Monday, April 28, 2008

Picks of the Week: April 27 - May 3, 2008

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Finance Fund

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is a national leader in financing nonprofits, strengthening their financial health and improving their capacity to serve their communities. With NFF's help, nonprofits build and renovate facilities, fund growth needs, and expand and sustain operations over time. NFF serves both nonprofits and their funders, offering an integrated package of financial and advisory services, including facilities and working capital loans and lines of credit; asset-building programs; intensive workshops; Nonprofit Business Analyses, and other consultations to help nonprofit management understand the impact on their finances of management and program decisions. A newly launched entity, NFF Capital Partners, helps nonprofits attract equity-like growth capital. NFF was established in 1980 and is now one of the nation's leading community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy by Gary D. Bass, David F. Arons, Kay Guinane, and Matthew F. Carter

From the publisher: Seen but Not Heard: Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy provides new research findings about the extent of nonprofit advocacy while also detailing the barriers and incentives for nonprofits seeking to engage in various types of policy activities. Seen but Not Heard: Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy provides new research findings about the extent of nonprofit advocacy while also detailing the barriers and incentives for nonprofits seeking to engage in various types of policy activities, including lobbying. The book, written by Gary D. Bass, David F. Arons, Kay Guinane, and Matthew F. Carter, with assistance from Susan Rees, is the culmination of survey research, focus groups and interviews with nonprofit executives and board members around nonprofit policy engagement. It is a comprehensive analysis of advocacy – which includes lobbying – by charities and provides recommendations for strengthening nonprofit policy participation. Click here to preview the book.

Trend of the Week -- Involving Youth in Nonprofit Arts Organizations

The future of nonprofit arts organizations large and small depends on attracting the best new talent to administer their affairs, to serve as artists and audiences, and to act as advocates, boosters, and financial supporters. Given the shrinking pool of younger people and the increased competition for their attention, action to meet this pressing, and increasingly complex, challenge can no longer be left to a vague future date. This report, prepared by Barry Hessenius and commissioned by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, explores these issues and challenges with the hope of sparking a national discussion. Key findings and recommendations include:

• As a field, the nonprofit arts sector needs to intensify its efforts to convince young people of the value of involvement in the arts, widen bridges and lines of communication to the next generation, and involve young people in areas heretofore outside the scope of their experience, for example, financial support and advocacy.
• Launch a national dialogue about youth involvement in the arts. As soon as possible, leaders in the field should convene forums and discussion groups in major urban and regional centers across the country to address the issue of generational succession and youth involvement.
• Develop a sector-wide strategic plan to: 1) aggressively market the benefits of involvement with the arts to young people; and 2) create a nationwide grassroots corps of young activists and advocates for the arts.

To download an executive summary and full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Online Advocacy Resources

The Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest has assembled an extensive collection of online resources for advocacy. The links are organized in six categories: web based advocacy tool kits, organizations strengthening nonprofit lobbying, advocacy, public policy engagement and sites with lobbying & advocacy resources - by state, public policy web portals, take action on public policy issues and track bills web sites, and nonprofit sector and civic infrastructure organizations. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Creating a Template in Excel 2007

Templates are boilerplate worksheets that can save time and promote standardization. To create an Excel 2007 template:

• Enter all necessary data and apply required formatting
• Click on the office button to open the drop down menu
• Choose the Save As option
• Choose the Other formats option
• Choose the Save As option to open the Save As dialog box
• Click on the Save as type option to open the drop down list
• Scroll through the list to find the template options
• For most templates, choose the Excel Template (*.xltx) option
• If your template contains macros, choose the Macro Enabled Template (*.xltm) option
• If you plan to use your template with older versions of Excel, choose the Excel 97 - 2003 Template (*.xlt) option

To use your template to create a new worksheet, click the office button and select New. Your template will be listed in the My templates… folder.

On the Web you can find thousands of Excel templates for just about anything you can think of. A good place to start is

Monday, April 21, 2008

Picks of the Week: April 20 - 26, 2008

Website of the Week -- African American Nonprofit Network

The African American Nonprofit Network was founded in 2006 to strengthen diversity among the leadership of nonprofit organizations within the National Capital Region. By broadening the base of African American management and leadership, AANN helps nonprofits better understand and address the needs of the children, youth and families they serve. AANN achieves these results by helping nonprofit organizations in the National Capital Region identify:
• Experienced African American managers within the nonprofit sector to serve as president, executive director, CEO, COO, CFO, chief human services officer, and in other senior management capacities;
• Talented African Americas in other arenas, such as the for-profit sector and military service, that are interested in working in the nonprofit sector, and helping them to transition their careers; and
• African Americans with strong leadership skills that are interested in serving as board members, advisors, and mentors for board members. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter F. Drucker and the Leader to Leader Institute

