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Funders’ use of strategy uneven

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While most foundation leaders and program officers agree that strategic decision-making is worthwhile, only a few use it consistently, a new study says.

In “Beyond the Rhetoric: Foundation Strategy,” the Center for Effective Philanthropy defines strategy as a framework for decision-making that focuses on external contexts and assumes a connection between the use of foundation resources and results achieved.

In interviewing CEOs and program officers at 21 large, private foundations, the study classified decision-makers into four categories according to their use of strategy, ranging from none at all to “total strategists” who consistently employ the practice.

While most of the study participants believe the use of strategy enhances the impact of grantmaking, those same people tend not to use strategic decision-making themselves.

The report recommends foundations assess their current use of strategic decision-making in an effort to boost the impact they make on the issues and communities they care about.

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