Monday, November 24, 2008

Picks of the Week: November 23 - 29, 2008

Website of the Week -- Office Depot Foundation

The Office Depot Foundation was created to support non-profit organizations around the world and to make a positive impact on many lives and communities. The Office Depot Foundation will focus on the following strategic priorities for the next five years. Known collectively as the “5 X 5 Program,” these initiatives exemplify the Foundation’s mission – Listen Learn Care:

• Helping children get ready for life and work.
• Helping non-profit (civil society) organizations become more professional and productive.
• Promoting global development
• Enhancing disaster relief and recovery.
• Strengthening local communities.

The website includes information and resources on the 5x5 program, philanthropic partnerships, community investments, and volunteerism as well as a number of publications and reports. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Lunch and Learn: Creative and Easy-to-Use Activities for Teams and Work Groups by Carolyn Nilson

From the publisher: Lunch and Learn is filled with ready-to-use activities designed for full-time trainers, managers, team leaders, supervisors, and anyone else who acts as a trainer within their organization. The activities are on-the-job learning sessions that explore targeted topics relevant to almost any team or group. Each of the 25 sessions is a short 55-minute learning experience that is based on the best principles of discussion and reflection, creative thinking, problem solving, and action planning. All the book’s activities are organized in a step-by-step fashion and include everything a session leader needs to conduct a successful learning event, from discussion starters and activity handouts through suggestions for wrapping up the session. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- New Research on Corporate Citizenship

A new research study from Imagine Canada finds that the community investment initiatives of many of Canada’s largest corporations have moved beyond "check-book philanthropy" and are leveraging their assets in more ways than the public, or even the charities and nonprofits they support, might think. Corporate Community Investment Practices, Motivations & Challenges: Findings from the Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community ─ puts a spotlight on 93 of Canada’s largest companies (annual revenues exceeding $25 million) and their community investment practices. "While the demand for these companies to give is persistent and increasing, they are doing more than just cutting a check for charities that have asked for help," says Dr. Michael Hall, Imagine Canada’s Vice President of Research. "What really stood out in the research is their strategic approaches to community investment and the ways in which they are engaging their employees and their broader stakeholder networks - clients, customers and suppliers - to leverage their philanthropy. They are putting a lot of thought into how and where they give, and are quite innovative in their approaches." While the research focuses on Canadian corporations, the findings mirror the pattern that has emerged in the US. For a summary of key findings, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Resource Center for Effective Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

Mission & Market: The Resource Center for Effective Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships, a service of Independent Sector, aims to provide the resources nonprofit and corporate executives need to help them build effective partnerships that enhance both mission and business goals—and serve to build the public trust for the nonprofit sector as a whole. In a marketplace of proliferating brands and products, corporations are constantly seeking innovative ways to differentiate their products and services in sustainable ways. And in a time of ever greater societal needs, nonprofit organizations are looking for new sources of revenue, enhanced visibility, expertise, and creative ways to promote their messages and advance their missions. As a result, there is a growing trend of companies and nonprofits creating a variety of partnerships that advance both the mission of the nonprofit organization and the business purpose of the company. This online resource includes:

• Expert Briefings and Model Guidelines
• "Lessons Learned" Partnership Profiles
• Types of Partnership Models
• Motivations for Partnering
• Glossary of Terms
• Tax and Legal Issues

Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Worksheet Selection in Excel

If you have several worksheets in an Excel workbook, it can be time consuming to select the one you want to view. This shortcut can help you speed up the process.

• Right click on the sheet tab navigation arrows in the lower left of the worksheet
• A menu of worksheet tabs pops up
• Left click the worksheet you want to view

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

Picks of the Week: November 16 - 22, 2008

Website of the Week -- Bridgespan Group

The Bridgespan Group has launched a newly redesigned website. Founded in 2000, the Bridgespan Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders in the hard work of developing strategies and building organizations that inspire and accelerate social change. Bridgespan works to build a better world by strengthening the ability of nonprofit organizations to achieve breakthrough results in addressing society’s most important challenges and opportunities. Bridgespan pursues its mission through three sets of activities:

• Strategy consulting, executive search, and philanthropy advising, to help nonprofit organizations and philanthropists develop and implement strategies with the potential to achieve significant results.
• Sharing insights, strategies and tools developed by us and by others through research and client engagements, and
• Developing or supporting strategic initiatives that aim to improve performance across the nonprofit sector. Notable among these is the Bridgestar initiative, which seeks to help nonprofits attract, connect, and develop strong leadership teams

