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Kristen Summers

Kristen Summers works as a Grants Manager at Saint Luke's Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She is interested in Knowledge Management in order to further her career in philanthropy. In her spare time she enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs.

You know the saying in the field of grantmaking, “If you've met one foundation, then you know one foundation”? It means that foundations all have different priority areas in what they fund, their geographies differ, the way they accept applications and make decisions can vary greatly. The same is true for a foundation's Knowledge Management (KM) needs and the solutions that would be most appropriate to address those needs—there are a lot of different options out there so it is very important to spend time researching what the most fitting solutions would be for that organization.

Fortunately, Becerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal (2015) give us this seven step methodology for identifying appropriate KM solutions (p. 279), and I will give a basic overview here:

  1. Assess the contingency factors—This step requires you to examine the organization's environment in terms of contingency factors (characterizing tasks, knowledge, environment and organization) and how they contribute to uncertainty (p. 279).
  2. Identify the KM processes based on each contingency factor—When you have identified the contingency factors that are relevant to your organization, you then have to discover which KM process corresponds to that (p. 281). For example, if environmental uncertainty is high, then you would use combination or socialization for knowledge discovery, but socialization for knowledge sharing would not work as well (p. 282).
  3. Prioritize needed KM processes—Once you've identified the needed processes in the previous step, then you need to prioritize them. To help with that, you can assign scores based on appropriateness and then rank the processes (p. 281).
  4. Identify existing KM processes—This is where you will need to survey the employees of the organization to assess which KM processes are being used and to what extent (p. 281).
  5. Identify additional KM processes needed—Based on what you discovered in the previous steps, this is where you can recommend which other processes would be appropriate based on the priorities (p. 283).
  6. Assess the KM infrastructure and identify the sequential ordering of the KM processes—It is important to consider the current infrastructure to support these solutions, including the organization structure and culture, as well as the physical environment and IT infrastructure (p. 283).
  7. Develop additional needed KM systems, mechanisms, and technologies—This is where all the previous work comes into play and changes are actually made. This means creating KM systems, mechanisms, and technologies to support the KM processes, through teams or by buying or building systems (p. 283).

As I stated earlier, this is a very basic overview of the methodology, but I hope you can see all the work it would take to find the appropriate solutions. However, this work performed in order to determine the best solutions is far more efficient and cost-effective than if you were to do trial-and-error with various KM solutions that are not appropriate for your organization. Moreover, implementing the wrong solution and seeing it fail might make senior leadership gun shy about deploying any further KM solutions. So, it is better to follow this methodology and figure out what is best for your organization.


Reference List

Becerra-Fernandez, I., & Sabherwal, R. (2015). Knowledge management: Systems and processes. New York: Routledge.

by Edwin K. Morris

​In the world of nonprofits there is a little word that means a lot. It is philanthropy. The image above is the definition. It highlights the essence of why nonprofits even exist. Philanthropy can pack a whole lot of action in the meaning around an organization's mission. This requires great communication skills and understanding of the organizations mission along with the clients they serve. Once they understand that clear connection between all of these elements of the organization then identifying the giving audience is a crucial next step to provide funding and sustainment strategy and plan to the nonprofit operation.

To clarify consider that fund raising is not philanthropy. To aid in this differentiation between fundraising and philanthropy consider this:

Fund-raising is an activity undertaken with the goal of eliciting charitable or philanthropic giving. Fund-raising is related to philanthropy as preaching is to faith; that is, one is intended to inspire the other, with no guarantee of success because the response lies within the power of the respondent to determine. (Worth 2013)

So there may have been a misconception for some that between philanthropy and fundraising, but as highlighted in the box above nowhere does it state generation of funds or anything around money. Which then leads us down the trail of what is electronic philanthropy otherwise referred to as e-philanthropy. According to Ted Hart E-Philathropy is:

"the building and enhancing of relationships with volunteers and supporters of nonprofit organizations using the Internet. It includes the contribution of cash or real property or the purchase of products and services to benefit a non-profit organization, and the storage of and usage of electronic data and services to support relationship building and fundraising activities.

The key thing for me in philanthropy is we are talking about building relationships. Relationships that just so happen to coincide and support the mission of the nonprofit. Sorter similar terms to philanthropy?  Words that show up in the thesaurus for philanthropy are: charity, patronage, compassion, humanity, generosity and benevolence. To me these are words that scream out connection and relationship. So how does one build relationship, gain trust and fundraise?

