Monday, June 30, 2008

Picks of the Week: June 29 - July 5, 2008

Website of the Week -- Women's Funding Network

The Women's Funding Network is a network of funds specifically supportive of nonprofit groups and initiatives working to improve the lives of women and girls. Some 125 such funds across the US and in 17 other countries are members or affiliates of the network; the site includes a search engine to find one near you. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Exposing the Elephants: Creating Exceptional Nonprofits by Pamela J. Wilcox

From the publisher: Providing an insider's look into the need for change, Exposing the Elephants: Creating Exceptional Nonprofits gives an eye-opening assessment of the state of the nonprofit sector today, as well as practical and useful recommendations for real change from within. Written by nonprofit authority Pamela Wilcox, Exposing the Elephants is straightforward in tone and brims with optimism for the future of the nonprofit industry. This stirring guide confronts the brutal facts of daily existence in the nonprofit setting, and equips you with a new and pragmatic framework to propel your organization to embrace innovation, new venture risk, and lasting mission achievements. Divided into three parts, Part I of Exposing the Elephants introduces the nonprofit industry and explores the public perception of nonprofits. Part II tackles the "what" and "why" of the five nonprofit "elephants," with each elephant representing an uncomfortable truth that volunteer and staff leaders recognize, but refuse to acknowledge. Finally, Part III explores the revolutionary ideas and practices—elephant solutions—that can tame and transform unruly pachyderms into well-behaved friends. Successful tools and techniques are sprinkled throughout the chapters. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Trends in Black America

According to one of the largest-ever studies of Black America, 70 percent of African Americans already have a plan for their future. The survey was released today by Radio One Inc., the study’s sponsor, and Yankelovich, the Chapel Hill-based research firm. The survey of 3,400 African Americans between 13 and 74 years of age, the only study to include Black teens and seniors, found also that 54 percent were optimistic about their future and 60 percent believe “things are getting better for me.” The study provides the most detailed snap shot of African American life in the United States today, and finds strong group identity across age and income brackets. It also discloses a comprehensive look at how African Americans feel about many aspects of life in America, and cautions against a simplistic reading of Black America as a monolithic group. In fact, it shows that Blacks are divided evenly on how they liked to be described, with 42 percent (who are more likely to be affluent) preferring to be called “Black” and 44 percent preferring “African American.” The survey, representing nearly 30 million Black Americans, identified eleven specific segments within Black America today, ranging from Connected Black Teens, Digital Networkers and Black Onliners at the younger end, to Faith Fulfills, Broadcast Blacks and Boomer Blacks at the older end. To download a copy of the report as well as several facts sheets, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Handbook on Citizen Engagement

The Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) has released a Handbook on Citizen Engagement, a resource useful for those working in community development. The report, written by Amanda Sheedy and released in March 2008 describes citizen engagement as the belief that people should have and want to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. The handbook is “intended to whet the appetite for citizen engagement for those new to citizen engagement, and for those with experience to deepen the analysis behind citizen engagement projects and provide a synthesis of the field and a concise reference tool. The long term vision is to contribute to the closing of the gap between governments and citizens, to allow public servants and politicians to reconnect with citizens’ needs, priorities and values.” To download the Handbook on Citizen Engagement from the CPRN website go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Remove Formatting in Word 2007

To remove formatting in Word 2007:

• Select text
• Click the Home button on the Ribbon
• In the Font group, click the clear formatting button

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Picks of the Week: June 22 - 28, 2008

Website of the Week -- Civic Practices Network

Civic Practices Network (CPN) is a collaborative and nonpartisan project bringing together a diverse array of organizations and perspectives within the civic renewal movement. CPN shares a commitment to bring practical methods for public problem solving into every community and institutional setting in America. The site includes manual and resource guides, sample course syllabi and much more. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Power in Policy: A Funder's Guide to Advocacy and Civic Participation by Hodding, III Carter and David F. Arons

From the Publisher: Why should funders try to shape public policy? Simply put, because public policy has impact on mission. And, it’s the only way to affect the laws that determine how people will be treated, what services will be provided, and what behaviors are acceptable. But what role should foundations play? Power in Policy, written primarily by foundation practitioners for foundations, is the first book that:

• Makes a strong case for why advocacy and civic participation are fundamental roles for foundations
• Shares insights, lessons, and perspectives from foundation leaders and legal and philanthropic experts on how to engage in, talk about, and incorporate advocacy into philanthropy—and the nature of their role in the policymaking arena
• Answers frequently asked questions including, “How does my foundation assess various risks?” “How do we organizationally prepare for public policy work, and develop partnerships and advocacy strategies?”
• Gives rich case stories of how private and community foundations—including large and small foundations—are meeting their missions through public policy and civic activity
• Presents clearly and concisely key policy principles, legal rules, and evaluation methods
• Provides a toolkit for foundations to develop the capacity to engage in advocacy at their own speed and resource level

Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Using Employee Volunteering Benefits HR Departments

In a recent survey of executives of large Canadian and US companies, more than two thirds of responding companies reported that volunteerism will grow in importance as a management priority (The Conference Board, 2006). One reason is the growing belief that employee volunteering benefits business. The last few decades have produced claims regarding the HR value of company-supported employee volunteer programs. According to recent research about the practices of pioneering companies, it is increasingly clear that the HR areas that employee volunteering best supports are employee professional development, recruitment, morale and retention, and teamwork. For a description of trends and best practices in each of these areas, download a copy of the report at:

Resource of the Week -- KIDS COUNT Data Center

A service of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center is an online database that features more than 100 indicators of child well-being for the 50 largest U.S. cities. You can select a state or city to find a range of major indicators of child well being such as child poverty rates, health insurance coverage, etc. You can also compare specific data across states or cities. Results can be viewed as a ranking, map, or trend line. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Find Your Excel 2007 Serial Number

When you first installed Excel 2007 you had to enter a product key number which was probably located on the CD. This ID is your serial number. You will need to have this number If you ever try to get technical support from Microsoft. Here’s how you can find it:

• Click the Office button on the Ribbon
• Click the Excel Options button
• Click Resources
• Click the About button to display the About Microsoft Excel dialog box
• Your product ID code is displayed on this dialog box

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picks of the Week: June 15 - 21, 2008

Website of the Week -- CADCA's National Coalition Institute

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Coalition Institute, created by an Act of Congress, helps build more effective community anti-drug coalitions through training, technical assistance and educational materials. The Institute serves as both a vehicle for coalition-specific substance abuse prevention policy development and a center for coalition training, technical assistance, evaluation, research and capacity building. While the focus is anti-drug coalition building, this comprehensive website will be of great value to other nonprofits. Go to: Also be sure to check out the Strengthening Partnerships Toolkit.

Publication of the Week -- Wired for Good: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits by Joni Podolsky

Wired for Good is a nuts-and-bolts guide to strategic technology planning for nonprofit organizations—no matter how large or small. This book leads nonprofits through a planning process that will help them align their technology use with their mission and strategic goals, determine what the appropriate technology tools are to meet those goals, and how the technology will be implemented and supported over time. This essential guide also shows how to win support for a strategic technology plan within an organization, evaluate a plan's effectiveness, and help staff and other stakeholders adapt to the changes new technology will bring about. Wired for Good shows nonprofit professionals how to:

• Get their organization ready for the strategic technology planning process
• Dispel the myths surrounding technology planning
• Understand the benefits of strategic technology planning
• Overcome organizational resistance to strategic technology planning
• Define the roles and responsibilities of staff and other key stakeholders in creating a successful plan
• Make the best use of volunteers and consultants
• Find the funds to support technology implementation

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- High Net Worth Business Owner Giving Trends

For business owners, personal passion -- not personal reward -- drives philanthropic involvement, according to a survey released today by SunTrust Bank Private Wealth Management. The national study surveyed over 200 high net worth business owners, whose companies have at least $10 million in annual revenue, about their philanthropic involvement and motivation. Business owners cite "helps make a positive change" as the top reason for charitable giving. Nearly three-fourths of respondents say satisfying their personal moral beliefs drives their philanthropic impulses. And fewer than half say they give to receive tax credits; to bring positive attention to their business; to network; to establish a legacy; or to gain recognition. Virtually all the business owners surveyed have made a charitable donation personally (96%) and through their business (79%). On average, in 2007 they report having donated over a quarter of a million dollars to charitable causes through their businesses and $78,000 personally or as families.
Seven in 10 agree that "even if there is an economic downturn that moderately affects my business, I plan to keep my current level of nonprofit or charitable giving in the coming year." They are "charity multipliers," in that more than half encourage employees to donate time and/or money to company charities. And one in three say they will match donations made by employees. Their generosity extends beyond simply giving money. Business owners are a critical component of the nonprofit world as members of nonprofit boards. About half (47%) of respondents sit on the board of a philanthropic organization, particularly those that focus on religious concerns (21%), arts/culture (18%), children's needs (18%), and healthcare issues (17%). Click here for more study details.

