Monday, September 29, 2008

Picks of the Week: September 28 - October 4, 2008

Website of the Week -- Community Tool Box

The Community Tool Box bills itself as the world's largest resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement, and is growing as a global resource for this work. The Table of Contents on the site lists 46 Chapters through which you can reach nearly 300 different sections providing practical, step-by-step guidance in community-building skills. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management by Reynold Levy

From the publisher: Yours For the Asking is a how-to guide for anyone with an instinct to raise funds who has fears, qualms, or hesitancies to do so. It explains in easy to understand language how to reach wealthy people face to face, in writing, in large groups, at special events, and over the Internet. And—once their attention has been gained—how to bring home the bacon. It solves the mystery of fundraising from foundations, those notoriously elusive entities that seem to house experts in closing doors, ignoring solicitations, and, when pressed for an answer, saying no. It also demonstrates how many ways there are to tap the resources of donors—large and small—for the institution that commands your respect, affect, and attention. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Bequest Giving Trends

According to a study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and funded by Campbell & Company, individuals aged 40 to 60 and those with at least a bachelor’s degree education were the most likely to be willing to consider naming a charity in their will. Key findings include:

• Individuals with a charity in their will donated more than twice as much money (over $2,000 more on average) in any given year than those who do not have a charity in their will.
• People with a charity named in their will tended to be between 40 and 50 years of age, indicating that fundraisers should focus on younger individuals for charitable bequests. Individuals between 40 and 60, the Boomer generation, are a significant proportion of the population. This group was also found to be a significant share of those who have already named a charity in their will and also those who are willing to consider making a bequest (50% and 51% respectively).
• The three most likely motivations for charitable giving, selected by people with a charity named in their will, were “helping others;” “religious beliefs;” and “giving back to society.”
• Income was not found to affect the likelihood that a donor would bequest, or consider the bequest of a charitable gift in his/her will. This finding indicates that fundraisers should not focus only on those with high incomes, regardless of income, fundraisers have between a one-in-three and one-in-four chance of speaking with an individual who would consider giving to a charity in a will.

For an executive summary of the report, go to: To request a copy of the full report from Campbell & Company, send an email to

Resource of the Week -- Governance Policies the IRS Thinks Your Organization May Need

Effective for tax years beginning after January 1, 2008, the revised Form 990 requires most tax-exempt organizations to make new disclosures regarding certain governance policies and practices. In order to respond fully to the policy questions asked on the revised form, an organization generally must review its existing policies and consider whether it is appropriate to amend them or adopt new ones, in many cases by December 31, 2008. The law firm of Quarles & Brady has prepared a briefing paper that summarizes the policies focused upon within the revised Form 990. These policies can be used by tax-exempt organizations as a basic checklist in reviewing their existing policies and in considering whether additional policies should be adopted before year-end. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Display Tabbed Documents in Access 2007

A new feature in Access 2007 is the option to use a tabbed interface. This allows you to open multiple objects (tables, forms, reports, or queries) at once. Each object is a separate tab so you can easily see the available objects and click on the one you want. To use this feature:

• Click the Office button in the left corner of the screen
• Click the Access Options button at the bottom of the window
• Select the Current Database in the left pane
• Under Document Window Options, select Tabbed Documents

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picks of the Week: September 21 - 27, 2008

Website of the Week --Hispanics in Philanthropy

Founded in 1983 to promote stronger partnerships between organized philanthropy and Latino communities, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) has developed into a transnational network of grantmakers committed to strengthening Latino communities across the Americas. As a membership organization, HIP seeks to share with funders the needs of the Latino community. To this end, the organization sponsor regional, national and international conferences and briefings, research and publications, professional development programs, as well as providing referrals for foundations seeking Latino staff and trustees. In addition, HIP seeks to increase resources for the Latino civil sector by leading a funding collaborative, which focuses foundation, corporate, government and individual dollars on supporting Latino nonprofits. Concentrating specifically on building the capacity of Latino nonprofits, the Funders' Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities further serves HIP’s mission of strengthening Latino leadership, while at the same time increasing awareness about Latino issues and stimulating dialogue about how to better serve the Latino community and Latin America. Check out the “Resources” link. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- First-Time Leaders of Small Groups: How to Create High Performing Committees, Task Forces, Clubs and Boards by Manuel London and Marilyn London

