Many funders are exploring ways they can have a greater impact on their nonprofit partners. Donors who think beyond the check and who look for additional ways to engage with organizations find themselves enjoying a much more productive and satisfying relationship with those groups they support.

These donors are using their influence, networks and other resources to help nonprofits build capacity to fulfill their mission. The July 2017 Chronicle of Philanthropy’s cover article “Renovation Nation” explored the makeover of three large, established charities. The major turnaround undertaken by each organization was the result of considerable culture shifts, new perspectives, and risky moves. Author Heather Joslyn included in each profile “makeover tips” based on the lessons learned by these organization’s leaders.

Consider all of the possible ways you could help the nonprofit organizations you support. Beyond financial resources, you bring a wealth of other connections and knowledge that can be effectively leveraged to support their work. I think that these “makeover tips” provide donors an opportunity to explore additional ways to make a difference.

One of the “makeover tips” that caught my attention focused on “telling the story.” It emphasized not just the organization’s story, but also the stories of those helped by the organization. Being able tell their story in a clear and compelling way is essential.

  • Connect the nonprofit to media or public relations professionals; expand their network of people who can spread the word about their work.
  • Provide funding for a refresh of the nonprofit’s collateral material and/or website, or fund media training for staff and board.
  • Host gatherings (at your home or place of business) at which program participants and staff can tell and hear each other’s stories.

Read the full article about renovating philanthropy by  Marshall H. Ginn at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.