July 31, 2017

Yolanda Caldera-Durant, director of programs, Fund the People

We held our second annual funder retreat, Investing in the Nonprofit Workforce in the Trump Era, at the end of June in Sausalito, California. During our first retreat, I’d been on the job as director of programs for just two weeks. However, this year I had the honor of building on last year’s progress by organizing the retreat.

More than 30 engaged and committed funders and nonprofits interested in investing in nonprofit talent traveled from Arizona, California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio to build relationships and share experiences, challenges, and effective models for building and supporting nonprofit talent-investment. These funders support many critical issues including arts and culture, economic development, economic opportunity, health care, housing, immigration, leadership development, LGBTQ issues, and capacity building. Similarly, our nonprofit participants spanned the spectrum of immigration, health care, and housing —three issues facing significant uphill challenges in the current tumultuous political environment. We were also joined by content partners from Bay Area Justice Funders Network, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Northern California Grantmakers – California Full Cost Project, and ProInspire, who shared their perspectives on the intersection of effectiveness, justice, and equity and inclusion as it impacts talent-investment.

We had candid and insightful discussions that highlighted the continued and significant need that nonprofits – particularly those working in social services and social justice movements – have in supporting their staff, and impacting the systems they are working to transform. Important takeaways from the discussions include:

  • having funders invest in nonprofit talent – whether leadership development, coaching, professional development, increased compensation, building healthy organizational culture, and other key areas that support people systems – is needed more than ever; and
  • one of the key factors making talent-investment possible is when funders and nonprofits develop open and trusting relationships. It takes time and consistent effort to build such relationships, and the benefits are stronger nonprofit leaders, staff, leadership teams, and organizations.

Additionally, funders learned about investing in nonprofit talent at the macro level and how they can apply this approach in practical ways to their grantmaking. We shared soon-to-be-released Fund the People Toolkit materials that demonstrate how funders can bake in talent-investing into their existing grant portfolios, and how to apply the tactics to capacity building, leadership development, or program specific funding.

We are excited to build a community of funders that directly invest in building and strengthening the nonprofit workforce. These investments help nonprofit professionals do their best work and help advance organizations towards their missions. We encourage funders to adopt talent-investing practices to further nonprofit impact and effectiveness. If you’d like to learn more about our campaign to maximize investment in the nonprofit workforce, please sign up today to join our email list or email us to begin a conversation about talent-investing.

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