Giving with Purpose: Effective Management and Operations

The fifth class of the Giving with Purpose course focuses on effective management and operations, and throughout the course module, instructor Rebecca Riccio offers a few tips to funders who are evaluating prospective grantees:

1. IRS Status: Confirm that the organization is registered under Section 501(c)(3)by using one of the following websites, and check to make sure the nonprofit adheres to “best practices include having independently audited financial statements, a whistleblower policy for managing employee complaints, a conflict of interest policy, a policy for saving and destroying documents, and several policies regarding executive compensation and the board of directors.

2. Facilities: “If an organization maintains public facilities, say a community or recreational center, take a look around. The space doesn’t have to be modern or fancy, but it should be clean, inviting, and safe. It should reflect the organization’s pride and professionalism in the way it’s maintained.”

3. Website: “Take a look at the organization’s website and social media to see how it approaches marketing and communications… look for signs that the organization communicates clearly, consistently, and professionally and conveys all the information that an informed funder should look for: the need it addresses, whom it serves, the benefit it provides, how it defines success, what it does to achieve it, and how it holds itself accountable.”

4. Fundraising: “When you’re looking at the organization’s fundraising materials and annual report, whether online or in hard copy, you should be able to see how it raises money and what it spends it on. If there’s an online giving function, look for assurance that it is secure.”

5. Board Members: “Look for diversity among its members, representation from the community the organization serves, and a mix of skills, experience and expertise that’s relevant to the organizations mission, approach, size, and fundraising needs.”

6. Leadership: “The executive director often has to juggle many diverse tasks and responsibilities. It takes passion to do that job well, as well as specialized skills and expertise related to both the organization’s area of focus and the complexities of running and fundraising for a nonprofit organization. The executive director’s biographical profile should be provided on the web site. Look for evidence that the executive director has both types of qualifications.”

7. Volunteers: “When you’re assessing an organization that relies on volunteers, look for evidence that it has good systems in place to recruit, train, manage, and thank them.


Riccio ends this week’s course module with a great summary question for all funders to use: “Think about what the organization hopes to achieve in the world and ask yourself, “Is it built to get the job done?”

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