The Various Tools and Processes that Community Foundations Use to Improve Practice

Specific Processes and Tools are serving a number of purposes for community foundations in Canada.

Purpose served: Elaboration

1. Competition

What is “good foundation practice” is well-defined in the Membership Criteria and other CFC documents.

2. Accountability, transparency, self-improvement

In 2001, 90 percent of members participated in CF-LINKS9 professional development program. Members also keep in touch with regional coordinators and staff for concerns.

Core resources developed to ensure good governance: “Key Policies for Canadian Community Foundations” (2008) and “Policy Guidelines and Templates” (2006)

Use of webinars for training and web-based tools (in ) for improved efficiency is actively promoted by CFC.

One example of this online resource: Building Community Vitality – “A Leadership Toolkit” (2008)

3. Distinguish characteristics of CF from other NGOs

CFC has published “All For Community” (2008) – this brochure outlines CFC‘s vision for communities and the focus on community vitality.

“10 Principles” – the principles that guide the work of community foundations and reflect CFC‘s vision.

4. Unify national community foundation field

The national conferences, regional meetings and peer learning events organized by CFC bring to the fore the interests and concerns of members and track the growth of the CF movement.

5. Roadmap for ethical, legal, effective practices

CFC members adhere to the national standard for a tax exempt organization as administered by the Canadian Revenue Agency.

Resources were developed in 2008 to address responsible investing of funds encouraging CFs to explore the field--What is mission-based investing? What are the investment policies and programs related to mission-based investing? How to increase percentage of assets aligned with mission? Launched “Responsible Investing“ as a public resource.

6. Symbol of excellence and rigor

CFC requires members to “regularly monitor its internal processes and activities with the goal of meeting the highest standards of practice in all its activities.” (Membership Criteria 8)

7. Framework for organizational development

CF-LINKS developed a complete set of resource manuals that addresses all stages of CF development: “Administration and Start-Up”, “Community Leadership”, “Fund Development”, “Governance and Management”, “Grantmaking”, “Marketing and Communications”, “Youth”.

8. Framework for documenting, communicating and providing training and technical assistance to advance best practices

CFC has a proactive communications program that trains the spotlight on community vitality and the role of CFs in enhancing it.

The communications program produces materials that inform, inspire and improve practice. One example: Building Community Vitality, a web-based resource that features current stories of initiatives, projects and ideas that explore community leadership.

CFC produces Canada‘s Vital Signs, a web-based resource focused on national issues. Within each Vital Signs issue area, an indicator is chosen to provide a snapshot of how communities are doing across the country.

CFC was the ‘home’ in 2009-2010 of the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network (TCFN) bringing together CF experiences from North America and Europe. TCFN promotes the use of the Balance Wheel, an evaluation tool useful for planning purposes.

9M. Patten, Case Study: Community Foundations of Canada, Case Studies of Grantmaker Associations Around the World, Vol. 1, by Council on Foundations and Community Foundations of Canada for Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, 2002, p. 3