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Catalogue Blog

Getting Connected with the Catalogue

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

Nonprofit collaboration is a hot-button term these days. With a network of over 300 of the best small nonprofits in greater Washington, Catalogue nonprofits are in great position to learn from and collaborate with each other.

This past Monday night, the Catalogue offered the first of many opportunities for Catalogue nonprofits to come together in a casual and informal setting at the Catalogue September Happy Hour. The happy hour event brought together nonprofit staff and other Catalogue supporters to meet each other, connect, network, and begin strengthening relationships among the community. Catalogue staff, including President Barbara Harman, was on hand to meet and greet the 80+ event attendees.

The new Catalogue happy hour series follows on the heels of Catalogue’s “From the Field” project, in which Catalogue staff Marie LeBlanc and Sherika Brooks spend time on the ground with at least two nonprofits a month. These two nonprofit outreach initiatives are a response to many nonprofits’ expressed desire to connect with other nonprofits in the network, as well as Catalogue staff. We’ve heard over and again that many nonprofits — especially the smaller ones — struggle with similar issues, and that great benefit can come from simply sharing these struggles (and successes) with others who can relate. The Catalogue is privileged to offer the opportunity for small nonprofit leaders to do just that — whether over a glass of wine or cup of coffee. We look forward to continuing this series of nonprofit networking events into next year!

Thank you to all who attended this week’s happy hour — we hope to see you at the next one! Have suggestions for future events for the Catalogue network? Miss out this time and want to hear about our next event? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Impact Investing

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

This week, the Nonprofit Quarterly published an article about the Council on Foundations’ new CEO, Vikki Spruill, and her official introduction to the organization. NPQ’s Rick Cohen discusses a few key points of Spruill’s statement, including her “upbeat perspective on the societal significance of philanthropic innovation” and the need for philanthropy to assess its own value in the large society. However, Cohen also points out that “she and her colleagues have to remember that the vehicle for the delivery of philanthropy’s collective value is the nonprofit sector.”

How do the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors work collaboratively to achieve the goals mentioned by Spruill, and act as “investors, innovators, leaders, and partners” in society? As a bridge between these communities, the Catalogue for Philanthropy aims to increase the connections between (primarily) individual philanthropists in the Washington area and the regional nonprofits that most need their support. We use the moniker Catalogue for Philanthropy, but our main ‘clients’ are nonprofits. We recognize that small nonprofits in the area often do the most innovative, important, and thankless work, and yet also have a difficult time connecting with individuals who share their vision.

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Companies for Causes

A few times, yesterday included, I touched on the application (or imposition?) of for-profit business models on non-profit organizations. Should non-profits take the lead from more traditional businesses or are the two models incompatible? In the future, I would like to delve further into this question. But for now, I’d like to raise a more specific one: can and do these two entities meet and talk about one another? In other words, do non-profits have a forum to discuss corporate partnerships and do corporations have one to discuss community outreach?

Enter Companies for Causes, whose aim is just that: bringing together medium-sized local businesses to brainstorm and launch philanthropic endeavours as well as entrepreneurial ones. Essentially, this effort will provide the network and resources for companies to expand their reach (and deepen their impact) in the Greater Washington community. Their first symposium is coming up next Wednesday, October 27. You can see the agenda here, sign up for more info, and check out these interviews:

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