As donors, we hear the term “theory of change” in conversations, but what does it really mean? What are the most important aspects of organizational health to consider in a funding decision? And what can you learn from reading a nonprofit’s financial statements? SV2’s new philanthropic skill-building “How of Giving” seminar series will dive into questions like these with practical teaching and hands-on and case study, small group work.
We designed the “How of Giving” series to correspond to the stages of SV2’s Grant Rounds— 1) understand how an organization sees its own impact in the world (Theory of Change), 2) assess organizational health and capacity (Art of Assessing Nonprofits), and 3) take a deep dive into nonprofit financial statements (work that often takes place near the end of a Grant Round). While the three workshops track with SV2’s Grant Round process, they also are intended to empower Partners in their personal giving decisions. The three workshops work well as a series, or each can stand alone.
Theory of Change: January 23, 2019
As donors, we hear the term “theory of change” in conversations, but what does it really mean? What has an organization really done when it creates a new theory of change? How do we evaluate the qualities and merits of various theories of change?
During this session, Valerie Threlfall of Ekouté Consulting will help us to unpack the concept of organizational “theory of change,” using specific examples. We will also examine how we as individual donors can best assess nonprofit organizations’ theories of change and use this information to engage in deeper dialogue with nonprofits we might support.
Art of Assessing Nonprofits: February 7, 2019
This interactive workshop will demystify nonprofit due diligence and introduce you to an organizational assessment framework and key indicators you can use in SV2’s nonprofit due diligence process and your own. Philanthropy consultant (and former SV2 Executive Director) Jen Ratay will lead this workshop with SV2 staff Jody Chang and Amy Badiani. Key elements include:
- How to assess a grant applicant’s organizational capacity by analyzing its grant application materials. You’ll learn what can be discovered about an organization’s capacity and effectiveness through written materials – and what often needs further due diligence
- How to use a framework for organizational effectiveness and key organizational health indicators
- How to apply SV2’s Nonprofit Assessment Rubric
- Explore ways to fine-tune your due diligence approach, taking into account funder-fundee trust levels and questions related to assessment depth
Think Money First! Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability and Impact: March 13, 2019
Financial diligence is not simply about income statements and balance sheets. It is about understanding the right numbers and asking the right questions. It is about being able to better support organizations to serve people and communities, not only today, but tomorrow as well.
As grantmakers and donors, we often are being asked to make difficult choices in a world of limited resources and seeming unlimited need. Financial training expert David Greco will help Partners uncover the right data needed in grantmaking, understand the key drivers of financial and organizational sustainability, and better incorporate that data in their funding decisions.
Featuring real world case studies and small group work, this workshop will provide grantmakers with the tools to better understand nonprofit financial health and sustainability and enhance their understanding of:
- The challenges of nonprofit finance and barriers to scale and impact;
- How to engage nonprofits in discussions about financial management challenges; and
- Ways to structure their support to improve long-term sustainability and impact.