Monday, March 31, 2008

Picks of the Week: March 30 - April 5, 2008

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Centers Network

The Nonprofit Centers Network is a community of Multi-tenant nonprofit Centers and their philanthropic, government, academic and real estate partners. Through conferences, peer networking, mentoring and the internet, The Network provides education and resources for the creation and operation of quality nonprofit office and program space. Face-to-face educational events to increase the operational effectiveness of existing MTNCs. To date, the Network has achieved three national and one regional Collaborating for Success conferences attracting participants from over 29 states and 5 countries. Online educational resources and peer guidance to enable emerging Centers and facilities projects in development to learn the field. An Online Resource Center at enables users to find documents ranging from a model lease to an actual pro-forma to a fact sheet on program related investments. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Leader to Leader 2: Enduring Insights on Leadership from the Leader to Leader Institute's Award Winning Journal edited by Frances Hesselbein and Alan Shrader

From the Publisher: Leader to Leader 2 brings together the best and most popular articles from the award-winning journal Leader to Leader by some of the best-selling authors and thought leaders of our day. With thirty-five new chapters not included in the previous volume, this book is designed as a resource for leaders at all levels. Each of the book’s five parts opens with guidance and ideas on how to enact the concepts discussed, practical action steps, thought-provoking questions, and handy tools. The Parts include: Understanding Leadership, Improving Your Personal Effectiveness, Developing People and Teams, Leading High-Performance Organizations, Leading Strategically in a World That Demands Innovation. Preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Charitable Giving Focusing On the Needs of the Poor

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and Google partnered on a study to estimate how much of the charitable giving by households in the U.S. focuses on the needs of the poor. The report, entitled “Patterns of Household Charitable Giving by Income Group, 2005”, found that less than one-third of the money individuals gave to nonprofits in 2005 was focused on the needs of the economically disadvantaged. Of the $250 billion in donations, less than $78 billion explicitly targeted those in need. Only 8 percent of households' donated dollars were reported as contributions to help meet basic needs--providing food, shelter or other necessities. An additional estimated 23 percent of total giving from all sources went to programs specifically intended to help people of low income--either providing other direct benefits (such as medical treatment and scholarships) or through initiatives creating opportunity and empowerment (such as literacy and job training programs). For a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Management Toolkits

The McKnight Foundation has prepared a set of nonprofit management toolkits. Each toolkit provides a variety of selected online resources in nonprofit management, linked by topic area. These selected online resources are provided as a service to the staffs of nonprofit organizations. Access toolkits on the following topics:
• General: Basic information to address a range of general needs for nonprofit management.
• Communications: Develop your key messages, and then share those messages with the media, the public, and policymakers.
• Evaluation: Capture ongoing assessments of all outcomes—successful and otherwise—to help inform future work.
• Fundraising: Raise funds effectively through successful grantwriting and other funding opportunities.
• Technology: Develop, or simply take control of, your organization's computers, network, and online presence.
• Volunteers: Recruit and use your most powerful workforce wisely, with an eye toward screening, evaluation, legal risks, and more.

Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Viewing and Navigating Documents in Word 2007

To view a document's organization and jump to different sections:
• Click the View tab on the ribbon
• In the show/hide group, click Document Map

When working on a longer document use Thumbnail view to navigate:
• Click the View tab on the ribbon
• In the show/hide group, click Thumbnails

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Picks of the Week: March 23 - 29, 2008

Website of the Week -- Asset-Based Community Development Institute

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), established in 1995 by the Community Development Program at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, is built upon three decades of community development research by John Kretzmann and John L. McKnight. The ABCD Institute spreads its findings on capacity-building community development in two ways: (1) through extensive and substantial interactions with community builders, and (2) by producing practical resources and tools for community builders to identify, nurture, and mobilize neighborhood assets. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Board Members Rule: How to Be a Strategic Advocate for Your Nonprofit by Ann, W. Lehman and Robert, M. Zimmerman