From the publisher: First-Time Leaders of Small Groups offers novice and experienced leaders the information they need to keep their members interested and involved, resolve conflicts and deal with difficult people, and ultimately have their group achieve results . . . quickly. The book includes four steps for preparing to lead (selecting members, setting the groundwork for high performance, planning, and establishing your leadership style) and four steps for taking the lead (starting right, working smart, coaching, and assessing). These steps will help you take the lead with confidence. First-Time Leaders of Small Groups is filled with illustrative examples of a wide range of small groups and provides clear suggestions for action. The book includes:
• Questions and answers based on research on what works well, and what does not
• Diagnostics for determining your group’s strengths and weaknesses
• Leadership challenges—ideas for overcoming common difficulties
• Self-assessments to help build confidence as a group leader
• Examples of approaches for different group situations
• Models for understanding how groups work
• Activities for improving group functions
• Key research findings
• Easy-to-follow suggestions for practice

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- How Children Fare in the Federal Budget

Kids' Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget, published by The Urban Institute, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade. Key findings include:

• Children’s share of domestic federal XX spending—spending that excludes defense, non-defense homeland security, and international affairs—actually declined during this period from 20.2 to 16.2 percent.
• Spending over time on individual children’s programs has tended to fall behind growth in the economy and often inflation. The children’s budget has maintained its share of GDP mainly through the introduction of major new programs every few years.
• The majority of spending on children in 2007 (63 percent) was on 13 major programs enacted since 1960.
• By contrast, the sums spent on elderly entitlement programs tended to outpace both growth in the economy and prices. Growth in entitlement programs is automatic, driven by rising wages, medical costs, and the aging of the American population. Although a number of children’s programs are either entitlements or permanent features of the tax code, they do not tend to have automatic growth built into them.
• Tax programs (specifically, the dependent exemption) and income security programs, which composed 92 percent of federal spending on children in 1960, declined to just 51percent by 2007. During this same period, health, education, and nutrition programs grew from 7.6 percent of federal spending on children to 36 percent.

To download the entire report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Strategic Thinking and Planning: A Resource Bibliography

We have just updated our Strategic Thinking and Planning Resource Bibliography. It contains books, articles and other web based resources. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel 2007

If you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts you will be happy to know that most of the shortcuts we've used for years work exactly the same in Excel 2007. Here's a list of some of my favorites:

• Selects the entire worksheet -- Ctrl + A
• Undoes the last action -- Ctrl + Z
• Redoes the last action -- Ctrl + Y
• Calculates all worksheets in all open workbooks -- F9
• Copy selected cells -- Ctrl + C
• Paste -- Ctrl + V
• Select data range -- Ctrl + Shift + *

For a complete listing of all Excel 2007 keyboard shortcuts, go to Excel shortcut and function keys published on where you can find lots of other great resources for learning Microsoft Office.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Picks of the Week: September 14 - 20, 2008

Website of the Week -- Keystone

Keystone's mission is to improve the effectiveness of organizations working in the human development field by developing new ways of planning, measuring and communicating social change Keystone seeks to influence development practice through a model of civil society accountability that views accountability as a potential driver of social activity and performance rather than a constraint upon organizations. A highlight of the website is a downloadable tool for developing a theory of change. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Strategic Communications for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Working with the Media, 2nd Edition by Kathy Bonk, Emily Tynes, Henry Griggs, and Phil Sparks

From the publisher: This is a new edition of Strategic Communications for Nonprofits, which was first published in 1999. It is an up-dated, nuts-and-bolts guide to helping nonprofits design and implement successful communications strategies. The book offers a unique combination of step-by-step guidance on effective media relations and assistance in constructing and developing an overall communications strategy aimed at creating social or policy change. It first explains the basic principles of a strategic communications strategy that will define the target audiences you need to reach and tells how to develop the messages and messengers you use to reach them. The book then goes on to address specific issues like earning good media coverage, building partnerships to increase available resources, handling a crisis, and more. This second edition builds on the earlier work and includes new case studies, new trends in media and branding, ethnic media issues, and trends in technology. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Poverty Reduction Linked to Race and Gender

