Monday, July 28, 2008

Picks of the Week: July 27 – August 2, 2008

Website of the Week -- Root Cause

Root Cause is a nonprofit organization that accelerates enduring solutions to social and economic problems by supporting social innovators and educating social impact investors. Root Cause accomplishes this through business planning and implementation, leadership development, research, and the creation of professional and funding networks that unite the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Founded in 2004 by Andrew Wolk, Root Cause has raised more than $22 million in investment and produced seven publications in its pursuit of advancing social innovation. Clients address issues like youth development, seniors and aging, and economic development. Over the last several years, Root Cause has developed a network of over 4,500 nonprofit, business, foundation, academic, and government leaders and engaged almost 250 professionally skilled volunteers. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Risk Management & Contingency Planning: Done in a Day Strategies by Peggy M. Jackson

From the publisher: Could your nonprofit stand up to risk assessment from outside authorities? Would it be ready should a key staff member leave? Risk management and business continuity planning have the potential for growing and strengthening the internal structure of your nonprofit, yet, these crucial practices are often deferred--or avoided--because many nonprofits fear the planning process will take forever, step on toes, or gather dust on a shelf once it is completed. With valuable templates, checklists, and worksheets to facilitate planning and preparation, Nonprofit Risk Management & Contingency Planning: Done in a Day Strategies is an uncomplicated way for your nonprofit to get risk management planning done. With some basic preparation--and dedication of a single day--this easy-to-read and easy-to-use tool introduces you to the nuts and bolts of strategic planning and equips you with the structure to engage successfully in a contingency planning process. Preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Growing Impact of Nonprofits in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin nonprofit sector has grown by 70 percent over the past ten years. In 2005, there were over 31,000 Wisconsin nonprofits that employed 8.9 percent of the state’s total workforce, marking a 5.2 percent employment growth rate over 2004 and pushing Wisconsin well above the national trend of nonprofits employing 7 percent of the workforce, according to the Wisconsin Nonprofit Sector Report – More Than Charity, a new report by the Wisconsin Nonprofits Association (WNA). To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Audio Screencast: Effective Organizations Achieve Superior Results

A few years ago, Bridgespan began surveying clients' senior leadership teams about their organizations' strengths and weaknesses. There are now 30 nonprofits of varying sizes in the Bridgespan database, as well as a comparison set of data for more than 500 for-profits, which was developed at Bain & Company. Analysis of these databases demonstrates that high performing nonprofits think about organizational leadership, they identify the decisions that really matter, they develop the people necessary for success, they pay attention to work processes, and they create a high-performance culture. This presentation summarizes findings, and discusses barriers that commonly prevent many nonprofits from building effective organizations. It also outlines approaches that nonprofits can use to increase the effectiveness of their organizations. To view the audio screencast, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Paste Link in Excel 2007

Most people know how to Cut, Copy and Paste in Excel 2007 but many don’t use Paste Link, which creates a link between the data or formula in the original cell and the destination cell where it’s pasted. Here’s how:

• Click on a cell to make it the active cell
• Click on the Copy button on the Home tab (or press Ctrl + c)
• Click on the destination cell where you want the results to be displayed
• Click the small arrow at the bottom of the Paste button to open the drop down list
• Click Paste Link

The contents of the original cell now also appear in the destination cell.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Picks of the Week: July 20 - 26, 2008

Website of the Week -- Commonfund

Commonfund's mission is to enhance the financial resources of nonprofit institutions and to help them improve investment management practices. Commonfund, founded with assistance from the Ford Foundation, offers a wide range of investment funds and high quality programs and services to nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions, foundations, health care organizations, and other mission-based and public benefit nonprofits and their pension plans. Visit the website listed above for more information on Commonfund's programs and services. Go to:

Publication of the Week - Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact: A Social-Entrepreneurial Approach to Solving Social Problems by Andrew Wolk and Kelley Kreitz

From the publisher: Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact applies the strategic rigor and financial savvy of traditional private-sector business planning to social problem solving. This practical guide provides an introduction to business planning for enduring social impact and leads readers through a four-step process for creating an actionable business plan. The guide is an essential tool for organizations seeking to:

