Editor's Note: Susie Bowie is the director of The Giving Partner, an online platform populated with in-depth information about nonprofits, it helps donors and funders make more informed choices about their giving. The Patterson Foundation partnered with The Giving Partner to create GiveToLegacyofValor.org, an online giving opportunity for 12 Southwest Florida nonprofits.
Knowing the similarities and differences in the vast universe of local nonprofits can be a challenge even for those who live and breathe in the philanthropic sector.
The “aha” tool serving as our local guide is The Giving Partner (www.thegivingpartner.org), an online platform powered by a partnership between GuideStar and local foundations. Populated with in-depth information about nonprofits, it helps donors and funders make more informed choices about their giving.
Hundreds of data points in The Giving Partner provide a working construction site for institutional funders as we seek to understand the current state of nonprofit management.
As 12 local organizations with ongoing programs serving veterans and their families embark on a one-month, unified fundraising campaign in Southwest Florida, philanthropic investors at every level can use the profiles online at www.thegivingpartner.org to understand more about the participating agencies, their accomplishments, finances, governance and management structures, and history in the community.
We ran a few reports to see how the 12 Legacy of Valor organizations compared to the rest of the local nonprofit universe—several hundred charitable organizations with current data in The Giving Partner.
Here are a few findings:
• Board giving.
Nearly 100% of board members of Legacy of Valor organizations are making personal monetary contributions to their respective nonprofits, 16% more than the larger group including all Giving Partner organizations.
• Strategic planning.
Two-thirds of Legacy of Valor organizations have adopted written, board-approved strategic plans to guide their operations. Less than one half of all Giving Partner organizations have adopted strategic plans.
• Reserve fund.
Similarly, two-thirds of Legacy of Valor organizations have a reserve fund, while less than one half of all Giving Partner organizations indicate they have a reserve fund.
• Conflict of interest.
Nearly all Legacy of Valor organizations (92%) have adopted a conflict of interest policy to prohibit personal interests of individual board members from shaping organizational decisions.
Seventy percent (70%) of all Giving Partner organizations have adopted a conflict of interest policy.
We value the commitment to professionalism and strategic positioning inspired by organizations that strive to build engaged boards, shape their work with thoughtful planning documents, cultivate financial health, and make important policies a priority.
Each of these is a process that requires nonprofit organizations (including foundations) to constantly retune their operational instruments to the current environment, develop new strategies where old ones have run their course, and continue nurturing governing boards that lead by example.
As a group, these 12 organizations providing services to assist veterans and their families in our communities are operating a notch above the rest.
Now, let’s get ready to give online at www.givetolegacyofvalor.org!
The Giving Partner is a partnership of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and the Manatee Community Foundation.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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