It amazes me how many people think that I’m the president of HP. Anyone who really knows me, after all, knows how much I really, really hate computers. (And don’t get me started on tracked changes. But I digress.) Other people think I work for the Packard Foundation, or for any number of other organizations that have either Hewlett or Packard in the title. When I first told my mom about this job, she couldn’t understand why I would leave the law school to go into the home printer business. To solve this annoying brand confusion problem, we are going to propose a merger with the Packard Foundation, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, the HP Foundation, and HP itself. The new entity will be named HF-PF-LPCH-HPF-HP.

Larry Kramer, on the Hewlett Foundation’s blog devoted to transparency. Learn about other breaking April 1st news in philanthropy through his most excellent post.

.NGO | .ONG Domain Names Available This Summer

The new .NGO and .ONG domains will be released late Summer 2014. Unlike .ORG, the new domains will only be available to NGOs, charities, and nonprofits, which will form a nice international index of verified NGOs. The new domains will be released on a first come, first serve basis, so fill out an expression of interest form today to help you get your first choice. 

Read more about the what and the how.

Thanks to Annie Hernandez for the tip!

Tips for “Networking” at a Conference

Any of you who read my blog (loyal in my extended blogging absence!) know that the word “networking” is a little dirty to me because the intentions aren’t always as pure as “connecting”. However, I’m asked all the time how I approach networking at conferences. Here are some pointers I share:

  • Do your research beforehand. If attendee lists (either specific names or organizations) are available, make sure you know background for ‘important’ people in the room, and ask colleagues/netsuite about existing relationships.
  • Dont spew information. Instead, ask people questions about themselves and their work.
  • Don’t make people feel like you’re trying to sell them something. Instead, listen to what’s on their mind and respond to that.
  • The best conversations are those that aren’t about work at all. Get to know people to really build a relationship. That often means showing a little of your personality; you can maintain privacy, but think about a few topics you could be comfortable talking about outside of work and don’t be afraid to do that.
  • Be careful what you say about other people – you never know who knows who.
  • The best networking often happens during meals and evening activities, so pace your energy levels to make those times count.
  • Write something to jog your memory on the back of people’s business cards as is helpful.
  • Make note of what article or website(s) would be helpful to send to someone in followup to your conversation, and then follow up! Within a week is usually a good call, but up to two is fine.

And, in doing all of this, focus still on connecting and not having a transactional interaction!

http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/109174695/stream?client_id=3cQaPshpEeLqMsNFAUw1Q?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Listen to this podcast that I produced with a great team at the Foundation Center. It’s the first of four in our new GrantCraft series:

Shaping the Future of Philanthropy: Voices from Next Gen Donors

In this month-long series, we explore the values, motivations, and stories of the up-and-coming generation of philanthropists. This series complements research conducted by 21/64 and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University released earlier this year and our related GrantCraft analysis. Episodes will be released the next three Wednesdays, so check back to the GrantCraft website.

I also wrote a related blog post about how I connect personally with this episode and topic.

Philanthropy Fashions: What’s here to stay, and what’s just a trend?

Read my guest post from the Communications Network blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Just as wearing animal prints is not right for everyone (and certainly not for me!), not every industry trend fits every organization. Big Data is certainly out there, but foundations would be prudent to think about how to “make it their own” before jumping on the bandwagon. I would argue, however, that going a little outside of your comfort zone, be it with a loud print or a deep dive into an opportunity data set, is good. Data sets like these offer a way to assess and contextualize your current funding priorities, and can even provide a new angle through which you can share your grantees’ impact in local communities. In a time when data and communications are simply inseparable, the potential for surprising and positive results is huge. And, just think of what you’ll learn along the way.

(Un)Related note: anyone want to go into a side business of making kitchy tshirts for the nonprofit sector? I’m feeling good about it.

Philanthropy Fashions: What’s here to stay, and what’s just a trend?

Phenomenal approach to giving charitably. I was able to benefit from Doris Buffett’s gift to Louise Sawyer’s class at Tufts University, and am thrilled to hear that Louise and Doris have grown this into something bigger: a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) where participants learn about giving and then give. Watch the video (it’s cute and descriptive) and then learn more on the Learning by Giving website

Announcing… my new job!

I am very excited to begin work for the Foundation Center as the Director of GrantCraft in May! Here’s the press release, and I’ll share more about the position and my work after I officially start.

I am so humbled by the incredible experiences I’ve had at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. I’ve met amazing, passionate people who work tirelessly to create lasting impact in their communities, and have delved into issues of access and opportunity with respect to healthy food, the arts, civic engagement, and education. I feel inspired on a daily basis by the thoughtful approaches nonprofits are taking and the strategic generosity of those in a position to support their efforts. I have learned more than I can express and discovered a real passion for philanthropy. Our small team did film screenings, art openings, gatherings of leaders, site visits, overhauls of both our grants management system and our website, and more. The last 27 months have truly been an amazing whirlwind; I’m so grateful to have been along for the ride.