Navigating Working Together

By Former Orfalea Foundation President, Lois Mitchell

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Illustration by Erich Sokol

“Disruption” is my middle name. I admit to being demanding and a troublemaker. Why? At the Orfalea Foundation over the last 15 years I’ve been encouraged constantly to improve the status quo. However, does wealth entitle people to “dictate with dollars”?

I knew we brought value beyond our money, but also recognized that we weren’t the easiest to partner with at times. We were called “do-gooder barracudas,” but there are many grantor variations from Eel to Elephant out there.

At the upcoming Partnership for Excellence conference, which will be held on Tuesday, April 12 at the Fess Parker in Santa Barbara, I will moderate a workshop called  “Working Together: Navigating Challenging Funder – Grantee Partnerships”, which is based on true experiences of nonprofit veterans Barbara Ben-Horin and Hayley Firestone Jessup as they raised millions of dollars benefitting local organizations.

While exploring this issue, many scenarios and personalities emerged. We thought it useful to share failed as well as expert management of real situations that attempt to keep their organization’s mission intact, as well as the funder’s ego.

Our session will highlight compelling and cautionary tales like:

  • The challenge grant that is impossible to meet
  • Handling the donor who insists their project take priority over everything else
  • What to do with the funder who wants free tickets for all her friends

This workshop is beneficial for grantors, for board members and for those focused on fundraising, grant writing, or development for a nonprofit. Attendees will engage in identifying “red flags” and turning around challenging partnerships for the benefit of all.

Join our 11:10 am or 2:25 pm  Strengthening Focus and Purpose Workshop session at the 2016 Partnership for Excellence Conference.

Recommended Pre-reading from Stanford Social Innovation Review: http://ssir.org/articles/entry/accepting_the_challenges_of_partnership

Hayley Firestone Jessup is the Vice President of Advancement for the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts

Barbara Ben-Horin currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara

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