveness of nonprofit communications. Keynote speaker, Shanelle Matthews, Director of Communications for Black Lives Matter, reminded us that “Mass communications is changing. Gmail has a 4% open rate. Remember that next time you send an email.” We can all work to inspire each other and help better the communities that we want to live in.

Continue reading

My latest journal article: “Time to Reclaim Your Power in Funder Relationships”

If you are involved in grantseeking, you are probably familiar with the Grassroots Fundraising Journal (or should be!). Published by the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, the journal contains articles to promote the connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building.

I have a full-length article in the January-February issue, titled “Time to Reclaim Your Power in Funder Relationships.” The piece reminds us that funders rely on nonprofits to fulfill their missions, and offers tips for interrupting the lopsided power dynamics that often plague those relationships. Check it out here!

(To get you started, I reprinted the first several paragraphs below.)

GRANT FUNDING HAS A LOT TO DO WITH POWER. Who has the money, who gets the money, and what are the dynamics between the two groups?

At first glance, it can definitely appear that foundations and other funders hold all the cards when it comes to their relationships with grantseekers. After all, grantmakers control the funds and seem to have complete discretion over how the money is doled out.

As a grantseeker, you may feel like you’re begging with a virtual tin cup. By accepting this position of powerlessness, you may hope funders take pity on you. Or maybe you will learn to answer their questions with the answers they want to hear. If they visit your organization, you often find yourself bending over backwards to please them. You would never think of biting (or even challenging) the hand that may feed you. Continue reading

New Case study for Conscious Capitalism Bay Area: Lifelong Journey

I recently interviewed James White, a lifelong “conscious capitalist,” even before that term was invented.

For decades, he has been on the forefront of focusing on the Triple Bottom Line: people, planet, and profits. And because I am a writer and editor involved with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Conscious Capitalism movement, I have started blogging for the group.

Yes, I have worked with and for nonprofits since childhood, because they focus on social change and making the world a better place for all.

But in the past few decades we have seen the phenomenal growth of for-profit entities that also seek the Triple Bottom Line: social mission businesses, social enterprises, green businesses, purpose-driven business, etc. In fact, I just attended Sustainatopia, a large international conference along those same lines.

I am thrilled to see the vast shift in today’s businesses world, as it adapts to the demands of people like you and me. We’re insisting on doing business as UNusual — that is, for the benefit of humanity and the environment. No longer is the nonprofit world the only place to participate in this work.

My first blog post for the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Conscious Capitalism movement is a good place to begin to explore this world.

The article starts out like this: Continue reading

Ask Dalya: Do funders hold all the cards in grant relationships?

Question: It seems that foundations and other funders hold all the cards in power relationships with grantseekers. Is that true?

Answer:

At first glance, it definitely can appear that way. It may feel like you are “begging for money” with a virtual tin cup. You may even get nervous when you prepare to speak with a funder one-on-one.

That’s totally understandable. (FYI, many foundation program officers used to be in grantseekers’ shoes so they can empathize with your sweaty palms.)

But while grantmakers hold the purse strings, by no means are they the only ones in the relationship who should be confident, empowered professionals.

Look closely at the situation. Continue reading