Resource of the Week -- CharityChannel Re-launched

CharityChannel, one of the oldest and most comprehensive resources for nonprofits has re-launched. CharityChannel was founded in 1992 by Stephen Nill who saw a need for colleagues to connect, share and discuss pertinent challenges and issues. It was started as one email-based discussion forum – CHARITYTALK – which is still one of the more active discussions communities of CharityChannel. As the professional community grew, so did CharityChannel. With well over 100,000 participants, CharityChannel rolled out its new web site in March, 2008. The new site, built atop the CharityChannel framework™, is designed to enable nearly instant creation of features and content sections according to the rapidly expanding needs of the CharityChannel professional community. The site includes articles, book reviews, newsletters, training resources and much more. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Inserting Line Numbers in Word 2007

• Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon
• In the Page Setup group, click Line Numbers
• Select options from the menu

You can have line numbers run continuously through your document. You can also have the line numbering restart on each page or following section breaks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Picks of the Week: June 8 - 14, 2008

Website of the Week -- Center for Community-Based and Nonprofit Organizations at Austin Community College

The Center for Community-Based and Nonprofit Organizations at Austin Community College promotes, leverages and facilitates community collaborations and partnerships that broaden the horizons and possibilities for the Central Texas Nonprofit Sector. These collaborations reflect the Center’s ability to bring business, government and nonprofit sectors together around common goals. The Center has achieved considerable credibility in Central Texas as well as throughout the State. Established in 2000, the Center for Community-Based and Nonprofit Organizations at Austin Community College has served over 9000 individuals from over 3500 nonprofits, small businesses, and law firms, through the over 500 learning opportunities it has provided with the mostly pro bono services of over 200 session leaders. A highlight of this website is the Online Library, a compilation of easily accessible and free resources as well as articles, e-books, checklists, tools, links, etc. collected here for the benefit of those engaged in the Nonprofit Sector. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters by Mal Warwick

From the Publisher: Write with confidence and reach your donors. You'll learn all the essential components of writing for success from this go-to book for writing for fundraising! Mal Warwick, the nation's premier letter-writing tutor and direct mail expert, shows you the essential tools for making your direct marketing program a success. He gives you both general advice about the most effective direct mail strategies and specific guidance. Learn his step-by-step model through all the critical stages -from laying the groundwork for a prosperous campaign through the importance of thanking donors. Includes new chapters on E-mail solicitations, monthly and legacy giving and free downloads on In this revised and updated edition, you will:

• Gain insight into current trends in the field with updated cases, samples, and examples
• Access more content for small to medium NPOs with limited budgets and resources
• Learn the latest technology with new sections on typography and lay out

To preview this book on, click here.

Trend of the Week -- Governance Trends in Midsize Nonprofits

According to a recent Urban Institute study “Boards of Midsize Nonprofits: Their Needs and Challenges“, nonprofit boards are receiving increased attention from policymakers, media, researchers and the public. Yet most research, policy proposals, and best practice guidelines have been oriented toward large organizations. This study helps fill a major gap by focusing on governance among midsize nonprofits, identifying certain problem areas, and suggesting strategies that those engaged with midsize nonprofits may find helpful in strengthening their boards. The discussion uses data on the subset of 1,862 midsize organizations in the Urban Institute National Survey of Nonprofit Governance, the first national representative study of nonprofit governance. Comparing midsize nonprofits with their larger counterparts, the study finds that their boards are less engaged in many basic stewardship responsibilities. Midsize nonprofits’ boards also have greater difficulty attracting new members. These comparisons underscore the need for efforts targeted at midsize nonprofits to help them strengthen their governance. For an abstract as well as the full study, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Mission-Based Management Newsletter

Peter Brinckerhoff of Corporate Alternatives, Inc. publishes an excellent monthly newsletter. Each issue includes the following features: Sites of the Month, Management Tip of the Month, Recommended Publications, and Marketing Tip. Also included are links to all past issues over the last five years. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Combining Text from Two Cells in Excel

In Microsoft Excel you can combine the text in two or more cells into a single text string by using “concatenation”. The result is displayed in the cell where you type the formula. For example, If you have a worksheet that contains the First name in cell A1 and the Last name in cell B1, enter the following expression in cell C1 to create a text string that displays the values of the First and Last names separated by a space: =A1&" "&B1. See example at (June 8-15 Tech Tip)

Be sure to put a space between the double quotes in the expression. Copy this formula down to each row containing the names. Then copy the cells containing this formula back to their original position using Paste Special to convert the formula into a value:

• Select the column by clicking the column name
• Choose Copy
• Right click and choose Paste Special from the short-cut menu
• Choose Values and click OK

This tip works in Excel 2007 as well as earlier versions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Picks of the Week: June 1 - 7, 2008

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative

The Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative is a collaboration of nonprofit Management Service Organizations (MSOs) from across the United States who have combined their efforts to create a nonprofit jobs site by nonprofits, for Nonprofits. The goal of the Cooperative is to use a regional focus and local presence to provide service on a national scale. Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative believes that the regional focus that each partner offers is the best way to find qualified staff dedicated to the nonprofit sector. For the job seeker eager to find opportunities in the nonprofit sector, the Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative provides a one-stop source for nonprofit jobs from coast to coast. Individuals can search by geographic region, job title, category, organization name, or salary to find their ideal position. To learn more about the Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Benchmarking in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors: Best Practices for Achieving Performance Breakthroughs by Patricia Keehley and Neil Abercrombie

From the Publisher: The first edition of Benchmarking in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors offered public officials and administrators at all levels of government a unique and practical guide to identifying best practices and implementing them in their organizations. Based on the most current research, this new edition of the best-selling guide provides an updated, solution-driven methodology for benchmarking in both the public and nonprofit sectors. Unique in its focus solely on benchmarking, the authors take a step-by-step approach to two benchmarking techniques, differentiating between the two and then providing a new approach to solution-driven benchmarking that requires less time and fewer resources.

Benchmarking in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors provides new tools, many updated case studies, and additional examples not only from government and nonprofit agencies, but also from the international community. This important resource will help practitioners implement a quick, proven method as they search for solutions to their most pressing problems. To preview the book on, click here.

Trend of the Week -- America's Nonprofit Sector Growth Trends

According to the Nonprofit Almanac 2008 just published by the Urban Institute Press,
America's nonprofit sector continues to grow faster than its business sector or its government. The nonprofit sector’s role in the economy has expanded by most key measures since 1998. It employs more people, draws in more revenue, and contributes more to the gross domestic product than it did a decade ago. Key findings include:

• Sector highlights: In 2006, nonprofits contributed $666.1 billion to the U.S. economy, and received $1 trillion in revenue, a 5.7 percent increase over 2005. In 2005, 12.9 million people worked for nonprofits, up from 11.1 million in 1998.
• Giving highlights: Private giving (individuals, foundations, and corporations) reached $295 billion in 2006, more than double 1996’s $139 billion. Individuals donated $222.9 billion in 2006, compared with $107.6 billion in 1996; personal bequests added another $22.9 billion in 2006, up from $12 billion in 1996. Foundations gave $36.5 billion in 2005, a 197 percent increase from 10 years earlier.
• Volunteering highlights: 61.2 million people said they volunteered in 2005. About 12.9 billion hours were volunteered in 2006, the equivalent of 7.6 million full-time employees.
• In 2006, the estimated wage value of volunteer time was $215.6 billion—equivalent to 43.3 percent of all nonprofit wages.

To order a copy of the Nonprofit Almanac, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Professional Practice Statements

Founded in 1916, the Association Forum of Chicagoland today serves 47,000 Chicago area association professionals whose efforts serve 37 million members and 9 million donors. In 1996 the Association Forum Board of Directors approved what is believed to be the first professional practice statements ever adopted by a professional society of association professionals. The collected practice statements can be adapted by other nonprofits as appropriate. Topics covered by the practice statement include:

• Achieving Diversity in Associations
• Facilitation of Effective Board Decision Making
• Ethical Behavior of Association Leaders
• Volunteer Leader and Staff Relationship
• Evaluating the Performance of the Association Chief Executive Officer
• Recruitment and Retention of Quality Staff
• Strategic Alliances
• Association Strategic Governance
• Role and Function of an Audit Committee
• Role of the Chief Executive Officer in the Nomination Process
• And more.

To view the practice statements, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Quick Parts in Microsoft Word 2007

Quick parts is a new feature in Word 2007 which allows you to add preformatted boilerplate text to documents. The text can be used as often as you need. For example, you can use Quick Parts to insert cover pages, footers with page numbers, tables, text boxes, watermarks, and more.

To use Word 2007's Quick Parts:

• Click Insert on the Ribbon
• In the Text group, click Quick Parts
• Click Building Blocks Organizer to browse the list of building blocks
• To preview an item, click it and it appears in the pane to the right
• When you find an item you'd like to insert, select it and click Insert
• Or click Close to close the dialog box without inserting anything