A new report by the Great Lakes Alliance of the YWCA, “Economic Empowerment: Poverty Reduction With Race And Gender At The Center” links poverty reduction to race and gender. The study finds that women have higher poverty rates than men; African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are twice as likely to experience poverty as whites. African American and Puerto Rican women experience a “double disadvantage,” where the combined impact of racialized and feminized poverty results in disproportionately high poverty rates. In nearly every community in the Great Lakes Region where a YWCA exists, single women with dependant children are most likely to live in poverty. The dynamics of poverty for women and people of color in the U.S. are diverse and complex, but they are also amenable to change. Key strategies include:
• Advocating to protect working families through living wage policies, extending paid sick days and health care to more workers, establishing universal early childhood education and connecting women and people of color to higher education.
• Advocating to protect financially vulnerable consumers by demanding protections against predatory lending, extending financial literacy and consumer education programs to young women, and advancing public policies on behalf of those working to gain and maintain economic self-sufficiency.
• Advocating to make poverty a priority in each community and state by seeking the establishment of state-level poverty reduction benchmarks and adopting targeted, timely, collaborative community-level poverty reduction strategies.
• Advocating for employees who may be economically vulnerable themselves, to ensure that they are equal recipients of efforts aimed at “economically empowering” women.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Logic Model Resources

The Center for Civic Partnerships has compiled an extensive collection of resources on development and use of logic models to guide program and service development. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change Font Size in Word

To change the font size in Word, select text and press:

Ctrl ] (right square bracket) to increase font size by one point, or
Ctrl ] (left square bracket) to decrease font size by one point

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

Monday, September 8, 2008

Picks of the Week: September 7 - September 13, 2008

Website of the Week -- The Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation, nationally recognized today for its involvement in educational and cultural programs, traces its origins back a half century to the philanthropic impulses of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association. A highlight of the website is the The Wallace Knowledge Center which offers credible, useful knowledge that can help policymakers, practitioners, researchers and concerned citizens make progress in the fields in which they work. It is at the core of Wallace’s effort to share ideas and practices that can help organizations expand opportunities for people. Click on any topic to view or download a variety of documents for free, such as national surveys, summaries of field knowledge, practical guides, and profiles of Wallace partners. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Generations: The Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit by Peter C. Brinckerhoff

Generations: The Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit, by Peter C. Brinckerhoff was awarded the 2008 Terry McAdam Book Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Nonprofit Management. Congratulations Peter! Though we listed this publication as our pick when it was first published, we are offering it again as this week's pick.

From the publisher: Generational change presents as many opportunities for nonprofits as challenges. In Generations: The Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit, nonprofit mission expert Peter Brinckerhoff tells you what to expect and how to plan for it. From iPod policies to recruiting younger board members, Brinckerhoff shows how you can address generational trends, today, to keep your nonprofit organization relevant and able to meet the changing needs of your staff, volunteers, donors, and the community you serve. You’ll come away with an understanding of six key generational trends and how they will impact your nonprofit. Individual chapters provide in-depth information on how to deal with generation issues in each area of your organization—staff, board, volunteers, clients, marketing, technology, and finances. This hands-on guides includes the Generational Self-Assessment Tool. This tool gives you a baseline to measure your success as you bring generations into your planning. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Time-Use Habits of Volunteers in America

According to new research published by the Corporation for National Service, volunteers and non-volunteers in general tend to spend their time in very similar ways, spending similar amounts of time in work, leisure, and other activities. However, there are some important differences, including the amount of time each of these groups spends watching television. In a typical week, volunteers spend approximately 15 hours watching television compared to 21 hours for former volunteers and 23 hours for those who have never volunteered. On average, those who have never volunteered watch 436 more hours of television than volunteers each year. Another interesting difference is that volunteers are more likely to spend their time in various activities with other people. For instance, volunteers spend about 78 percent their mealtimes, compared to about 70 percent for former volunteers and those who have never volunteered. To access a copy of the research brief containing more findings, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Thought Leaders Gateway

The Leader to Leader Institute Thought Leaders Gateway includes individuals whose intellectual contributions have furthered the Institute’s work. The gateway includes an alphabetical listing of all of these individuals with links to a short biography of the individual followed by a listing of their publications and any articles appearing in the Leader to Leader Journal. This listing includes hyperlinks to any books and articles available on the leader to leader Institute website. An excellent resource! Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week - - Access 2007 Report Layout View

