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Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF);
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana are generally fragile and dependent on donor funding mechanisms for survival. Recent studies show that financial sustainability of CSOs is challenging, which has spurred conversations on new alternative funds mobilisation routes, innovative methods and strategies to ensure its sustainability. This scoping report highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with faith-based giving as a domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) strategy that CSOs could explore in Ghana. Specifically, the report highlights the experiences of funds mobilisation, the strategies, the opportunities and successes and the challenges. It draws on in-depth interviews from 6 faith-based organisations (FBOs), three CSOs that have funds mobilisation connections with FBOs and 2 key informants or experts working within the civil society space in Ghana. The report stresses four key messages.First, the key sources of domestic faith-based giving for Faith-based organisations are: (i) Special collections and offerings collected by affiliated religious bodies to support the FBOs; (ii) Individual contributions, appeals, pledges and gifts from members of religious affiliations (local and foreign); (iii) Allocations from headquarters or the 'root' organisations from which the faith-based organisations were formed and (iv) Volunteers and in-kind contributions from partners and stakeholders. However, faith-based domestic resource mobilisation has not been systematically integrated into the core strategy of domestic resource mobilisation efforts of some faith-based organisations as they draw their funding mainly from external sources.Second, religious organisations affiliated to Faith-based organisations use multiple strategies to encourage and mobilise funds and resources from givers. Four commonest approaches identified are: i) using education, doctrines and psychological preparation towards giving; b) instituting 'special days' for collection from givers; iii) being accountable and effectively communicating results and iv) effectively communicating mission to givers.Third, opportunities for mobilising funds and resources from faith-based sources exist because (i) large religious base of the country who are motivated by faith to give; (ii) indigenous systems and culture of giving in Ghana and (iii) growing technologies and digital infrastructure that provide convenience for givers. Strong connections to a 'base'/constituents is important for generation of funds.However, there are some challenges that constrain the prospect of domestic mobilisation of faith-based funds to boost financial sustainability of CSOs while also promoting socio-economic development in Ghana. Six key challenges have been articulated below: (i) general perceptions of CSOs and development actors ; (ii) culture of giving is skewed towards ad-hoc social welfare causes than long-term development actions that address systemic changes ; (iii) The difficulty of working with rising middle class and high-net worth personalities and (iv) weak transparent and accountable systems of CSOs. Some non-faith-based organisations also find it difficult mobilising domestic faith-based resources because of: (i) unfavourable perception and risk of associating with faith-based organisations and ii) clash of religious doctrines and some principles and values held by organisations.
John Templeton Foundation;
Am I alone? Can anyone hear me? Whether expressed in words or sensed emotionally, it is possible to imagine these questions as the beginnings of the first prayer. Likewise, it is easy to imagine that, once begun, the ways of praying quickly multiplied to include discrete thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, accompanied by physical objects, employed in specific locations, both built and naturally occurring. These experiential and physical developments accompanying the act of prayer, it turns out, are comparatively easy to measure and, in some cases, predict.More challenging is the effort to discern the origins and function of prayer. Some will argue that the impetus to pray comes from outside the person who prays; a divine or "cosmic" force inspires the act. Others will contend that the impulse arises purely from within the individual; it is fundamentally a form of self-talk. The stance adopted establishes the terms of investigation to be conducted and places limits around possible conclusions. This initial ambiguity is not resolvable by scientific researchers because their intellectual tools and conceptual language do not function effectively in this philosophical domain. Nonetheless, to sidestep these questions entirely is to miss the opportunity to systematically explore how these perspectives in and of themselves are amenable to scientific study.
The RecoRa Institute;
The European Practice EXchange (EPEX) is a small international network of organisations and individual members working in the fields of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of radicalisation and exit work both within and outside of prison. It aspired to take up the challenge of amplifying, strengthening and connecting practitioners' voices. This publication is the outcome of an intense three-year exchange, as a reply to the following questions: "How can we create a peer-to-peer network for those working in the prevention of radicalisation that offers a space to their (shared) topics and interests? What if, based on this, practitioners wrote a book together?". The document is written as much for other practitioners as it was for those who are curious to hear the voices of professionals with first-hand expertise.
