The purpose of the course I created for and teach annually at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is to create a framework to conceptualize and subsequently engage in development as an integral component of capacity building. Development conveys the significant scope of strategic planning and creative yet disciplined execution required for effective sustainable results. I designed the course for those who engage in development from any perspective: as a grant maker or seeker – individual, corporate, foundation, NGO or other – at global, national or local levels. My premise is that development is most successful when approached within the synergy of overall institutional organizational coherence. This principle holds true at all times, but is particularly significant during difficult economic times like the present, when everyone must create the maximum leverage out of all activities. That includes many vital aspects for effective development and this course will explore in-depth four critical components:
- Core Mission: clear jointly-shared understanding of and adherence to values, purpose and goals in forming strategies and engaging in development activities.
- Internet Tools and Platforms: innovative use of many powerful web-based options to enhance development and all other organizational initiatives exponentially.
- Integrated Organizational Leadership: strong horizontal and vertical integration to plan, direct, implement and monitor development within a comprehensive framework.
- Different Donor Perspectives: firm grasp of what philanthropists from multiple sectors find compelling and their guiding motivations to increase development effectiveness
Tues 5/26 – Core Mission
Everyone supporting an organization, collectively “the stakeholders” (i.e.: managers, staff, board, volunteers, donors, allies and partners) sharing a clear understanding of and adhering to its core mission is critical for success. While most organizations have a written mission statement, all too often the stakeholders are vague about it. They find themselves losing focus and, although working hard, not achieving their purpose, vision and goals. We will explore ways to ensure that internal decisions are made and external communications are disseminated to advance the organization’s core mission. We will include an analysis of the types of initial efforts you can engage in to help stakeholders shape, feel ownership of and be guided by mission in their respective endeavors. We also will assess methods to regularly realign with mission as the gold standard for ongoing activities. I will lead this opening four-hour dialogue and will facilitate presentations and dialogue among guest panelists for subsequent four-hour segments.
Tues 6/2 – Internet tools and platforms
In every sector including nonprofit, the Internet is changing how things are done at warp speed, exponentially increasing organizations’ ability to be effective regardless of their size or physical location. Social networking has become the currency of the day, explosively and creatively offering ever-new ways to build community around a cause (e.g.: Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, etc.). Access to news and information has become instantaneous (e.g.: Wikipedia, on-line databases, Google and other search engines, etc.) We will explore the myriad tools and platforms that cutting-edge practitioners are pioneering as the latest methods of gathering information from and of reaching out to target audiences. Just a few years ago, this segment was called “e-Philanthropy” and focused on email, instant messages or “donate now” links but now the frontier is wildly expanding. Guest panelists include Frankie Cheung, Senior Business Analyst DonorsChoose.org; Sarah Durham, Principal and Frounder BigDuck and Danny Moldovan, Vice President Strategy & Communications Change.org
Tues 6/9 – Integrated Organizational Leadership
As per course premise, development does not take place in a vacuum; it is intertwined inextricably with every aspect of the comprehensive institutional integrity. The professionalism and clarity of each element (or lack thereof) has impact on all others; and affirmation of linkage among them will affect significantly overall efficiency and productivity. Whether start-ups or organizations with long histories, frequently a common “silo” mentality cripples their efforts. Senior managers and staff from different departments are disconnected from the work of their colleagues, board members and other volunteers unaware of what paid professionals actually are doing and vice versa. The whole always is greater than the sum of the parts: leveraged synergy advances specific sub-objectives. We will explore how to create and sustain horizontal and vertical collaboration for integrated organizational leadership. Guest panelists include Kofi Boateng, COO Africa America Institute; Bill Bohnett, Board member Synergos Institute; and Kona Goulet, Development Director EnlightenNext
Tues 6/16 – Different Donor Perspectives
Corporations have realized – either on their own or in response to advocacy groups – that they have a responsibility to use their economic power for positive impact. Usually they fund programs that are related to their goods and services and/or the geographic regions in which they operate their business. Foundations also have clear guidelines but with diverse motivations (e.g.: their philosophy, chosen areas of focus, decision protocols, etc.) and specific needs (e.g.: closing reports rather than name recognition, etc.). Individuals may have a particular passion and their own very unique way of discriminating among possible myriad philanthropic opportunities. You must learn to understand how various types of donors look at potential grantees, involving a great deal of research and preparation. Guest panelists include Julliette Gimon, Program Manager Global Economic Development Google.org; Jacob Lief, President and Co-Founder Ubuntu Education Fund; Westina Matthews-Shatteen, Managing Director Community Business Development Merrill Lynch; and Elizabeth Sackler, President and CEO Arthur M. Sackler Foundation