The new Access 2007 Report Layout View is a major improvement over previous versions of Access. This view allows you to see the report as it will print (WYSIWYG) and quickly change controls. New features make it easier to group, filter and sort data. Check out Quickly summarize group data in Access 2007 reports on the TechRepublic Web site for step by step instructions on summarizing group data in Access 2007 reports.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Picks of the Week: August 31 - September 6, 2008

Website of the Week -- Center for Civic Partnerships

The Center for Civic Partnerships, based in Sacramento, CA, is a support organization that strengthens individuals, organizations, and communities by facilitating learning, leadership development, and networking. The Center has extensive experience providing technical support to over 200 cities, communities, and organizations in California and across the nation. In addition, the Center sponsors educational programs and develops resource materials for funders, local policy-makers and government administrators, nonprofit organizations and community members. The Center’s main areas of focus are community-building and organizational development with a cross-cutting emphasis on sustainability. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Discussing the Undiscussable: A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace by William R. Noonan

From the publisher: Since his 1990 landmark book Overcoming Organizational Defenses, Chris Argyris has extensively researched and written about how well-meaning, smart people create vicious cycles of defensive behavior to protect themselves from embarrassment and threat. In Discussing the Undiscussable, Bill Noonan enlivens the scholarly work of Chris Argyris through the use of reflective exercises and easy-to-read chapters that illuminate the basic human experience endemic to the creation of defensive routines. This book offers hope for altering organizational defensive routines by leveraging the greatest opportunity for change—the way we think and act. Discussing the Undiscussable provides a set of practical “how to do” exercises for detecting, surfacing, and discussing organizational defensive routines in a safe and productive way. The combination of text, business fable, and interactive and reflective exercises is versatile in its application to both individuals and groups. The companion DVD contains video vignettes of the book’s business fable where the actors model both defensive routines and virtuous cycles of behavior. Readers will instantly recognize what has long been going on in the workplace, and will be able to develop the skills to talk about it productively. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofits Target Millennial Generation Workforce

America's nonprofit organizations are focusing on their missions to attract and retain the next generation of employees, according to a new report released today by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project. By emphasizing that the nonprofit workplace can offer a greater sense of personal fulfillment and flexibility compared to many jobs in the for-profit world, nonprofit practitioners are finding it possible to respond to the staff recruitment and retention challenges they are facing, according to the participants in a roundtable convened by Johns Hopkins researchers. Appealing to the millennial generation is one of four key workforce recruitment and retention strategies identified by the nonprofit practitioners and other workforce experts participating in the Johns Hopkins roundtable, which was convened to follow up on a prior survey on nonprofit workforce challenges. The other strategies are:
• Selling the "context" — the physical environment, the work environment, and particularly the "mission."
• Approaching recruitment proactively. Given the lack of knowledge young people have about nonprofits, organizations are actively reaching out to potential recruits.
• Redefining work and the work environment. Organizations are redesigning benefit packages to adjust to new family structures, offering flexible working hours, and utilizing focus groups to stay attuned to worker concerns.

The full text of the report "A Nonprofit Workforce Agenda: Report on the Listening Post Project Roundtable on Nonprofit Recruitment and Retention" is available online. Go to:

Resource of the Week -- YouTube Nonprofit Program

Does your organization have a compelling story to tell? Do you want to connect with your supporters, volunteers, and donors but don't have the funds to launch expensive outreach campaigns? YouTube can help. Video is a powerful way to show your organization's impact and needs, and with a designated "Nonprofit" channel on YouTube, you can deliver your message to the world's largest online video community. The Nonprofit program is currently only available in the United States and the United Kingdom. YouTube is continuing to expand the program, so check back to see if other countries have been added in the future. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Upgrading to Access 2007

If you are upgrading to Access 2007 one of the first hurdles may be opening your Access file only to find your code won't run. The solution is making sure your database is in a "trusted" location. To do this:

• Click the Office button
• Click the Access Options button
• Select Trust Center
• Click the Trust Center Settings button
• Select Trusted Locations
• Click the Add new location button
• Browse and select the location of your database
• Click OK