Geri Stengel

 
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Scaling In Times of Tight Money: What Can We Do?

Big solutions – scaling – is needed for big societal challenges, such as housing, health and education, according to Gara LaMarche, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

LaMarche was the luncheon speaker at the 2011 Social Impact Exchange’s Conference On Scaling Impact.

Governments have less. Foundation endowments have shrunk, though, fortunately, some endowments are growing again. Money is tight so funders are more interested in proven programs that they know will succeed.

It takes metrics to provide evidence, it takes a storyteller to grab the heart of a donor, to make  the message compelling.

(Now that’s something I heartily agree with. In fact, one of the reasons I like social media so much is that they provide many ways to tell a story: words, pictures, video.)

LaMarche noted – again I cheer! – that nonprofits need to speak from the heart and speak in plain language, not the language of metrics.

“We’ll have muscle when ordinary people feel they own a stake in what’s happening and take action to protect it,” LaMarche said.

That’s called creating a movement.

Standing in our way, in addition to language, is the plethora of white faces at the top. Funders need more diversity on their staff. People won’t relate if those telling the story don’t reflect those whose loyalty you seek.

Makes sense to me.