Nonprofit Blog

Welcome to the Nonprofit Blog hosted by the professionals at Armanino, CPAs & Consultants. This blog is set up to inform nonprofit organizations of trends, rule changes, best practices and free educational offerings that we have built to support nonprofit organizations. Our professionals bring you their insights from an accounting and organization perspective to help nonprofits reach their goals. We support our clients with advice, direction and best practices.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Transparency guide for small-to-medium nonprofits

Posted by Armanino Nonprofit Team

It’s been four years since the Foundation Center launched its Glasspockets initiative to encourage transparency in the nonprofit sector.

The roster of early adopters is impressive. Of the more than 55 foundations involved, 21 are based in California, including The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($7.7B), the David and Lucille Packard Foundation ($6.3B) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation ($5.7B). In addition, a handful of community foundations have signed on including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation ($2.9B), the Marin Community Foundation ($1.3B) and the SF Foundation ($1.2B).

But there’s a challenge: to spread transparency principles and practices to the thousands of smaller foundations.

Early this year, Glasspockets introduced its new guide, Opening Up: Demystifying Funder Transparency, supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and produced in collaboration with Grant Craft.

The woman behind Glasspockets is Janet Camarena, the Director of the Foundation Center’s San Francisco office. In a blog introducing the new guide, she wrote:

The guide’s research involved a survey of more than 700 philanthropy professionals and in-depth interviews with 25 grantmakers. From this knowledge base, a helpful roadmap emerged to help grantmakers through the hows and whys of transparency. And, indeed, one of the things I think many grantmakers will find most helpful is the step-by-step infographic that illustrates the various paths one can take to transparency, along with the following definition of foundation transparency.

The guide joins other Glasspockets offerings including the transparency template, which spells out best practices in 23 areas ranging from grantmaking processes to governance and staffing policies to investment strategies.

The Glasspockets website is also offering a series of three webinars for grantmakers explaining the philosophy, the benefits and the process of transparency. The webinars are presented in partnership with California Philanthropy and the James Irvine Foundation. Among the topics are harnessing big data and managing social media.

Overall, we think this thought-provoking undertaking is worth a look for organizations involved in the nonprofit sector. We know many nonprofit organizations often struggle to overcome their own data/financial transparency challenges—and this seems like a great initiative to help organizations get up to speed.


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