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

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