• Define organizational focus and strategy and establish a clear road map
• Build a financially sustainable model by creating a plan to establish reliable streams of philanthropic support, earned income, and/or in-kind resource
• Establish rigorous methods of measuring impact for the organization and its stakeholders
• Make data-driven decisions that lead to improvements to the organization and its activities
• Build partnerships with stakeholders in all three sectors public, private, and nonprofit

Key features include a glossary of business planning terms, plus an outline, sample workplan, and sample business plan for enduring social impact. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- U.S. Charitable Giving Up in 2007

Charitable giving in the United States is estimated to be $306.39 billion in 2007, exceeding $300 billion for the first time in history, according to Giving USA 2008, the yearbook on philanthropy released today by Giving USA Foundation. Every type of public charity receiving donations saw gains in 2007. The estimates for 2007 indicate that giving rose in 2007 by 3.9 percent (1 percent adjusted for inflation), says the report, which is researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. This year’s report also includes results from a survey of 366 charities about their fundraising practices and the impact they believe national events had on giving in 2007 and will have in 2008. The survey concentrated on charities in the public-society benefit subsector. These include combined purpose funds that reallocate received gifts to other charitable recipients, community and economic development organizations, research institutes, and organizations registering voters or working on civil rights issues. Combined-purpose funds include such entities as United Ways, religious campaigns and the Combined Federal Campaign. The increase in 2007 is attributable largely to stock market performance in the first half of the year, overall growth in the economy measured by gross domestic product, and increases in corporate and personal income as reported at the end of the year. Charitable giving was 2.2 percent of gross domestic product for 2007. Go to:

Resource of the Week -- Root Cause Solutions E-Newsletter

Root Cause Solutions is a bi-monthly e-newsletter covering key issues and topics facing problem solvers working in nonprofits, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. It includes leading-edge strategies for building enduring solutions to our most pressing social problems, drawn from our work with our consulting clients and our social enterprises. In addition, each issue provides our recommendations of other important articles and tools on the featured topic. Root Cause is a nonprofit organization that accelerates enduring solutions to social and economic problems by supporting social innovators and educating social impact investors. To subscribe to the newsletter, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Remove Duplicate Records in Excel 2007 Database

• Click in the database
• Click the Design tab
• In the Tools group click Remove Duplicates

Monday, July 14, 2008

Picks of the Week: July 13 - July 19, 2008


VolunteerMatch is a leader in the nonprofit world dedicated to helping everyone find a great place to volunteer. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement. This popular service welcomes millions of visitors a year and has become the preferred internet recruiting tool for more than 50,000 nonprofit organizations. Go to: For some excellent volunteer recruitment resources targeting 55+ volunteers, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Boards That Deliver: Advancing Corporate Governance From Compliance to Competitive Advantage by Ram Charan

From the publisher: Finally, a book that brings the vision of truly good governance down to earth. Ram Charan, expert in corporate governance and best-selling author, packs this book with useful tools and techniques to take boards and their companies to a higher level of performance. Charan puts his finger on a growing problem for boards: the disconnect between directors' efforts and their results. The added time and attention boards invest is not translating into better governance, that is, governance that adds value to the business. Boards That Deliver gets beyond the rhetoric of corporate governance reform. It captures the tried-and-true practices used by high-performance boards. In contrast to experts who base prescriptions on number-crunching exercises, Charan identifies the real problems that drain directors' time and suppress their best judgments and explains clearly and succinctly how boards can solve those problems. These battle-tested solutions help boards achieve what rules and regulations alone cannot to get succession right, refine a winning strategy, and design a rational CEO compensation package. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050

If current trends continue, immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants will account for 82% of the population growth in the United States during this period, according to new projections from the Pew Research Center. The nation's racial and ethnic mix will change markedly by mid-century, the projections show, with the Hispanic share rising to 29%. Among non-Hispanic race groups, the Asian share will rise to 9%, the non-Hispanic black share will hold steady at 13% and the non-Hispanic white share will fall to 47%. The nation's elderly population (ages 65 and above) will more than double in size from 2005 to 2050 and by mid-century will make up 19% of the total population. The Center’s report includes an analysis of the nation’s future “dependency ratio”—the number of children and elderly compared with the number of working-age Americans. There were 59 children and elderly people per 100 adults of working age in 2005. That will rise to 72 dependents per 100 adults of working age in 2050. The report also offers two alternative population projections, one based on lower immigration assumptions and one based on higher immigration assumptions. To download a copy of the complete report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- SmorgasBoard Newsletter

