Monday, May 19, 2008

Picks of the Week: May 18 - June 1, 2008

Website of the Week -- American Management Association

The American Management Association website features an extensive collection of free learning resources including:

• Thinker Series A selection of the latest insight behind today's leading business issues.
• Free E-Newsletters AMA’s free monthly e-newsletters focus on key issues such as work/life balance, communication and leadership. Others are targeted to HR, administrative professionals, pharma and healthcare employees.
• Research: Access to AMA's surveys and reports on current business topics and trends from job creation to crisis management. New surveys conducted and posted monthly.
• AMA Online Library; In-depth information on a variety of management and business topics in the form of tips, articles, e-books, book reviews and more.
• Recent Events: Valuable summaries and archives of many of AMA’s recent Webcast, conferences, forums, and briefings.

You will need to sign up for an access pass which will give you free and unlimited access to recorded Webcasts, Research Reports and the Online Library. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Philanthropy Annual: 2007 Review

From the publisher: This new compendium, published by the Foundation Center, provides a full overview of organized philanthropy in all its forms, illustrating philanthropy's important role in society and its national and global impact. Its contents are drawn in part from Philanthropy News Digest (PND), the Foundation Center's daily online news service, as well as selected research findings in the annual Foundations Today Series and other Center sources. Highlights include:

• Topical issues covered in the mainstream and philanthropic press during 2007
• News of individuals who have dedicated their professional lives to working for the public good
• In-depth interviews and commentary from widely respected leaders and thinkers
• A sampling of books, periodicals, and blogs in the field
• Key statistical information about U.S. grantmaking
• A desk reference section with contact information for sector organizations and philanthropy press

To order a copy, go to:

Trend of the Week -- Social Finance Trends

Charity Village recently published a report entitled, Strengthening Organizational Capacity: Social Finance Survey Report. The report explores the concept of social finance, or finance that delivers social, environmental and economic benefits, and how it may be an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to identify new ways of accessing capital since 96% of survey respondents agree that the nonprofit sector needs to explore new ways of accessing capital to meet its goals. The majority of respondents (61%) from outside of Canada had heard of the term “social finance.” while within Canada, that awareness level dropped to 53% of respondents. For more information, and to download the full report, visit:

Resource of the Week -- EPA Grant-Writing Tutorial

This interactive software tool walks the user through the grant-writing process and helps them learn to write more competitive grants. While the focus is on EPA grant applications, the resource will be useful for grant writing in general. The program includes:

• Detailed information and tips on writing a grant proposal
• How to complete a grant application package
• Program-specific sections on three EPA grant programs
• Examples of good, complete grant packages
• References and a glossary of terms
• Resources and contacts
• A mock grant-writing activity where the user is able to compare their results to a successful grant application

Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Sorting and Filtering in Excel 2007

A big improvement in Excel 2007 is the ability to sort on up to 64 levels instead of the 3 we had available in prior versions. You can also filter data by color or by dates and Excel will display more than 1000 items in the AutoFilter drop-down list. A quick way to sort or filter data in Excel 2007 is to use the shortcut menu:

• Right click a column in your table
• Select Filter or Sort from the shortcut menu
• To sort by the column selected, click Sort A to Z or Sort Z to A
• To sort on multiple criteria, select Custom Sort to display the Sort dialog box

Monday, May 12, 2008

Picks of the Week: May 11 - 17, 2008

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Congress

The Nonprofit Congress, an initiative of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations and the state association network, empowers individuals and nonprofits to act collectively for positive change. Building on the fundamental belief that nonprofits are vital to society, the Nonprofit Congress is guided by shared values and priorities established by nonprofits in communities across the country. To find out more, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives by Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek

From the publisher: Life Entrepreneurs is an inspirational and practical guide for anyone who wants to incorporate the dynamic skills of entrepreneurs into their own lives and work. A new generation of "life entrepreneurs" is emerging: people who apply their vision, talents, creativity, and energy not only to their work but to their entire lives, changing the world for themselves and those around them. In this book, successful entrepreneurs Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek draw on numerous interviews with fifty-five leading entrepreneurs worldwide as well as the wisdom of multiple thought leaders to provide vivid examples, moving vignettes, concrete frameworks, and practical strategies for revving up our work and play through entrepreneurial leadership. This book starts by providing strategies for integrating life, work, and purpose and ends by capturing the implications of the current entrepreneurial boom for our workplaces, learning institutions, communities, and families. Christopher Gergen (Washington, D.C.) is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, co-founder and chairman of SMARTHINKING, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at Duke University, and a life-long entrepreneur, Gregg Vanourek (Thornton, CO) is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, former CEO of Vanourek Consulting Solutions, and former Senior Vice President of School Development for K12 Inc. Preview this book at

Trend of the Week -- Trends in Online Messaging, Fundraising and Advocacy Nonprofits

M+R, in partnership with several other organizations, published the first eNonprofit Benchmarks Study in 2006. Since that time, there have been significant changes in the online space, including the huge growth in social networks like MySpace and Facebook, and an overall decline in the performance of email. The 2008 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, just published by M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), covers two years of data, and, in combination with the original study, provides a 3-year landscape of nonprofit email, fundraising and advocacy metrics. Key findings include:

• The total amount raised online increased by 19 percent from 2006 to 2007.
• The average advocacy email response rate in 2007 was 7.5 percent. The average fundraising email response rate was 13 percent.
• While $1,000+ gifts made up just 1 percent of overall online donations in 2007, these gifts made up 20 percent of the amount raised online.
• A significant portion (almost 60 percent) of the participants’ subscribers did not take any online advocacy actions over the course of 2007.
• ‘Super activists,’ the subscribers taking 6 or more online actions in a year, made up just 5 percent of the total email list size but accounted for 42 percent of the organizations’ total actions.

