Friday, August 28, 2015

NEW! Better Together Award

Charities Review Council is excited to announce the NEW Better Together Award!

At Charities Review Council, our focus is on building authentic relationships between donors and nonprofits using our Accountability Standards®, by providing the spaces, places and tools to do just that. We know that our community is stronger when donors and nonprofits deliver the greater good in partnership. In fact, nothing excites us more than when we see a nonprofit working hand in hand with their donors to create even greater impact in our community. At Annual Forum 2015, we'll have the opportunity to highlight those partnerships with the all NEW Better Together Award

We want to highlight YOU! The Better Together Award will recognize an engaged, creative, and collaborative donor-nonprofit relationship that is changing the community for the better. As our Executive Director, Kris Kewitsch, says, “Last year’s Annual Forum generated palpable energy and excitement, highlighting unusual partnerships between donors and nonprofits.” Kris and the Charities Review Council team are excited to continue the #DisruptMN conversation, which recognizes the value of coming together in new and creative ways to create even greater outcomes. 

To illustrate what a creative, collaborative donor-nonprofit relationship could look like, we called in our reinforcements; engaged Council donors and supporters, Lorraine Hart, Lee Hickerson, and Nausheena Hussain, who in partnership, help us achieve our mission of mobilizing informed donors and accountable nonprofits for the greater good.

Lorraine Hart, a long-time supporter of Charities Review Council, says, "As a donor, the Council's list is my first screen for organizations I consider supporting. I can have confidence that these organizations meet standards for fundraising, financial activity, governance, and public disclosure. Having the Accountability Standards in place frees me up to focus on the mission of the organizations and how I can become involved in the nonprofits and missions that matter to me.”

Lee Hickerson, a self-proclaimed “Council Cheerleader,” says, "I see myself as a catalyst for approaching nonprofits that have not met Standards yet and urging them to consider going through the review process. I believe that if we are good stewards of the community, the whole community benefits.”

Nausheena Hussain, a nonprofit partner from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota (CAIR-MN), says, "Charities Review Council is one of the best tool kits out there! It’s a one-stop shop to take your organization to the next level. It can really change how you interact with the donor base.” 

Nausheena also shared a favorite Charities Review Council memory, which was the Ramadan design-thinking session for CAIR-MN“We were skeptical at first and saw it as a risk, but we were really trying to disrupt how things are done. We asked the community, ‘How can we help?’ and the entire room just lit up. This was the first time the community had felt invited to participate in the conversation. It showed that when the community is part of the equation, we can be better together.

We want to hear from you! Apply today for the NEW Better Together Award for a chance to win $1,000 for your nonprofit organization. 

  • How does your organization partner with donors in a unique, and meaningful way?
  • What makes your donors so crucial to the work that you're doing?
  • Donors, how are you partnering with a nonprofit organization to create lasting impact?

Donors and/or nonprofits are encouraged to apply. Donors applying should work together with the partner nonprofit to complete the application requirements.

We look forward to hearing from YOU about your collaborative and creative donor-nonprofit relationship! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Philanthropy 2.0: Radical Collaboration

We took a risk! 

In 2014, we expanded our traditional keynote Annual Forum luncheon to be a full-day, interactive, learning and networking experience. We created a place where the full spectrum of Minnesota's philanthropic community could come together to honor the history of generosity, and together imagine a new future where donors, funders, nonprofit and community leaders could do even more good together. 

Last year's Annual Forum theme, Disruptive Philanthropy, developed from the idea that change isn't always easy or comfortable, but is necessary in order to make space for new ideas and even better outcomes. What we found was that people were ready and excited to challenge the philanthropic status-quo. People were ready to move Disruptive Philanthropy into action. 

Watch: Video Recap of Annual Forum 2014: Disruptive Philanthropy

With over 850+ ideas generated at Annual Forum 2014, the Council winnowed them down to these five significant themes.

  • Philanthropic education & skill-building
  • Authentic collaboration
  • Increased transparency & improved communication
  • Advancing technology for greater good
  • Shared value of capacity building & impact measurement

On March 24th, 2015, we hosted the #DisruptMN Town Hall to reconvene, share what we had learned, and begin to move Disruptive Philanthropy into action. 

With a room full of innovative, collaborative-thinking, and engaged cross-sector leaders we continued to challenge the traditional model of philanthropy by providing the space for conversation to take place. It was a great place to start, but without a plan and the collaborative will to put the ideas into action, often these great conversations go without action. 
So we asked #DisruptMN Town Hall attendees to help move this work forward, and 24 people committed to action! The appetite for change was evident. 

We're at it again! 

It's time to continue the conversation and make a move towards action.  Charities Review Council is excited to present Annual Forum 2015, Philanthropy 2.0: Radical Collaboration. When it comes to Radical Collaboration, we believe everyone has something to ask and something to offer. Annual Forum 2015 will provide the space, place and tools to bring the ideas and opportunities together. 

At Annual Forum 2015, you'll hear from cross-sector leaders who are leading the way in innovative, disruptive and collaborative efforts both nationally and locally. We'll also hear from you! Minnesota has long been recognized for its strong nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure, so where better to look for the answers to our burning questions around Radical Collaboration than right here in our nonprofit community. Annual Forum 2015 will provide the space to make that a reality.

To learn more about Annual Forum 2015, Philanthropy 2.0: Radical Collaboration, check out our website at


Register today to join us Tuesday, September 22 at Annual Forum 2015, Philanthropy 2.0: Radical Collaboration!