Monday, August 25, 2008

Picks of the Week: August 24 - 31, 2008

Website of the Week -- Volunteering in America

Hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Volunteering in America is a new website that will enable you to access volunteering trends, statistics, tools, resources, and information for the nation, U.S. regions, states, and major cities. You will also be able to see how states and cities rank on different factors related to volunteering. The data for this Web site were collected through a supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) September Volunteer Supplement. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households (approximately 100,000 adults), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Marketing Research: A Practical Approach by Bonita Kolb

From the publisher: Essential to any student of the discipline, this innovative new book offers a uniquely comprehensive and applied approach to both understanding and designing market research. Sensitively balancing the fundamental quantitative methodologies and theoretical structures with practical applications of qualitative techniques, this book is a vastly accessible, useful, and insightful text. This is a valuable resource both for the novice researcher, and for those more familiar with the discipline. Drawing on many years of academic teaching experience, the author crafts a comprehensive and practical student text with an emphasis on both critical thinking and hands-on application. Providing several real life case studies - from the large corporation, through to the small business or the nonprofit organization - Marketing Research is packed with useful learning features such as key terms, definitions, and discussion topics. Offering comprehensive support from a companion website, this book is an indispensable guide to the varied domains of market research. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Social Return on Investment in Youth Intervention Programs

A report by the Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association puts forward a framework for doing social return on investment (SROI) analysis of youth intervention programs. It then uses the framework to estimate the return to two representative programs: a comprehensive intervention program and a targeted program designed to discourage property crimes. Major findings include:

• Effective intervention programs are likely to produce some of the highest returns of any youth programs since they deal with more concentrated populations, many of whom have been identified through truancy, juvenile crime, or other problem behaviors.
• Based on the study of intervention programs in Minnesota, effective youth intervention programs can produce some or all of the following direct benefits: Reduced truancy, improved school performance, reduced near-term court costs, reduced costs of adult crime, reduced needs for social services, and improved health outcomes.
• An effective comprehensive program costing around $2,000 per participant returns benefits of $4.89 for every dollar of cost, based on very conservative assumptions about effects and valuations. Moreover, the program returns $14.68 for every State dollar invested, assuming a 2 to 1 match of other funding.

To view a summary of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- American Management Association Scholarship Program

Managers and executives in the nonprofit social sector can benefit from a scholarship program developed in partnership between the American Management Association (AMA) and the Leader to Leader Institute. AMA is providing up to 75 scholarships administered by the Leader to Leader Institute to qualified recipients. Scholarship recipients will select and receive admission to an AMA seminar as well as a one year membership to each organization. To apply, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Calculate a Person's Age in Excel

The DATEDIF() function in Excel calculates the number of days, months, or years between two dates. This function makes it easy to calculate a person's age. To try this:

• In a blank worksheet, type a birth date in cell A1, using slashes to separate day, month, and year.
• In cell A2, type =DATEDIF(A1,TODAY(),"y") and press ENTER.

The age (in years) will be displayed in cell A2.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Picks of the Week: August 17 - 23, 2008

Website of the Week -- FedStats

FedStats is a gateway to statistics for 100 Federal agencies, providing links to the full range of official statistical information available to the public from the Federal Government. You can track economic and population trends, education, health care costs, aviation safety, foreign trade, energy use, farm production, and more. You can access official statistics collected and published by more than 100 Federal agencies without having to know in advance which agency produces them. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators by Patrick M. Lencioni

From the publisher: In the years following the publication of Patrick Lencioni’s best-seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, fans have been clamoring for more information on how to implement the ideas outlined in the book. In Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni offers more specific, practical guidance for overcoming the Five Dysfunctions—using tools, exercises, assessments, and real-world examples. He examines questions that all teams must ask themselves: Are we really a team? How are we currently performing? Are we prepared to invest the time and energy required to be a great team? Written concisely and to the point, this guide gives leaders, line managers, and consultants alike the tools they need to get their teams up and running quickly and effectively. Preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Value of Volunteer Time Rises

Independent Sector, in a study earlier this year, announced that the 2007 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour has reached $19.51, which increased from $18.77 per hour in 2006. IS calculates the hourly value of volunteer time based on the average hourly wage for all non-management, nonagriculture workers as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 12 percent increase to estimate for fringe benefits. Go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Evaluation Exchange

The Evaluation Exchange is the Harvard Family Research Project's evaluation periodical, The Evaluation Exchange, addresses current issues facing program evaluators of all levels, with articles written by the most prominent evaluators in the field. Designed as an ongoing discussion among evaluators, program practitioners, funders, and policymakers, The Evaluation Exchange highlights innovative methods and approaches to evaluation, emerging trends in evaluation practice, and practical applications of evaluation theory. It goes out to its subscribers free of charge 3–4 times per year. 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, August 11, 2008

Picks of the Week: August 10 - 16, 2008

Website of the Week -- Ethics Resource Center

The Ethics Resource Center is devoted to independent research and the advancement of high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions. For 85 years, the ERC has been a resource for institutions committed to strong ethics cultures. Additionally, ERC undertake research and projects to develop new resources, in order to advance knowledge and practice in the field. The online resource library includes an Ethics Toolkit, which includes answers to frequently asked ethics questions, practical guides to organizational ethics, an Ethics Effectiveness Quick Test, an archive of questions answered in our newsletter by ERC staff subject matter specialists, and a timeline of business ethics over the course of five decades. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals by Judith B. Margolin