To download a free copy of the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Use of Due Diligence in Board Recruitment

Frank L. Kurre, national managing partner, in Grant Thornton’s Not-for-Profit industry practice Section, describes in the increasing use of due diligence by nonprofits when recruiting new board members. Some of the due-diligence procedures which nonprofits are using include the following:
• Require the candidate to complete and submit the organization’s conflict-of-interest statement and to disclose any potential conflicts or certify that no conflicts exist prior to election.
• Require the candidate to authorize the organization to perform a full background check. This background check typically includes a search of public documents for any legal judgments, IRS or state liens, negative media, publicity and a criminal check. This check would be especially important for youth serving nonprofits.
• Request that the candidate provide three references from individuals not affiliated with the organization.
• Request that the candidate briefly discuss (verbally or in writing) his or her approach to serving on the board. Topics to be addressed include commitment to the organization’s mission, willingness to participate in committee assignments and the expectation to attend a majority of board and committee meetings.
• Assess whether the candidate has any relationships with existing board members, management or other individuals which could lessen the candidate’s ability to be objective and independent.

Less we think that such a list of procedures is overdone, let’s remember that were talking about recruitment of the board of directors whose members wield considerable authority and influence. For the full list of procedures including additional guidance, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Add Color to Worksheet Tabs in Excel 2007

It can be useful to color code the tabs of Excel worksheets:

• Select the tab of the sheet you want to re-color (to select more than one tab hold down the CTRL key and click each tab)
• Right click and select Tab Color from the short-cut menu
• Select color and click OK

This tip also works in previous versions of Excel.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Picks of the Week: May 4 - 10, 2008

Website of the Week -- Leader to Leader Institute

Established in 1990 as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, the Leader to Leader Institute furthers its mission -- to strengthen the leadership of the social sector -- by providing social sector leaders with essential leadership wisdom, inspiration and resources to lead for innovation and to build vibrant social sector organizations. It is this essential social sector, in collaboration with its partners in the private and public sectors, that changes lives and builds a society of healthy children, strong families, decent housing, good schools, work that dignifies, all embraced by the diverse, inclusive, cohesive community that cares about all of its people. The Leader to Leader Institute helps social sector organizations achieve excellence in performance and community building by providing guidance in:
• Managing for the mission
• Making innovation a part of all strategy
• Developing productive partnerships, collaborations and alliances
• Facilitating dispersed leadership
• Promoting and building richly diverse, inclusive organizations and communities
• Using self-assessment resources for establishing mission, goals, and objectives

Also be sure the check out The Knowledge Center. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth by Ben Rigby and Rock the Vote

From the publisher: Mobilizing Generation 2.0 is a practical and immediately useful guide for nonprofits, political campaigns, organizers, and individuals who want to better understand how to use Web 2.0 technologies. In easy-to-understand terms, this accessible book describes how readers can leverage new media—blogs, online social networking, photo- and video-sharing sites, mobile phones, wikis, online maps, and virtual worlds—to recruit, engage, and mobilize young people. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Pro Bono Skills-Based Volunteerism Skills: Untapped Resource for Nonprofits

According to the fifth annual Volunteer IMPACT Survey by Deloitte, the overwhelming majority of human resource professionals view skills-based volunteerism as a powerful and cost-effective professional development tool, yet very few companies are leveraging volunteer programs for this purpose. The national survey of Fortune 500 human resource managers found that, while training and development is perceived as vital to corporate success, many managers are laboring under shrinking or flat budgets, underscoring the need for cost-effective innovation. One solution could be found in an unlikely place — the company’s volunteer program. Fully 91 percent of respondents agree that skills-based volunteering (which involves the contribution of business knowledge and experience to help nonprofits increase their capacity) would add value to training and development programs, particularly as it relates to fostering business and leadership skills. However, only 16 percent make it a regular practice to intentionally offer these opportunities for employee development, suggesting a missed opportunity to boost learning in a way that offers substantial benefits. Go to:,1014,cid%253D203257%2526pv%253DY,00.html.

Resource of the Week -- A Cure for Founderitis

This article addresses the symptoms, causes and treatment of “founderitis”. The term "founderitis" or "founder's syndrome" refers to the unhealthy condition that afflicts many nonprofits whose founders maintain a stranglehold on organizational leadership. While many nonprofits owe their success — and in fact their very existence — to their founders, those same individuals can create chaos that ultimately leads to the organization's collapse. The challenge to founding CEOs and boards of directors is to take steps to change conflict and chaos into opportunities for growth. The article appearing in the Center for Association Leadership website, was authored by Maryll Kleibrink, CFRE, the director of development at the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Selecting Text in Word

Have you ever had trouble selecting text with the mouse, especially between pages, and you just can't seem to get that pesky thing to stop? One of my favorite tricks is selecting with the keyboard because you have total control over where the selection starts and stop. To select text with the keyboard, position the cursor at the beginning of the selection, hold down the Shift key and move the cursor arrows.

• To select to the end of a line: Shift + End
• To select to the beginning of a line: Shift + Home
• To select everything in the document: Ctrl A

Selecting text with the mouse:

• To select a word: point to the word and double-click
• To select a sentence: hold down the Ctrl key, point to the sentence, and click
• To select a paragraph: position the cursor within the paragraph and triple click

These tips work in 2007 as well as earlier versions. Most of these tricks also work in Excel, PowerPoint, FrontPage, Access, and other Microsoft Windows-based programs.