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

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