I hear you saying it. You're saying okay what is it all mean? How do I get e-commerce or EPhilanthropy or whatever you call it connected, up and running?!? According to the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) as of May 2015 there were approximately 1,521,052 charitable organizations in the US. That averages out to 30,421 per state. NPT also states that in 2013, 100 of the largest charities reported receiving 13% more in online donations, and 25 of these charities collected more than $10 million each in 2013 from online gifts.

Your first stop is going to be building a web site strategy. This is an extremely humongous scope is not only are you presenting your content consideration the graphic design and visual artistry must be represented properly. I would suggest having two primary operational components of your web presence. One being fundraising and other being brand building.

I will exampled how Pioneer Knowledge Services researched options for collecting electronic donations. Early 2015 leadership embarked with organization called the Network for Good. This provided a very easy interface with not only streamlining and adding credibility to online donations but provided a back of the house accounting and automated receipt generation all for a monthly fee. The system also generates a fair amount of analytics and reports to start understanding the donor base and how they donate. Network for Good also has additional add-on services that can scaffold with customer growth and be a plug an play type add on components as needed.

After working with Network for Good we decided to explore other avenues as this system was not matched well for our small size. In 2017 we decided on setting up a nonprofit account with PayPal and in the social media platform Facebook.

Consider that in 2008 about 5% of total giving in the United States was done online (Sargeant 2008).  In 2013 that percentage grew to 6.4% (NPT).  Do you want to know how much nonprofits generated in 2012? The total revenues was $1.65 trillion.  So let's take the 2013 numbers of 6.4% of online giving times the grand total of revenues in 2012 of $1.65 trillion just in order to get some idea of the gravity of Internet-based giving. We get an estimated total of $105,600,000 that was generated online.

Let those numbers sink in because an organization has to think of the gravity of their front door on the web. Being able to conduct philanthropy and generate funds together is a very crucial element to brand and to donor awareness. One aspect to consider around perception is a term called halo effect that is explained, "People can draw conclusions about a stimulus on the basis of only one characteristic when they should consider more" (Bagozzi, 1996).

Good or bad, perception can be queued up to only one element. The halo effect meaning and emotional perception and appearance that sways the donor or volunteer. Thus having a critical eye and understanding of your audience will allow you to craft and design your web presence and content in accordance with the mission of the organization. The end state design should elicit a strong emotion that may translate and cause action to the donor to become involved and participate. Ultimately you're representing your brand and building relationship therefore shine that halo instead of tarnish I say.

Yours in knowledge,

Edwin K. Morris
President and Founder of Pioneer Knowledge Services

References

Bagozzi, R. P. (1988). The rebirth of attitude research in marketing. Journal of the Market Research Society, 30(2), 163-195.

Hart, Ted. "ePhilanthropy: It's Much More Than Raising Money." E-Philanthropy Review. July 1, 2002. Obtained from: charitychannel.com/printer_51.shtml

National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), Charitable Giving Statistics (page) Retrieved from the internet 4 October 2015, http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics

Sargeant, Adrian; Shang, Jen (2010-03-04). Fundraising Principles and Practice (Essential Texts for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and Management) (Kindle Locations 10830-10831). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Worth, Michael J. (2013-04-17). Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice (Kindle Locations 8614-8617). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.

CaseyAnn Salanova is a graduate student at Kent State University studying Knowledge Management and Library and Information Science. She currently heads the Interlibrary Loan department and serves as the Core Team Leader at Schmidt Library at York College of Pennsylvania.


Libraries, unfortunately, are all too often viewed as antiquated as your grandmother’s chintz curtains.

The public perception of the total value of a library is often veiled by their large budgets and seemingly little return. The reality is though, libraries have dealt with cuts for years now with budgets decreasing even as prices on databases, materials, and technology increase. Even within the library world, a common topic of conversation and conference theme is its own relevancy. Many graduate Library Science programs, like Kent State, ask applicants to write an essay on the relevancy of libraries. Such a requirement is already setting up a professional perception of its own irrelevancy.

