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How will you change the world?

GMA Foundations helps you define a clear path to transformative philanthropy, and then walks the path with you as an ally and a guide.

We partner with individual and organizational donors as managers, advisors, and facilitators. With over a quarter-century of insight and field experience, GMA Foundations is changing the world by helping you change the world.



Online dating? Relationships matter to nonprofits too

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In a conversation with seven nonprofit leaders this week, we learned about how some nonprofits are working to overcome the challenges of relative obscurity to deliver messages that could transform communities and maybe the world. They are putting relationships first, and no one ever mentioned LinkedIn or Facebook (though match. com did come up once).

Nonprofits today are busy – raising funds, building awareness, forging coalitions, measuring change and delivering services too. Success often depends on skilled communication, especially when the nonprofit name is not widely known. Other people, more than technology, can help the most. Here are three basic ways these nonprofit leaders purposefully build relationships that matter:

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Four Reasons to Choose an Affinity Group

chocolate-box-smby Amy Segal Shorey

Most of us want to feel deeply connected to other people.  Sixty percent of Americans celebrate that major retail event, Valentine’s Day.

Philanthropists might not send one another chocolates, but they do look to share with one another in meaningful ways.  Even The Giving Pledge promises its billionaire signers the opportunity to converse with their peers and exchange ideas about how best to give their wealth away.

Foundation boards frequently debate the merits of joining affinity groups and membership organizations, weighing the value of membership against using the funds for additional grants. The Council on Foundations website alone lists 42 affinity groups representing common grantmaking interests, geographic focus, size and governance structure, and trustee identity.  These groups boast thousands of members in the philanthropic sector, but they represent a minority of private foundations.

The strongest motivation for joining is to increase the impact or efficiency of your grantmaking, but that effect is difficult to measure, and impossible to know in advance. For practical guidance, I would offer these four reasons that our foundation clients decide to become members:

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Learning from Movements

by Phil Hallglobal_collaboration sm

Most of us would agree that lasting change seldom occurs through a collection of isolated grants.  Instead, change begins when a complex web of leaders across sectors and communities works simultaneously to embrace a common mission, collaborate for a sustained period of time and inspire others to do the same.

Large-scale movements for change are often considered the province of only the largest foundations. In fact, funders of all shapes and sizes can adopt the skills and attitudes that are associated with supporting movements. Knowingly or not, even the most individualistic funder is in one way or another contributing to long-term, large-scale change.

This past November, I attended the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ conference on movements in Washington, DC. The key learning points of this conference are outlined below and detailed in GEO’s publication, Many Hands More Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in Supporting Movements.

What is a Movement?

One of the most basic decisions any foundation must make has to do with scale.  Do we focus on helping people in need, on a set geography, or a group of favored organizations?  Do we collaborate with other funders?

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