All posts by Rebecca Thomas

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10 Traits Nonprofits Need to Make Successful Financial Changes

Today’s economic realities have prompted many nonprofits to consider new business models so they can better serve their constituents while ensuring their own financial solvency.

These adjustments are taking many forms. Some organizations are investing in new ways to deliver programs and services, while others are making their current activities more effective and efficient. Change can mean restructuring operations, collaborating more formally with similar nonprofits or, as now happens with gr…

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Sharing What Works

Too often, foundations don’t get as much out of a research grant as they could.  That’s because grantees and foundations don’t distill the lessons in ways that organizations can easily find out about and apply to their day-to-day work and conversations.

But now some grant makers are collaborating with nonprofit organizations to take different approaches. The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, in Chicago, chose to make public the results of a new report on attracting and engaging theatergoers in thei…

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Transforming Failure Into Success

Below is the final part of my interview with Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, about a program administered by Nonprofit Finance Fund and financed by Duke to help arts groups. (Read the first, second, and third installments.)

Through the multiyear “Leading for the Future” project, Nonprofit Finance Fund is directing more than $10-million in capital from the foundation to 10 performing-arts organizations. The goal is to give them the flexibility …

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How Money Can Influence Innovation

Below is the third part of my interview with Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, about a program administered by Nonprofit Finance Fund and financed by Duke to help arts groups.  (Read the first and second installments.)

Through the multiyear “Leading for the Future” project, Nonprofit Finance Fund is directing more than $10-million in capital from the foundation to 10 performing-arts organizations. The goal is to give them the flexibility to test …

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Four Questions to Determine Whether a Nonprofit’s Ready to Change

Below marks the second part of my interview with Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, about a program administered by Nonprofit Finance Fund and financed by Duke to help arts groups.  (Read the first part.)

Through the multiyear “Leading for the Future” project, Nonprofit Finance Fund is directing more than $10-million in capital from the foundation to 10 performing-arts organizations. The goal is to give them the flexibility to test new ideas, expl…

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A Foundation’s Effort to Transform Arts Groups

Grant makers often fail to recognize that nonprofit groups need two distinct types of money to thrive.

Nonprofits need capital (and lots of it) to, among other things, plan for and invest in ideas that will help them prepare for future growth and make changes to the way they operate.

They also need reliable and recurring revenue to sustain themselves year in and year out after the change has happened.

Today, I interview Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundati…

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How to Balance Vision and Action in Financial Decisions

In their new book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, the business scholars Chip and Dan Heath describe a three-part process to change an organization.

They borrow an analogy used by Jonathan Haidt in his book The Happiness Hypothesis to describe a person’s rational side as a rider and the emotional side as an elephant. To change behavior, they argue, organizations must:

  • Direct the rider, by providing crystal clear instructions on where to go and how to get there.
  • Motivate the ele…