Giving Compass' Take:

• The Center for Effective Philanthropy offers three suggestions on how to achieve philanthropic sustainability for limited life foundations.  

• What are limited life foundations' most significant challenges? 

• Here are four steps to maximize the impact of your philanthropy. 

Does the longevity of a philanthropic organization matter if its mission is achieved? If your organization follows a limited-life approach to philanthropy your answer is most likely “no.”

In its March 2017 report – “A Date Certain: Lessons From Limited Life Foundations” – The Center For Effective Philanthropy explores how limited-life groups impart change under a short period of time. The report shares insight from 11 limited-life groups on the “ways in which they grapple with several important issues along their journey to pursuing their goals in a finite period of time.”

While the length of the journey may be different, the road is paved with similarities as both limited-life and longstanding philanthropic groups seek to create sustainable change.

  • Define What Success Means Against Your Mission – The motivation behind this approach is to focus the organization’s efforts solely on making the most impact possible.
  • Evaluate Your Current Strategy – Most leaders who participated in the report emphasized the desire to leave their grantees in a position for future sustainability and success.
  • Communicate Transparently with Key Stakeholders – According to the report, most leaders agree that over communication with grantee stakeholders “in a direct, transparent, and timely way” is important.

In addition to the above considerations, the report offers perspective in the areas of investing, staffing, archiving, working with stakeholders and evaluation. Whether you are a nonprofit with a longstanding outlook exploring the limited-life philosophy or currently a limited-life group looking for best practices, the report can be an educational resource for those working to create impact.

Read the full article about sustainable change from Your Public Interest Registry