From the publisher: This latest addition to The Foundation Center’s best-selling Winning Proposals series includes 35 actual, funded proposals reprinted in their entirety. The Grantseeker's Guide features proposals to international funders including the Mott Foundation; large regional funders such as the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation; corporate funders including the Mitsubishi Foundation, as well as regional/local foundations. Featured examples cover a wide variety of projects, from start-up costs to a major medical center. Each proposal includes remarks by the program officer who approved the grant. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Private and Community Foundation Trends

The Foundation Center’s recently published Foundation Yearbook, 2008 Edition, provides an overview of the state of foundation giving in the current year and beyond, comparisons of foundation activities by foundation size, and breakdowns of foundation resources by geographic location and grantmaker type. The edition's key findings include:

• Overall foundation giving rose 10 percent in 2007 to an estimated $42.9 billion
• Giving by the nation's more than 72,000 grantmaking foundations increased 7.1 percent in 2006 to $39 billion
• Assets of all active U.S. foundations were up 11.6 percent to a record $614.7 billion in 2006
• The West posted the fastest rate of growth in number of foundations, total giving, and assets in 2006

For a copy of the report highlights, go to:

Resource of the Week -- EEO Compliance Resources

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the enforcement body that will challenge an employer's hiring or employment practices when a discrimination complaint is lodged by an employee, a former employee or an applicant. According to attorney Jennifer Chandler Hauge, the EEOC is also in the business of helping employers avoid acting in a discriminatory manner. In this way, the EEOC can be seen as a nonprofit's risk management partner. Guidelines and fact sheets published by the Department of Labor and available on the EEOC's Web site are very helpful. Among the most helpful information recently made available is the EEOC's 2006 Compliance Manual. Published in April 2006, the manual describes common pitfalls and best practices for employers striving to avoid discriminatory practices. Go to: available at

Tech Tip of the Week -- Freeze a Formula into its Current Value

To freeze a formula into its current value:

• Select the formula
• Press F2 (Edit)
• Press F9 (Calc)
• Press Enter

Now you can copy or move the value anywhere you need it. This trick works in all versions of Excel, even 2007!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Picks of the Week: August 3 - 9, 2008

Website of the Week -- Microsoft NGO Connection

Microsoft has launched NGO Connection, a new online resource for thousands of nonprofit groups around the world. Driven by feedback from nonprofit partners and years of experience working with nonprofits, the online resource is designed to assist nonprofit organizations to more efficiently use technology to achieve their goals as well as to encourage networking and coordination of nonprofit resources across the world. NGO Connection makes it easy for nonprofits to share best practices and case studies, giving them the option of participating in an online forum where they can engage in dialogues about using technology effectively and share solutions to some of their common challenges. Go to:

Publication of the Week --Creating and Implementing Your Strategic Plan: A Workbook for Public and Nonprofit Organizations 2nd Edition by John M. Bryson and Farnum K. Alston

From the Publisher: Creating and Implementing Your Strategic Plan is the best-selling companion to John Bryson's landmark book, Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. This new edition of the workbook is completely revised and updated and can be used as a stand-alone resource or as a companion to Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. A step-by-step guide to putting strategic planning to work in public and nonprofit organizations, this indispensable workbook includes easy-to-understand worksheets and clear instructions for creating a strategic plan tailored to the needs of the individual organization. From setting up the meeting room to establishing a vision of the future, every step of the strategic planning process is covered. The workbook shows how to:

• Refine your organization’s mission and values
• Assess your internal and external environment
• Identify and frame strategic issues
• Formulate strategies to help manage the issues
• Create, review, and adopt the strategic plan
• Assess the strategic planning process

Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofits Engaged In Advocacy Work Despite Limitations

According to a new survey report by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project entitled "Nonprofit America: A Force for Democracy?" America's nonprofit organizations are widely involved in efforts to influence the public policies affecting them and those they serve, but are constrained by tight budgets, limited staff time and confusing legal restrictions. The report was authored by Lester M. Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.
Additional findings from the survey include:

• Large organizations and those involved in family, children, and elderly services are most extensively engaged in policy advocacy. Arts organizations are least involved.
• About half of all responding organizations reported undertaking relatively limited forms of advocacy or lobbying, such as signing correspondence to a public official, responding to requests for information on policy issues, or distributing materials on policy matters. When it came to more involved forms of participation, such as testifying at hearings or organizing a public event, the proportions reporting any involvement fell to about a third.
• State and local governments, not the federal government, are the principal focus of advocacy activity for most (two out of three) organizations.
• Receipt of public funding seems to encourage advocacy, but reliance on private philanthropy is negatively related to advocacy.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Leverage Points Newsletter

Leverage Points, a free e-bulletin from Pegasus Communications, spotlights innovations in leadership, management, and organizational development. This newsletter is the best resource on systems thinking systems thinking and related disciplines. For a free subscription, go to: An archive of all issues of the newsletter is available at

Tech Tip of the Week -- PowerPoint Training Games

Here’s a great resource for PowerPoint users. This site provides “Training games designed to present your training material in a fun and interactive game that will increase retention, excitement, and participation.” You can even download a free Ice Breaker game. Games are an excellent way to make your training and presentations more interesting and effective. Go to