Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Member Sign In
Sign In securely

8th Annual Business and Nonprofits Together Luau

Fundraising: Everybody's Business

Fundraising: Everybody's Business

Board Recruiting & Onboarding (Georgetown)

Board Excellence (Wilmington)



Delaware Nonprofits: Endless Discoveries
Blog Home All Blogs
DANA's new President and CEO Sheila Bravo reflects on her discovery of DANA and the nonprofit sector in Delaware.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: nonprofits  Delaware  Board of Directors  Board Member  collaboration  budget  government  Calendar  CEO  DANA  funding  grantmakers  leaders  Nonprofit  Nonprofit Finance Fund  partnerships  strategy  Adaptive capacity  Association of Fundraising Professionals  Community  David Grant  DEFAC  Delaware Community Foundation  DuPont  economy  employees  Endless Discoveries  giving Tuesday  Good to Great  grants 


Posted By Sheila Bravo, Thursday, October 6, 2016
Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2016

It is hard to believe that a year ago I started this journey as CEO of DANA.   During this first year, I have had the immense pleasure of meeting so many dedicated people working to better our state through philanthropy, governing, and nonprofit service.  In the course of those conversations several themes emerged:  1) all agree that the agencies who serve Delaware make a difference in the community.  2) all agree that the funding landscape to support those services is shifting and shrinking, while it seems service demand increases, 3) that it is hard to know who is doing what in the State and how well, thus making it challenging to leverage and allocate resources and 4) all agree that this environment is not going to change unless we make it happen.


There are several initiatives in play that are helping us move forward towards solutions.  The first is a project that DANA and the Delaware Grantmaker’s Association (DGA) are working on to create a database that showcases nonprofits in the state, where they serve, and what they do.  This will help nonprofit leaders better understand who they can partner with to leverage resources, and will better inform grantmakers on who does what as they allocate resources.  The second is the Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition’s work to unify the philanthropy and nonprofit communities around State revenue growth to resource the services that make Delaware a great place to live. Third, DANA, the Delaware Community Foundation and the United Way of DE have partnered with the DE Business Times to promote philanthropy and have invited nonprofits to participate in the upcoming Giving Guide,   scheduled to be released before “Giving Tuesday”. 


And finally, with the common interest by government, grantmakers and nonprofit leaders to agree on what outcomes matter, DANA and DGA are partnering together to host an event on November 29th  to bring grantmaking and nonprofit leaders together to hear from David Grant, author of The Social Profit Handbook,  on methods to qualitatively assess program effectiveness.


At the end of the day, though – communicating success is just as important as making it happen.  I know there are many organizations making incredible headway on their mission every day.  But not everyone knows that.   So, I’m inviting DANA member nonprofits to share their impact stories through this blog.   I’m closing the chapter on my “Endless Journey” blog – and opening a new one:  Celebrating our Impact.   Please send me your story to, with a picture and brief paragraph on what you do and how it transforms lives or the community.  This will be the basis for my blogs going forward.  Collectively, our stories can help to inform the community on the great and impactful work nonprofits do across Delaware.

Tags:  David Grant  Delaware  giving Tuesday  grantmakers  nonprofit  philanthropy 

Share |

Networking and Partnering can strengthen Nonprofits and their Leadership

Posted By Sheila Bravo, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

There is a lot of talk these days about collaboration, and in Delaware many nonprofits are collaborating at some level with others. DANA has held several workshops on the various types of collaboration, including working together for collective impact. Partnering is not only smart from an efficiency and effectiveness standpoint, but it can also help to strengthen your leadership, as well as your organization. There are many ways to start the pathway to collaboration. One of them is by joining a network.

A recent article by Jennifer Chandler and Kristen Scott Kennedy from the National Council of Nonprofits highlights the benefits of being part of a network. Networks help advance the first step in any partnership or collaboration: building trust. By getting together regularly, group leaders break down resistance to sharing as they get to know others in the network. Mutual sharing of experiences and insights helps accelerate innovation, expand perspectives, and gain insights on what is happening in Delaware. Once trust is there, exploration of mutual initiatives begin to break down organizational resistance to working together. New programs, or cost sharing initiatives, become a reality. And leaders who are part of networks and coalitions find they also have a more powerful voice for advocacy activities.

DANA is a network. As the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, we convene nonprofit leaders in training, through member events, and our annual conference. We advocate for the interests of the nonprofit sector, and those who support it. We work in partnership with other state-wide organizations such as the Delaware Grantmakers Association, the Delaware Community Foundation, the United Way, Chambers of Commerce, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Our mission to strengthen enhance and advance nonprofits would not be possible without the connections among members, alliance partners, and government agencies. And our networking initiatives have expanded to support Executive Directors through the E2E Peer Networking sessions we're hosting each month.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) have recently released studies on the skills required for effective nonprofit leadership. Both studies reveal that success in delivering mission can no longer be managed within organizational silos. Today, leaders must exhibit the ability to collaborate, work across organizational boundaries, network, and place solutions above their personal and organizational interests. Unfortunately, the GEO study also revealed that less than a quarter of nonprofit leaders ranked themselves as strong in these areas. That is concerning. 

As nonprofit leaders we are challenged to “squeeze blood out of a turnip.” One way to actually accomplish this is to work with others to share resources to make mission happen. Sometimes being part of a network costs money, but fees are usually well worth the benefits. However, most of what is required to network or collaborate is a commitment of time: time to meet and get to know others, and time to explore ways to make things better. I know time is in short supply for just about everyone. However, the rewards of being energized in working together and moving closer towards common goals can be great.    

In Delaware, there are plenty of ways to connect with others. I’ve counted over 22 network organizations in addition to DANA that provide opportunities for nonprofit leaders to connect, partner, and learn from each other. Most likely there are others, as I’m still learning the sectorAs Hildy Gottlieb says from Creating the Future, "Individually we don’t have enough resources, but collectively we do." Join DANA, join other networks, and strengthen your leadership and organization so that it can be successful in delivering its mission more effectively and efficiently.


Tags:  Association of Fundraising Professionals  collaboration  Delaware  Delaware Community Foundation  Grantmakers  National Council of Nonprofits  network  nonprofits  State chamber of commerce  United Way 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)