Foundations can advance their strategies and goals by investing in grantee staff and the nonprofit workforce. Nonprofit professionals thrive when they are well supported and developed by their organizations. So investing in the people-systems of grantee organizations can and should be a vital part of the job of every foundation trustee and program executive.

We created this Toolkit to provide funders practical guidance, promising practices, and data on the value of investing the in nonprofit workforce.

We suggest starting your journey with the items recommended below, and then exploring from there.

Where to Start for Funders

Case Making

Helping you make cogent arguments for investing in nonprofit talent.

Top Reasons to Invest in Nonprofit Talent

This tool provides succinct language and anecdotes that can be used to introduce the concept of talent-investing to foundation staff and board trustees and to communicate the compelling reasons for investing in nonprofit talent.  Read ›

Funder Myths & Realities

This tool presents out-of-date or disproven assumptions about the nonprofit workforce that some funders in the field continue to believe and/or promote. This tool aims to help you turn these obstacles into opportunities. Read ›

For more content like this, visit Case Making ›

How-To Guides

Practical guidance for baking talent-investment into your work.

Guide to Investing in Grantee Talent

Help you invest in the human capacity of grantee organizations to effectively advance their missions. Read ›

Talent-Investment Menu

Outlines the different investment partners, key roles, spheres of investment levels, and where along the talent-investment continuum funders can focus their talent-investments. Read ›

Thinking Through Choices in Talent-Investment

Graphic presentation portrays the different levels, points in the career trajectory, site of investment, and nonprofit people where grantmakers can support talent-investing. Read ›

Field Stories

Brief, original accounts chronicling how funders invest in grantee talent.

Community Memorial Foundation

For Community Memorial Foundation (CMF), a health-focused private foundation based in suburban Illinois serving 27 communities in the western Chicago suburbs, helping to increase the capacity of its nonprofit grantees is a core part of its mission and vision. Read ›

Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

A deep respect and appreciation for the power of effective leadership is in the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund’s DNA. Read the foundation’s field story to learn more about their talent-investments that support national movements including immigrant rights and LGBTQ rights. Read ›

Pierce Family Foundation

The Pierce Family Foundation offers a variety of sophisticated investments in mid-level managers and emerging leaders in their grantee organizations and other nonprofits in the Chicagoland area. Read ›

Equity & Inclusion

Investing in equity and inclusion in the nonprofit workforce.

Invest in Equity Inside in the Nonprofit Workforce

Our brief statement argues that increasing equity and inclusion in nonprofits is inextricably intertwined with investing in the nonprofit workforce. Read ›

Literature Review

Examines how foundations have discussed and addressed investing in equity and inclusion in the nonprofit workforce. Read ›

Discussion Guides

Advancing productive dialogue on talent issues.

Talking Talent for Funders

Helps foundation leaders to conduct internal discussions about why and how to invest in grantee staff development. Read

Talking Talent Between Funders & Nonprofits

Supports funders and nonprofits to explore the mutual benefit of investing in the nonprofit’s staff development. Read

Resource Listings

High-quality, curated content from across the social sector.

Reading List

A selection of key writings on the nonprofit workforce – helpful for your own background knowledge or for a nonprofit-related “book club”, fellowship cohort, or association. Read ›

Glossary of Terms

Offers definitions for key phrases used throughout this Toolkit. One of the signs that the field has not prioritized investment in the nonprofit workforce is the lack of good language with which to discuss it – so we are road testing some new terminology. Read ›