Services and Solutions for Nonprofits

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The Nonprofit Effectiveness Group aims to strengthen the Massachusetts nonprofit sector overall and to enhance the impact of the Boston Foundation’s competitive grant making

Watch a brief presentation about the Nonprofit Effectiveness Group’s work from 2010-2014 below.  This presentation was originally delivered to our board in September 2014.

Our work supports and promotes effective and sustainable nonprofits by focusing on three core competencies necessary for impact:

Leadership: Preparing, strengthening and diversifying the sector’s leaders

Our approach: Nonprofit leaders are the primary drivers of change in the organizations and communities they serve. The Nonprofit Effectiveness Group seeks to develop the sector’s leaders and enhance their impact via education, recognition, training and support in the following ways:

  • The Boston Foundation is a founding member and lead funder of the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Boston University, which educates, supports and connects the next generation of nonprofit leaders, with an emphasis on leaders of color.
  • The Boston Foundation recognizes outstanding nonprofit organizations demonstrating courageous and effective leadership with unrestricted one-time Out of the Blue grants.
  • The Foundation hosts a series of workshops to build leaders’ knowledge and ability in areas most relevant to their work.

Capacity: Building nonprofits’ ability to deliver on their missions, collaborate and drive social change

Our approach: The Boston Foundation helps bolster the operational effectiveness of individual nonprofits by providing support to strengthen core organizational capacities including planning, governance, finance and evaluation; and by supporting collaboration.

  • The Foundation’s Vision Fund provides small grants for one-time capacity-building or pilot/demonstration projects for nonprofits that are not aligned with our competitive grant-making goals.
  • The Boston Foundation funds a select number of capacity-building engagements for current grantees through the Capacity Building Fund.
  • At the same time we recognize that the type of change we seek is broad and complex, and that achieving it will require coordinated, collective action. To that end, the Boston Foundation fosters cross-sector collaborations through the Collaborate Boston prize competition, supports deep, strategic collaborations and mergers through the Catalyst Fund and builds the sector’s capacity for collective advocacy and action through the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Resources: Promoting and facilitating strategic, data-driven philanthropy

Our approach: Connecting with funders and donors is often cited as a top challenge facing nonprofits. The Boston Foundation supports nonprofits as they strive to tell their stories using data and facilitates informed giving via the Giving Common.  The Giving Common is an open online database with more than 925 nonprofit profiles connecting donors, funders and other stakeholders to detailed, robust information about nonprofit organizations working across Massachusetts.  Through this online portal, donors also have the opportunity to contribute to nonprofits by credit card or through their Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation.

Want to learn more?

Subscribe to the Nonprofit Update, the Boston Foundation’s newsletter for nonprofit organizations. Read some of our most recent issues of this publication below:

December 2014
September 2014
May 2014

Questions about our work? Contact the Nonprofit Effectiveness Group:

Jennifer Aronson, Senior Director, Program & Nonprofit Effectiveness
Stephanie Guidry, Program Associate, Nonprofit Effectiveness
Leigh Handschuh, Program Associate, Nonprofit Effectiveness