From the publisher: With Peter Drucker’s five essential questions and the help of five of today’s thought leaders, this little book will challenge readers to take a close look at the very heart of their organizations and what drives them. A tool for self-assessment and transformation, answering these five questions will fundamentally change the way you work, helping you lead your organization to an exceptional level of performance. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Giving by U.S. Family Foundations Jumped 21 Percent in 2006

America's family foundations gave $17 billion in 2006, a 21 percent increase over 2005, according to the Foundation Center's new report, Key Facts on Family Foundations (2008 Edition). Since 1998 — the first year for which statistics on family foundations are available — giving by these grantmakers has more than doubled. The report identified 37,100 independent foundations with measurable donor or donor-family involvement. Among other key findings in the report:

• 67 percent of all family foundations have been established since 1990.
• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranked as the largest family foundation by giving and assets in 2006.
• Many family foundations are small, with 49 percent giving less than $50,000 annually.
• Education was the top funding priority of family foundations located in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, while health accounted for the biggest share among Western family foundations, largely due to the Seattle, WA-based Gates Foundation.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Blue Avocado

Blue Avocado is a new online magazine whose aim is to engage and support the people of community nonprofits. Blue Avocado will publish on the 1st and 15th of every month—and is delivered via email newsletter, website, and RSS feed. Future issues will include
• Board Cafe for nonprofit board members
• Personal Finance column: making it work on nonprofit salaries
• Ask Rita in HR: A nonprofit-specific human resources advice column
• Consumer reviews of products
• Word on the Street . . . nonprofit people on the frontlines report on the sustainability movement, human services, funding for films, and more
• Strategies for Financial Sustainability, and more

The magazine is available at no charge. To subscribe, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Remove Extra Space between Paragraphs in Word 2007

By default Word 2007 adds a space between paragraphs. You cannot delete this space by backspacing. To turn off the space between paragraphs, follow these steps:
• Click the Home tab
• In the Paragraph group, click the small arrow in the lower right corner to display the Paragraph dialog box
• Select “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style"
• Click OK

To remove the space between paragraphs already typed simply select the text and follow the above steps. This only affects the current document. To change this default for all documents, click the Default button in the Paragraph dialog box.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Picks of the Week: April 13-19, 2008

Website of the Week -- Community Leadership Association

The mission of the Community Leadership Association is to strengthen and transform communities by enhancing the capacity of inclusive, community leadership development efforts. Through training seminars, annual leadership conferences, collaborations, partnerships, and educational publications, the Community Leadership Association seeks to inspire and encourage community leadership programs across the country and to help them address issues of vital importance to their respective communities. The website includes a discussion forum, a directory, access to publications, information concerning professional development, list of awards given, conferences, and memberships. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Ethical Fundraising: A Guide for Nonprofit Boards and Fundraisers by Janice Gow Pettey

From the publisher: Ethical Fundraising is an invaluable collection of essays based on the rich experience of philanthropic leaders. The book is full of cases, anecdotes, codes, and other hands-on material as well as wise reflections on the central role of ethics in fundraising. The book offers a range of practical tools and techniques to incorporate ethical standards and practices in nonprofit fundraising Featuring contributions from a host of well-known and respected senior-level fundraising professionals, Ethical Fundraising provides clear and concise explanations of common ethical fundraising challenges along with practical case studies to stimulate thought and discussion. Essential topics are covered, including:
• Appearance of impropriety
• Rights of donors
• Tainted money
• Using donations as intended
• Choosing a leadership role
• Ethical decision-making
• Restoring public confidence in the nonprofit sector
• The ethics of grant making and grant seeking

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Survey: Many Non-Profits Fall Short on Ethics

Fraud is as prevalent in nonprofit organizations as it is in business or government, and misconduct in these organizations is at the highest level on record according to an Ethics Resource Center (ERC) survey. The ERC, an 85-year-old Arlington, Va.-based group devoted to research and the advancement of high ethical standards, used the Opinion Research Corp. to poll 3,452 employees and received telephone responses from 558 employees in the nonprofit sector between June 24 and Aug. 15, 2007. Fraud, in the Ethics Resource Center’s National Nonprofit Ethics Survey, consisted of lying; the alteration of documents, including financial records; and the misreporting of hours. Additionally, the survey found, six types of misconduct posed high risk to the nonprofit sector: discrimination, sexual harassment, misuse of confidential information, lying to stakeholders, improper hiring and safety violations. The ERC surveyed employees in business and government during the same period as well. In the business sector, 56 percent of employees surveyed said they observed misconduct, as opposed to 57 percent in the government sector and 55 percent in the nonprofit sector. The survey shows that rate of observed misconduct in nonprofit organizations is at the highest level since the ERC began measuring it in 2000, when it was reported by 46 percent of respondents. In 2007, more than half (55 percent) of nonprofit employees observed one or more acts of misconduct. To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Resources for Organizational Sustainability