From the publisher: Zimmerman and Lehman, authors of Boards That Love Fundraising, have written a new and accessible hands-on book, Board Members Rule, based on their experience in working with boards and nonprofits for many years. Board Members Rule reframes a board member's role to be a strategic advocate for your nonprofit and its constituency. Given the heightened awareness of accountability and transparency, Board Members Rule shows how to pay attention to both while furthering your values, mission and vision and promoting pragmatic, effective and efficient strategies. It's filled with practical and common-sense tools, resources, grids, forms, and examples. There is a learning exercise to fit every chapter, and lists of references, resources and support centers throughout the nation. Ann Lehman and Robert Zimmerman are partners at Zimmerman Lehman, a consulting firm for nonprofits. They have over 60 years of combined experience working with nonprofits in board development, fundraising and public policy. Preview this book at

Trend of the Week -- Foundation Giving Trends

The nation's largest foundations increased funding for all major subject areas in 2006, with a record number of exceptionally large grants helping to drive this growth. According to the Foundation Center's new report, Foundation Giving Trends (2008 Edition), six out of 10 fields posted double-digit rates of growth in the latest year, led by the field of international affairs/development/peace, which grew 72.5 percent. For the first time ever, health surpassed education based on the share of grant dollars received.
Key findings include:
• International giving overall increased 48.4 percent, driven by strong gains in funding for international affairs/development/peace and health.
• Foundations awarded a record 386 grants of $5 million or more in 2006.
• The 16.4 percent growth in grant dollars awarded by sampled foundations in 2006 followed a far more modest 6.1 percent gain in the prior year.

To view report highlights, go to: To order the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Genie

Nonprofit Genie is a collection of FAQs on topics such as board development, consultants, databases, social entrepreneurship, Federal Form 990, financial management, fiscal sponsorship, fundraising insurance, Internet and telephone systems, strategic planning, technology planning and volunteer management. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Selecting a Range in Excel

In Excel, a range is a group of connected cells. When working in Excel you often need to select a range. A simple trick for quickly selecting a range is to:

• Click anywhere within the range
• Press Ctrl + Shift + *

The range is selected! This trick works in Excel 2007 as well as earlier versions.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Picks of the Week: March 16 - 22, 2008

Website of the Week -- Association of Donor Relations Professionals

The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) is the international association of professionals who advance their non-profit institutions by building and sustaining the donor relationships that lead to fund-raising success. ADRP support the development community by promoting the professional status of donor relations and stewardship offices through educational, professional development and networking opportunities. Conferences and workshops are open to members and non-members alike. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Financial Planning Made Easy by Jody Blazek

From the publisher: This Second Edition of Nonprofit Financial Planning Made Easy presents easy-to-implement strategies to make financial management a more streamlined, effective process in nonprofits of all types and sizes. Addressing five key areas of financial planning, it provides practical forms and checklists to aid nonprofit managers in managing their organizations' financial resources.

Filled with numerous checklists, worksheets, and forms to guide nonprofit professionals step-by-step through the financial planning processes, this straightforward book avoids technical financial language and trendy business terms in favor of simple, down-to-earth advice filled with examples of proven financial planning strategies based on the author's firsthand experience advising nonprofits.

Jody Blazek (Houston, TX) is a partner in Blazek & Vetterling, LLP, a Houston-based CPA firm providing tax-compliance and auditing services to tax-exempt organizations as well as tax consulting services to other accountants and lawyers who serve nonprofits. She worked with the 1023 Revision Task Force, is currently on the 990 Revision Task Force, and is past chair of the AICPA Exempt Organization Resource Panel. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Givers See Nation's Charities as Crucially Important But Wary of Slick, Pushy Marketing

According to a report, The Charitable Impulse, by the nonpartisan research organization Public Agenda, American donors are passionate and positive about the charities and nonprofits they support. But at the same time, according to focus groups, they are concerned when these organizations market themselves in ways that mimic "big business." The study was conducted in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation and in partnership with the Independent Sector. Donor sentiment about charitable organizations, Public Agenda reports, is "enthusiastic and positive," especially when it comes to smaller, local charities and human service organizations, and typical giving tends to be based on personal experience and emotional connections. But givers also have a long memory for scandal and waste. Focus groups took past misdeeds "quite personally and the breach is nearly impossible to repair," the report states.