Toronto Public Library.JPG(Martin Prosperity Institute, Page 1, 2013)

But, libraries are in fact useful and economically advantageous. The Free Library of Philadelphia pinpointed four major economic areas that libraries contribute to: literacy, workforce development, business development, and increased home and neighborhood values (Fels Research & Consulting, Diamond, Gillen, Litman, & Thornburgh, 2010). The Toronto Public Library estimates it has created over $1 billion in total economic impact (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2013). The bottom line is they provide a low cost education and cultural platform for society (Z. Zhou, personal communication, November 10, 2015).

What is true though, libraries are at a crossroads and in need of a revolution—“one that remakes the institution’s technology, goals and training (Lozada, 2015).” Knowledge management can be a part of it, if not a catalyst. It is an approach to the management and effective use of intellectual capital.  ​

The key to knowledge management is approaching it with the creativity of design and the pragmatics of a business. There is not a one size fits all approach nor is there only one approach that leads to successful knowledge management (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). Really, it is holistic. But, not in the granola eating, tree hugging, meditating mentality (even though that is perfectly fine, too). Rather, knowledge management is an interconnected process that requires internal and external analysis, participation organization wide, a willingness to adapt, and a commitment to sustainability. So, why do it in a library?

Libraries are at a moment in time that is ripe for opportunity. They provide an ideal stomping ground for knowledge management through a collection of people from varied backgrounds which differs from the typical KM business case. Their commodity is that of knowledge and it is ever increasing in breadth, format, and structure. They already have a strong technical infrastructure, workflows system, and a long tradition of documentation and onsite training. And just as IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad changed his business practices to the Ikea we know and love today (Liedtka, 2011), libraries have been adapting for years from papyrus to calfskins, printed books, microforms, and electronic resources. It is just now, some consider Google as “America’s reference librarian and Starbucks its ISP (Internet Service Provider)” (Lozada, 2015). Technology is changing at a rapid pace and libraries need to adapt quicker.

Knowledge management can help change the internal and external perception of a library as well as provide the necessary knowledge to compete and thrive. Through the process of developing a strong KM Solution, hard questions will be asked including the contingency factors that affect the overall process (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). But, ultimately a better understanding of the context, innovation and knowledge sharing, succession management, employee orientation, learning, and development, and the identification, documentation and dissemination of processes, practices, and expertise of the organization will arise which will lead to the development of a successful knowledge management plan (NCHRP, 2014).  But, what many libraries are lacking in is the motivator.

It does not matter where within the library an individual stands—anyone can become the motivator. Knowledge management can begin as an organically grown movement, but key individuals need to get on board—within a library it is typically the director and upper level administrators. Without the support of the organization’s leader, it is unlikely KM will succeed (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). A common occurrence though within the knowledge management sector is for a CLO (Chief Learning Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), or CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) to be hired on a temporary basis and then it is assumed knowledge management will be integrated into company/organization practice (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal 2015).

Let us not assume, but sustain. Knowledge management processes can be customized and adapted to current and future needs. They can be designed to meet budgetary needs with many knowledge management solutions functioning at virtually no or low cost.   So, be the motivator and embrace knowledge management in the library. It can help propel the library into the future while still sustaining the knowledge cultivated from tradition.


Works Referenced
Becerra-Fernandez, I., and Sabherwal, R. (2015). Knowledge Management Systems and Processes. New York, NY. RoutledgeTaylor & Francis Group.
Fels Research & Consulting, Diamond, D., Gillen, K.C., Litman, M., Thornburgh, D. (2010). The Economic Value of The Free Library In Philadelphia. Retrieved from http://www.freelibrary.org/about/Fels_Report.pdf
Liedtka, J. (2011). Why Design? In Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (3-20). New York: Columbia University Press.
Lozada, C. (2015). Do we still need Libraries? Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/do-we-still-need-libraries/2015/04/23/c2105778-e92e-11e4-aae1-d642717d8afa_story.html
Martin Prosperity Institute. (2013). So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library on the City of Toronto. Retrieved from http://martinprosperity.org/media/TPL%20Economic%20Impact_Dec2013_LR_FINAL.pdf
NCHRP. (2014) Scan 12-04 Advances in Transportation Agency Knowledge Management. Retrieved from http://www.domesticscan.org/wp-content/uploads/NCHRP20-68A_12-04.pdf