The SmorgasBoard newsletter is published by BoardWalk Consultants. A sampling of bits and bytes on boards and leadership in nonprofits, foundations and the institutions that champion them, SmorgasBoard offers essays, practical tools, client developments, publications and other items of interest for trustees, executive directors, and those who care about the causes they serve. For subscription information and copies of past editions, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Entering the Current Date in Word 2007

• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• In the Text group, click Date and Time
• Choose the desired date format
• If you want the date to be updated every time you open the document, turn on the “update automatically” check box
• Click on OK

Monday, July 7, 2008

Picks of the Week: July 6 - July 12, 2008

Website of the Week -- Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national philanthropic leader and a network of 32 regional associations of grantmakers. It supports philanthropy by strengthening the ability of all regional associations to fulfill their missions; these associations promote the growth and effectiveness of philanthropy in order to improve life in their communities. The Forum organizes its activities and applies its resources against six priorities:
• Strengthen effective and efficient geographic associations and provide support and services to them.
• Leverage the assets of the network of associations.
• Promote greater participation in geographic associations.
• Share knowledge and informed practice.
• Clearly communicate philanthropy’s impact and interests; and
• Develop partnerships based on beneficial exchange.

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow

From the publisher: Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow is everything nonprofits need to engage skilled Boomer volunteers. This innovative book provides a step-by-step guide for engaging Boomers as volunteers to build organizational capacity. The authors offer a new framework through which nonprofits can capitalize on the vast skills and resources of the 78.2 million Baby Boomers. The guidebook includes a comprehensive, easy-to-understand synthesis of the body of research on the Baby Boomer generation, featuring information that is current and relevant to volunteer engagement. The book also includes 14 downloadable interactive PDF worksheets that focus effort on measurable results. With this inspiring and practical guide for reengineering volunteer programs, nonprofits will not only survive in a changing world, but also thrive in the future. Through collaborative volunteer engagement with the Baby Boomer generation, organizations will have the capacity to fulfill their missions and achieve their dreams. Preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Home Broadband Adoption Stalls for Low-Income Americans

A new study from the Pew Research Center will be of special interest to nonprofits. Some 55% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home, up from 47% who had high-speed access at home last year at this time. From the March 2006 to March 2007 timeframe, home broadband adoption grew from 42% of Americans to 47%. The rate from March 2007 to April 2008 was 17%; this compares with the 12% growth rate from March 2006 to March 2007. It is also worth noting that the April 2008 number for broadband adoption at home is little changed from the 54% figure from the Pew Internet Project's December 2007 survey. With growth in broadband at home, just 10% of Americans now have dial-up internet connections at home. Growth in broadband adoption was flat among the poor and African Americans. 25% of low-income Americans - those whose household incomes are $20,000 annually or less - reported having broadband at home in April 2008. This compares to the 28% figure reported in March 2007 among those living in households whose annual incomes are $20,000 or less.
African Americans showed slow growth as well, with 43% saying they had broadband at home in April 2008 versus 40% who said this in March 2007. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Everyone Ready Professional Development Program in Volunteer Management

Everyone Ready® is a professional development program in volunteer management delivered via Online Seminars, electronic Self-Instruction Guides, interactive discussion boards, and other online resources. It's designed to engage you in a year-long learning community, with all resources available 24/7 at your convenience. You get 12 new topics a year, alternating in presentation through 6 online seminars and 6 self-instruction guides. An expert trainer is available to respond to e-mailed questions at all times, so you can get attention and the clarification you need. The online seminars are provided in Flash® format, giving you a professional-quality program that you can access over and over. And there are always handouts, links to additional resources, and discussion questions. To learn more about this innovative approach to training, 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 tip works in all versions of Excel.