Givers also had strong and spontaneous negative reactions when nonprofits adopt big-business type marketing and sales techniques. Glossy brochures, unsolicited "gifts," telephone solicitations, and high-pressure appeals "all came in for criticism and generated a high level of annoyance." For the most part, donors associated the term "nonprofit" almost entirely with the work of charitable, human services organizations. Many seemed surprised and even a little resentful that large nonprofits such as hospitals and universities (organizations that charge significant fees for their services) actually fall into this category. Report highlights are available in a news release at For the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Fundraising Web Resources

Hosted by the Michigan State University Libraries, this collection pf resources compiied by Jon Harrison, is intended as a starting point for those who are interested in learning more about foundations, fundraising, proposal writing, philanthropy and philanthropists, corporate philanthropy, international philanthropy, government funding, nonprofit organizations, nonprofit organization administration, planned giving, prospect research, and voluntarism, but only want to look at resources available on the web. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Creating Lines in Word

One of our favorite shortcuts from previous versions of Word still works in Word 2007! To create lines across the page of a Word document:

• Type three consecutive hyphens and press Enter for a normal line
• Type three underscores and press Enter for a bold line
• Type three equal signs and press Enter for a double line

These lines extend from the left margin to the right margin and the size of these lines will change if you change the margins of your document or if you change the orientation from Portrait to Landscape.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Picks of the Week: March 9 - 6, 2008

Website of the Week --'s mission is to improve the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector by offering software tools and services, training, and consulting that help nonprofit organizations raise funds and communicate with their stakeholders online, and manage their operations more effectively. serves over 1,500 nonprofit organizations and has processed $17.3 million in online donations, including individual contributions as well as matching funds from partner Working Assets Funding Service through their site. Backed by foundations such as Carnegie Corporation, Ford, Kellogg, Surdna, and Tides, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by the Tides Foundation in 1999, and is a member of the Tides family of organizations. offers a free newsletter providing Get free online fundraising & nonprofit marketing tips twice a month. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Integrating Mission and Strategy for Nonprofit Organizations by James A. Phills

From the publisher: Today's nonprofit organizations face an environment characterized by higher levels of competition for funding, clients and audiences, talent, and recognition. Integrating Mission and Strategy for Nonprofit Organizations applies and adapts the core body of general management knowledge about mission, strategy, and execution to help nonprofit leaders deal with the special challenges they face. It strives to draw on this knowledge in a way that does not dilute or oversimplify, and at the same time recognizes the unique features of the nonprofit or voluntary sector. James A. Phills develops an action-oriented framework that combines rigorous analysis with the practical challenge of execution and change. In addition to helping nonprofit leaders think through important decisions and make concrete choices, the book also provides a shared language and a discipline that can serve as the basis for more productive discussions between the individuals who lead nonprofits, their boards, and the philanthropists who support their organizations and programs. James A. Phills, Jr., is on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he is also Co-Director of the Center for Social Innovation and Faculty Director of the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. His research focuses on strategic change, organizational learning, and social innovation. He has previously taught at Harvard University and Yale University. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Next Generation Leaders Speak Out

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the Meyer Foundation and have released a report entitled Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out. This new study is based on surveys of nearly 6,000 nonprofit employees who do not hold executive director jobs. Among the survey's key findings:

• Potential nonprofit leaders find the traditional duties of an executive director unappealing.
• 69 percent of respondents said that they felt underpaid in their current positions, while 64 percent said that they have financial concerns about committing to a nonprofit career.
• Thirty-two percent of respondents indicated that it would be at least six years before they felt ready to take on an executive role, citing the need to develop management, technical, and leadership skills.
• Of the respondents who do aspire to become executive directors, 40 percent said that they are either ready now or will be ready to lead within five years.
• Members of minority groups were more likely than whites to express an interest in leading a nonprofit organization, as did individuals who reported growing up poor.

For a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- What is the Role of an Attorney on the Board?

The latest issue of Board Café, published by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, includes a brief article with excellent advice on structuring the role of an attorney on your board of directors. The article includes a listing of the advantages and disadvantages of having an attorney on the board and concludes with three tips for working effectively with an attorney on the board:
• Do reference checks with boards on which the attorney has served before. Does the attorney bring the best of the profession to the board room?
• When recruiting attorneys as board members, consider which types of issues your organization regularly confronts, and seek an attorney with expertise in that area.
• Give the attorney (and the board chair) a copy of the Board Café article!

