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Building the plane while flying

Lucy Bernholz presents at the DonorEdge Learning Community 2012 Annual Meeting

Last week I enjoyed spending time with our customers and colleagues in the DonorEdge Learning Community (DELC) during our annual meeting. We were also joined by leadership from other community foundations considering adapting DonorEdge to support their organizational strategies. We were fortunate and pleased to have Lucy Bernholz as our keynote again this year. Lucy challenged us with three questions about using and presenting DonorEdge data and how this strategy can create evidenced-based stories of ROI and value for community foundations:

  1. What are you doing with the data?
  2. What are others doing with the data?
  3. What is community philanthropy?

The answers to these questions illustrate the different perspectives of being inside or outside of the schema where change happens. Understanding these different perspectives is critically important in the work of the DELC to maximize the value of how their organizations, customers, and communities use their DonorEdge data. If the data does not make sense or creates a conflict between inside or outside perspectives, it will hinder the DELC’s strategic initiatives of community leadership and knowledge, informed and effective charitable giving, nonprofit capacity building, and organizational efficiency.

Lucy also connected these and other keynote themes of changing sources of data and knowledge, community foundations as part of networks, and making change from community knowledge to the research findings from Money For Good II.

Lori Larson

We are great fans of Lucy and are thrilled that she is a devotee of the DELC. This unique group of community foundations has taken action on Lucy’s 2005 research with Blueprint Research & Design, Inc. and Monitor Company Group, LLP, “On the Brink of New Promise: The Future of U.S. Community Foundations,” and has progressed to a new point of reflection and evaluation. The DELC continue to push the edge of change around leadership in data, knowledge, doing good, and community philanthropy. As Lucy stated, we are “building the plane while we are flying it.” Thank you, Lucy!

GuideStar is privileged to work with the DELC and we look forward to supporting them in their vital work in the evolving new social economy.

To learn more about the shared learnings at the GuideStar DonorEdge Learning Community annual conference, please visit

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