If it weren't for the whole “family responsibilities” thing, I think I'd love to go back to college to get one of those fancy terminal degrees. Aside from getting to relive some of those college glory days, I think “Dr. Rink” has a nice little ring to it. I'd like to be able to call myself a learned man and have the paperwork to prove it. 

Even though doctor likely won't be a title I receive anytime soon, I'm still learning plenty of new lessons. And by visiting a bunch of colleges and universities recently, I've realized we're all still learning new things—even those teachers and administrators who do have fancy terminal degrees. In this effort to support continuing education, we've started the Institute for the Social Sector to help institutions that are doing good in the world get the resources they need to run a thriving organization.

Giving the People What They Want

Increasingly, we're finding that more and more people want to ensure they're doing good with their hard-earned dollars. That's why we've supported and built initiatives to help make sure investors can keep their money and values in alignment, and developed our 4 M's of Impact Investing. But we've also recognized that this growing need to make sure money is producing positive outcomes in the world represents an excellent opportunity for social sector institutions to make some real differences. 

Part of our mission with the Institute for the Social Sector was to give social sector institutions resources and ideas for engaging philanthropy-minded individuals and families. From videos, webinars and articles covering things like donor-advised funds and philanthropic conferences, the Institute has a ton of information to offer the leaders.

Doing Good for Do-Gooders

We understand the people who lead social sector institutions generally wear a lot of hats. Among administrative tasks, taking care of your employees, and achieving the mission you initially set out to accomplish, there's a lot that goes into the daily tasks of these leaders. Unfortunately, there aren't too many institutions out there getting the help they need – financial or otherwise – to make their missions a success.

The resources offered by the Institute are geared toward making life just a little easier for those with so many hats. We're working to provide social sector leaders with financial education, peer learning opportunities, and interactive tools to bring them up-to-date on what they need to know about endowment solutions, donor development strategies, and providing benefits and resources for their employees.

Getting Educated, Gaining an Edge

More than 1.5 million organizations are now registered as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, a number that's doubled over the last 10 years. That means a whole lot of people are working to put some good in the world. It also means there's a lot more competition these days for every dollar that gets given to a good cause. That competition has put a big strain on some of the smaller social sector institutions, such as small- and medium-sized universities and colleges, who typically don't have a big, or even exclusively dedicated, donor development team. It means even in the world of doing good, the little guys are still getting squeezed out. But we've always liked the little guys just a little bit more, and it's these people for whom the Institute for the Social Sector and its resources were created.

So If you're like me and you'd like to add a little bit of extra knowledge to your work week, check out the Institute and let me know what you think. We're always happy to provide as much information as we can (even if that won't get you a doctorate).

Ryan Rink loves talking donor-advised funds. He's the co-founder and president of Two West Companies and gets really pumped up about working with the social sector. If he were running for President, his slogan would be “Think Rink!”