Onboarding and Drumming up Conversation

I'm pleased to share that we have a fabulous new addition to our GrantCraft team, Sarina Dayal. Sarina studied environmental design and community development at UC Davis, and has also been actively involved with next gen philanthropy. You can read more about her on our team page, tweet her through our @grantcraft handle, and email her directly here.

When someone new joins the team, supervisors start with the question: what is essential for them to know? There are the obvious logistical points (bathrooms, timesheet, office supplies, etc.) and operational starting places (systems, first tasks, reading up, meet and greets, etc.), but the most important to me is orienting a new staff member to organizational philosophy and culture. Why are we here, what is it we’re trying to do, and how do we approach it? Spending time on this aspect of onboarding lays critical groundwork for making sound judgments in any role.

Thankfully, GrantCraft is part of the knowledge services team at Foundation Center, which operates on five driving, co-developed principles:

  1. We help real people do transformative, positive work in the world by providing them with the data and knowledge they need.
  2. We nurture partnerships which promote more effective grantmaking and development outcomes for the betterment of the social sector.
  3. We are a team whose members support each other and learn from each other, and have fun doing it.
  4. We approach our work with a curious, thoughtful, and nimble spirit by listening to diverse audiences, questioning the status quo, and learning from our experiences.
  5. We reflect the mission of Foundation Center by encouraging open and transparent conversation, and by making data about philanthropy more accessible and understandable for the public.

These principles are hopefully reflected in everything that GrantCraft does, but we constantly need to use that steady grounding to push a little further and be a little bolder. To that end, we want to bring new voices with diverse perspectives on timely topics to the fore. Philanthropy is fueled by a multiplicity of passions, values, strategies, and solutions, which we hope to represent in our guest blog posts this year. I’m specifically looking for staff and trustees at foundations to write something new by sharing their experiences and perspectives. Some ideas:

  • How is the media helping or hurting your grantmaking and mission?
  • How do your grants preserve the foundation’s values?
  • How are you structuring investments in talent both at your foundation and with your grantees?
  • How is your foundation responding to human tragedies such as school shootings, terrorist attacks, and gender or race-related violence?
  • What effect has the refugee crisis had on your approach?
  • How do your grants focus on marginalized populations, especially people with disabilities and indigenous peoples, and why?

Sarina can work with anyone interested to conceptualize, review, and publish a post. All blog posts are the author’s own opinion and should be intended to spark conversation and share lessons learned. We welcome posts from anyone affiliated with a foundation anywhere in the world. 

To recap: feel free to reach out and welcome Sarina, remember to onboard staff with intention, and help us deepen the diversity of dialogue we can and should be having on GrantCraft.

This letter originally appeared in this week's GrantCraft newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter and special alerts, register for free.

About the author(s)

Director of Stakeholder Engagement