Strong, well-resourced nonprofits are an indispensable part of our social fabric and play a key role in providing critical services that contribute to thriving communities. In an era of growing need and decreased availability of government dollars, nonprofits are increasingly forced to do more with less. They are also faced with limited time and resources to build their own core infrastructure and strengthen their capacity to expand services and deliver them more effectively. As the leader in charitable giving services for Jewish philanthropists in Los Angeles, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) seeks to magnify the impact of its donor's giving, build enduring legacies, and strengthen the Jewish and local Los Angeles community through effective grantmaking. To help achieve those goals, The Foundation launched the Next Stage Grants pilot in 2017 to help Jewish organizations and institutions in the region build their capacity and increase their effectiveness. The Foundation designed and launched the pilot with four organizations, offering funding of up to $250,000 over a two to three-year period, a semi-structured approach and space for grantees to engage with The Foundation in testing and learning. This executive summary and the full report highlight key learnings and insights from the pilot, including gains, benefits and challenges as well as considerations to guide Next Stage Grants moving forward.
American Jewish World Service;
AJWS' board pulled off a successful transition involving a long-serving executive, Ruth Messinger, and her faithful deputy, Robert Bank. It was a high stakes, high emotion realignment requiring each stakeholder to take deliberate, courageous steps to help move the process along.
As the long-tenured executive vice president at Bend the Arc, Stosh Cotler was told by the board that it wished to consider her for the role of CEO, a position that had recently opened up. The only problem was that Cotler didn't see herself as CEO material.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston;
Few organizations in Jewish life can match the scale and scope of CJP's search for a new CEO—or the pedigree of its search committee. But in assembling a team of all-stars—and then executing a search with precision and professionalism—CJP's board provides a model to which all organizations can aspire.
JCC in the West;
In 2016, after encouraging its longtime CEO to retire, a JCC in the Midwest embarked on a search for its new leader. The location's tight labor market and small Jewish community presented significant challenges in finding a CEO. Adding to the challenge was their need for a turnaround CEO capable of reversing budgetary decline and other shortfalls.
When Spertus CEO Hal Lewis was ready to identify a successor from top management ranks, Dean Bell stood out as the only one with the unique combination of academic training, administrative skills, and institutional context. But first, they had work to do together to make sure Bell was "camera ready" to be presented to the board as a potential successor.
How do you fill the shoes of a beloved executive director whose shoes seem too big to fill? In 2017, TUFTS Hillel faced this challenge with its 1st CEO transition in a generation. As the process evolved, one thing became clear to the board: its new CEO needed the same gravitas and stature.
Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley;
People demonstrate generosity in myriad ways, from gifts of time and money to everyday acts of kindness toward loved ones—and even to deeds that involve substantial self-sacrifice, like donating a kidney to a stranger. But we are often nowhere near as generous as we could (or even aspire to) be. In short: although we have the capacity to be generous, we don't always act generously.What are the biological, psychological, and social factors that encourage people to give time, money, and assistance? What effects does such generous behavior have on their well-being? What accounts for differences in individual levels of generosity—and what methods might encourage individuals to give more? Are there evidence-based strategies for cultivating greater degrees of generosity? Such questions have given rise to numerous studies, the results of which are described in a new report commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation. The document provides a high-altitude overview of more than 350 studies and meta-studies published in nearly 200 refereed publications between 1971 and 2017.
Association for the Sociology of Religion;
Why did Americans vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election? Social scientists have proposed a variety of explanations, including economic dissatisfaction, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. The current study establishes that, independent of these influences, voting for Trump was, at least for many Americans, a symbolic defense of the United States' perceived Christian heritage. Data from a national probability sample of Americans surveyed soon after the 2016 election shows that greater adherence to Christian nationalist ideology was a robust predictor of voting for Trump, even after controlling for economic dissatisfaction, sexism, anti-black prejudice, anti-Muslim refugee attitudes, and anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as measures of religion, sociodemographics, and political identity more generally. These findings indicate that Christian nationalist ideology—although correlated with a variety of class-based, sexist, racist, and ethnocentric views—is not synonymous with, reducible to, or strictly epiphenomenal of such views. Rather, Christian nationalism operates as a unique and independent ideology that can influence political actions by calling forth a defense of mythological narratives about America's distinctively Christian heritage and future.