The US Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives has complied an extensive list of web-based resources on various aspects of organizational sustainability. The resources are organized in the following categories: Building a Sustainable Initiative, Collaboration and Identifying Stakeholders, Leadership and Board Development, The Business Plan for Nonprofits: Creating A Case, and Additional Resources. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Calculate Remaining Days in the Year in Excel

Have you ever wanted to calculate the number of days remaining in the year? If the date is in cell A1, use the following formula:


Monday, April 7, 2008

Picks of the Week: April 6 - 12, 2008

Website of the Week -- The Finance Project

The Finance Project is a specialized non-profit research, consulting, technical assistance and training firm for public and private sector leaders nationwide. The group aims to help leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies, and build solid partnerships that benefit children, families and communities. The Finance Project was founded in 1994 with support from a consortium of national foundations interested in ensuring the viability and sustainability of promising initiatives that contribute to better futures for children, families, and communities. The site contains links to numerous resources, many available at no charge. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World by David LaPiana

In this ground-breaking book, strategy expert David La Piana introduces “Real-Time Strategic Planning,” a fluid, organic process that engages staff and board in a program of systematic readiness and continuous responsiveness. With it, your nonprofit will be able to identify, understand, and act on challenges and opportunities as they arise—not in six months when the “plan” is done. At the heart of this practical book is the Real-Time Strategic Planning Cycle. Based on four years of research and testing with a variety of nonprofits, this proven process guides you through the steps to sound strategy. You’ll find tools for
• Clarifying your competitive advantage—where your organization fits in its marketplace, who your competitors are, and what sets you apart from the pack.
• Generating a strategy screen—criteria for evaluating strategies. The next time a critical issue pops up, you’ll have strategic principles in place and be able to respond quickly.
• Handling big questions—the opportunities or threats that require development of a new strategy in order to respond.
• Developing and testing strategies—reduce the chances of picking the wrong strategy.
• Implementing and adapting strategies—learn how to continuously probe for crises and opportunities—not just once every three years.

This useful guide also includes exhibits and case examples showing how concepts play out in real-life, 27 tools—10 of which are essential for forming strategies, theory to action sidebars telling you which tool to use for a given task, and a CD with all the tools and interactive worksheets you’ll need. Preview this book at

Trend of the Week -- Teen Volunteerism on the Rise

Youth Helping America--Building Active Citizens: The Role of Social Institutions in Teen Volunteering shows that 55 percent of American teenagers volunteered in 2004, compared to just 29 percent of adults. Approximately 15.5 million teenagers contributed more than 1.3 billon hours of service in 2004, according to the survey, produced by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau and Independent Sector. Going beyond previous studies linking volunteering to individual and social characteristics, this analysis also looked at the frequency of youth volunteering, and at the relationship between social institutions and their level of volunteer commitment. Key findings include:

• 39 percent of the teenagers who volunteer are regular volunteers, compared with 55 percent of adult volunteers who fall in that category, while 35 percent of youth are occasional volunteers and 27 percent are episodic volunteers.

• The stronger the social ties, the more likely a teen is to be a regular volunteer:
- Youth with at least one parent who volunteers are nearly three times more likely to be regular volunteers than youth from non-volunteer families – 33 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
- Youth who attend religious services regularly are nearly twice as likely to be regular volunteers as those who do not attend services.
- Students who report doing better in school are more likely to volunteer regularly than are students who do not do as well.

• High school students are more likely to be regular volunteers than are junior high school students – 24 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

For a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Google for Nonprofits

A new portal, called Google for Nonprofits, is now available that provides nonprofits access and guidance on how to use a variety of tools and resources that Google offers. The portal offers such programs and features as:
• The Gmail email system
• An online donation collection and processing program
• A system for sharing and editing documents online
• An analytics program to determine how often people go to your website and how they use the information that it provides
• An online grant search engine
• A dynamic, interactive maps program to visually illustrate the work of a charity
• Blogging software

For each service, Google for Nonprofits also offers instructions (with video tutorials) on how to use the program, as well as guidance as to how nonprofits can get the most benefit out of each. Use of each of the services is free of charge. The site also features examples of how some nonprofits are already using the various tools to further their mission. None of the programs offered through the portal are new. They have all been previously offered by Google, but the Google for Nonprofits portal is the first time the company has proactively marketed many of them to the nonprofit community. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Inserting the Filename and Path in Word 2007 Header/Footers

• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• In the Header & Footer group, click Header or Footer
• Select Edit Header or Footer
• In the Insert group, click Quick Parts and then Field
• From Field menu scroll down and select FileName from the Field name list
• Choose the desired Format
• Select Add path to filename, if desired
• Click OK