Resets, Balance, and the Future of Philanthropy

Heather Gowdy // Thursday, July 24, 2014

Resets, Balance, and the Future of Philanthropy

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Barr Foundation’s Jim Canales challenges fellow foundation leaders to reset their default attitudes. Touching on key issues such as data and metrics, and the tension between being a leader and being part of something bigger, he encourages funders to consider new ways of thinking, doing, and being. We saw similar themes emerge in a project we undertook with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, where we found that the philanthropic sector must master the art of balance, as they are increasingly challenged to manage two seemingly contradictory ideas or approaches simultaneously.  

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Categories: Foundations, Change Management, Trends

Making Decisions or Making Nice?

La Piana Consulting // Thursday, July 17, 2014

Making Decisions or Making Nice?

What are some of the barriers to getting past just making nice and instead making a decision to partner? And how can nonprofit leaders recognize and overcome these obstacles?

We have worked with a number of groups of organizations seeking assistance in identifying collaborative opportunities. Usually, there is no overt funder pressure or acute crisis involved, so the benefit is that the potential partners can approach collaboration in a proactive way, rather than being compelled to it. The problem is that an alliance is then seen as "nice," but not "necessary," and the tendency is for the conversation to focus on low-risk collaborative ventures where none of the organizations has any real skin in the game and there is little hope or expectation of real impact. 

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Categories: Nonprofits, Change Management, Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring

In Appreciation of the Interim ED

David La Piana // Tuesday, July 08, 2014

In Appreciation of the Interim ED

An interim executive director can be a great idea for an organization whose incumbent leader has departed, or is planning to retire, and the board is considering whether to merge with another organization or to recruit its own next CEO. There is a natural rush to find a new leader in this situation, but the interim solution can give the board time to explore a partnership.

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Categories: Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring, Leadership

Building More Powerful Organizations

La Piana Consulting // Thursday, June 26, 2014

Building More Powerful Organizations

Every day, we get to work with nonprofits that are dedicated to creating a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world. Many of these organizations are reaching a kind of midlife crisis, or at least an inflection point at which the old rules seem to no longer apply. That prompts us to reflect on where we have been and what comes next.

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Categories: Nonprofits, Change Management, Trends

Getting to Know the Team: Lester Olmstead-Rose

Lara Hoke // Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting to Know the Team: Lester Olmstead-Rose

This blog post is part of our ongoing series introducing the La Piana team. This week I spoke with Lester Olmstead-Rose. Lester joined La Piana Consulting in 2005 and is based in San Francisco, CA.

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Categories: Our Team

Getting to Know the Team: An Interview with Brenda de Santiago-Stewart

Lara Hoke // Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting to Know the Team: An Interview with Brenda de Santiago-Stewart

This blog post is part of our ongoing series introducing the La Piana team. This week I spoke with Brenda de Santiago-Stewart. Brenda joined La Piana Consulting in 2011 and is based in Providence, RI. 

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Categories: Our Team

What Do You Read to Lead?

David La Piana // Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Do You Read to Lead?

I strongly recommend Elevate to any nonprofit leader, worker, or funder. As always when reading a business book, you have to translate it into the nonprofit context, weigh which ideas are relevant or helpful, and then look for a few ideas that were new to you and that you can apply in your work. This book survives that test.

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Categories: Business Planning, Commentary, Strategic Planning, Trends

Nonprofits’ Fractured Partnership with Government

Jo DeBolt // Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Nonprofits’ Fractured Partnership with Government

The Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy recently issued its National Study of Nonprofit-Government Contracts and Grants 2013: State Profiles. In the introduction to the study the authors say, “Governments and nonprofit organizations partner to provide needed services in communities across the country. Contracts and grants are the mechanisms governments use to fund these partnerships.” Reading the report, one can only conclude that government at all levels is a lousy partner.

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Categories: Nonprofits, Trends

Nonprofit Branding and Identity: What’s In a Name?

La Piana Consulting // Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nonprofit Branding and Identity: What’s In a Name?

The work involved in a nonprofit merger is significant, and its potential is profound. It is important to recognize the role of identity and branding in setting the stage for success.

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Categories: Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring, Our Clients

Let Go What No Longer Serves You (or Your Organization)

Melissa Mendes Campos // Monday, May 19, 2014

Let Go What No Longer Serves You (or Your Organization)

Typically, we train our focus on what new skills, practices, or resources we need to acquire in order to be more effective leaders, boards, and organizations. And this is important, but it is equally important to ask ourselves what we should leave behind. 

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Categories: Commentary
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