To view the full article, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Protect Cells in Excel 2007

You can prevent users from overwriting formulas or inadvertently changing labels or formats by protecting cells in a worksheet. When you protect a worksheet all cells are protected, or locked, and cannot be changed. To allow users to change certain cells in the worksheet you first identify which cells should NOT be locked. Then you protect, or lock, the worksheet. In Excel 2007, follow these steps:

Unlock cells that can be changed

1. Select the cells that users should be able to change
2. Click the Home tab on the Ribbon
3. In the Font group, click the small arrow in the lower right corner to open the Format Cells dialog box
4. Click the Protection tab
5. Deselect the Locked checkbox and click OK
6. Repeat these steps for each range of cells that can be changed, then protect the worksheet

Protect the worksheet
1. Click the Review tab on the Ribbon
2. In the Changes group, click Protect Sheet and click OK
3. In the Protect Sheet dialog box enter a password, or leave blank if you don’t want a password, and click OK

Now users can only change the cells that are unlocked. If users try to change any other cells they receive a message saying they must unprotect the cells to modify them.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Picks of the Week: March 2 - 8, 2008

Website of the Week -- HR Council for the Voluntary & Non-profit Sector

The HR Council for the Voluntary & Non-profit Sector (HR Council) works with organizations, educators, labor and government to identify and address issues related to paid employment in the voluntary and non-profit sector. The HR Council is funded primarily through the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program. A highlight of the website is the HR Toolkit, a comprehensive online resource designed to help managers, employees and board members better understand, address and manage issues relating to HR in voluntary and non-profit organizations. Whether you're looking for guidance on the hiring process, information about employment legislation or sample HR policies to download, the HR Toolkit's intuitive navigation, plain language and integrated tools and templates make it easy to find what you're looking for.
Go to: To access the HR toolkit directly, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Cash Flow Strategies: Innovation in Nonprofit Financial Management by Richard S. Linzer and Anna O. Linzer

From the publisher: Cash Flow Strategies offers nonprofit organizations an innovative approach to financial management. In this companion to The Cash Flow Solution, the authors, Richard and Anna Linzer, reveal their approach—which emphasizes the use of cash flow concepts that enable an organization to have the working capital it needs. The book is filled with illustrative examples and includes the tools and templates needed to make these concepts immediately applicable to any institution. To preview this book, go to:

Trend of the Week -- Volunteering Hits a 30-Year High

A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Volunteer Growth in America: A Review of Trends Since 1974, finds that adult volunteering rose sharply between 1989 and 2005, increasing more than 32 percent over the last 16 years. Even with the increase, less than a third of American adults give their time. The report analyzes volunteering rates in 1974, 1989 and 2002-2005, using information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It finds that the growth in volunteering is driven primarily by three age groups: teenagers 16 to 19, Baby Boomers and others age 45 to 65, and older adults 65 and over. Among the findings:

• Older teenagers (ages 16-19) have more than doubled their time spent volunteering since 1989.
• Far from being a “Me Generation,” Baby Boomers are volunteering at sharply higher rates than did the previous generation at mid-life.
• The volunteer rate for Americans ages 65 years and over has increased 64 percent since 1974.
• The proportion of Americans volunteering with an educational or youth service organization has seen a 63 percent increase just since just 1989.

For a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- An Introduction to Information Design

Visualizing Information: An Introduction to Information Design is a booklet written and designed to introduce advocacy organizations to basic principles and techniques of information design. It’s full of examples of interesting design from groups around the world in a variety of media and forms. It has tips, exercises, and even recommended free software packages to help polish up your graphics. This manual offers an introduction to information design. It is intended to provide NGOs with a useful and powerful tool for advocacy and research. The manual was written and designed by John Emerson, Principal at Apperceptive LLC. To download the full booklet, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Lengthen Your List of Recently Used Documents in Word 2007

To increase the number of documents displayed on the recently used documents list:
• Click the Office button
• Click the Word Options button
• Click Advanced
• Scroll down to the display options and select Show this number of Recent Documents
• Click OK