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserves by Joseph Barbato

From the publisher: First, let's make clear what this book is NOT. It is not a guide for writing press releases. It is not a manual for creating a speaker's bureau. It is not a treatise offering PR palaver. After reading Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserves, here are just a few of the skills you'll become more proficient at: -Sharpening your organization's niche -Identifying the range of people who benefit from your work … thereby targeting your audiences with greater precision - Cultivating the right media people, locally, regionally, and nationally if appropriate - Organizing your website most efficiently for the press - Making a persuasive pitch, in writing and over the phone - Becoming the "go to" person for reporters and others, and - Learning how to package your expertise to gain even greater exposure. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Giving Trends among the “Wired Wealthy”

A recent study by Convio, a relationship management software company that serves the not-for-profit sector, showed that the ‘wired wealthy’ are increasingly active online, with the intention of becoming even more so. These are individuals who donate a minimum of $1,000 dollars annually to a single cause and give an average of $410,986 to various charities each year. Major findings from the research include:

• 51 percent of those surveyed said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online
• Most charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wired wealthy with their organization. Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission. Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites are inspiring
• Email shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors. 74 percent of those surveyed said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift. 74 percent of those surveyed said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again

To download the study, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Partnering Toolbox

The Partnering Toolbox offers a concise, step-by-step overview of the essential elements that make for effective partnering. The Toolbook was written by Ros Tennyson and produced by the Partnering Initiative in co-operation with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Partnering Toolbook builds on the experience of those who have been at the forefront of innovative partnerships and offers a concise overview of the essential elements that make for effective partnering. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Create a Cent Sign in Word

To create a cent sign in Word using a keyboard shortcut:

• Hold down the Ctrl key and press /
• Type the letter c

This tip works in Word 2007 and in older versions as well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Picks of the Week: November 9 - 15, 2008

Website of the Week -- Tides Shared Spaces

Tides Shared Spaces was formed in response to the ongoing difficulties that social change organizations and nonprofits have in finding quality, affordable work and program space. Workspace is often the second largest budget item after salaries. Lack of affordable space has forced dislocation on many nonprofits, both in times of economic boom – due to rising commercial rents - and in times of government and funding cutbacks. MTNC’s, or Multi Tenant Nonprofit Centers, are an effective social investment with the ability to provide tenant organizations with shared services and meeting spaces, as well as opportunities for collaboration and cost-sharing to support their missions. These centers also provide hubs for community organizing and economic development. Stable costs and increased visibility lead to job creation and enhanced program services. To date, hundreds of these centers have been created across the country-regionally and internationally. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World by Tom Watson

From the publisher: An eye-opening guide to the massive societal impact of online social networks. For today's super-wired, always-on, live-life-in-public young Americans, the causes they support define who they are. Societal aspirations have so permeated the "net native" population that causes have become like musical tastes. CauseWired illustrates wired causes in action, bringing real-world stories to readers. The first book to track the massive societal impact on causes of online social networks--from blogs, to video, to the rise of social networks, CauseWired reveals the extraordinary influence of online social networks--in raising money for charity, in changing the political climate and electing candidates, and in raising consciousness for causes. From Facebook causes and campaigns on MySpace, to a raft of new startups and innovative projects, and political movements like the Obama campaign and Save Darfur, this immensely relevant book delivers actionable research and recommendations to help readers launch their own successful wired social campaigns. Tom Watson is the publisher of and founder of, an online journal of culture. A contributing writer to the Huffington Post with a 25-year professional career that includes the founding of two companies and several popular online publications, he is Chief Strategy Officer of Changing Our World Inc., a national philanthropic services company. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- High-Net-Worth Donor Trends

Portraits of Donors is a report that reveals specific behavioral patterns and motivations of the nation’s wealthy and ultra-wealthy donors. The report is based on data from the 2006 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy, the most in-depth quantitative study ever conducted of the wealthiest 3.1% of U.S. households. The original study revealed that wealthy donors possess very different philanthropic traits when compared to the general U.S. population. In response to high levels of interest in the original study from non-profit strategists and donors, Bank of America has delivered on its promise to provide a more in-depth analysis of its findings. Developed in partnership with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Bank of America’s Portraits of Donors digs deeper to unveil the unique behaviors, charitable practices and motivations among 12 types of wealthy and ultra-wealthy donors. Donors can leverage these findings to help determine what they want to accomplish with their philanthropic missions and identify like-minded donors or strategists for advice. Non-profit organizations can leverage these findings to help determine how best to approach and communicate with wealthy donors based on the characteristics they’re likely to possess. To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Technology Planning Tools

The following tools developed by Npower can help your organization assess its technology and plan for the future:

• TechAtlas: Managed by NPower, TechAtlas is a suite of online tools that help nonprofits assess, plan for and manage the technology they need to make an even greater difference in their communities. TechAtlas walks nonprofits through the technology planning process, from creating a vision of how technology could be most effective in their org, to assessing and prioritizing their needs, to generating a final report that can be shared with board and staff. Additionally, advanced features of TechAtlas provide tools to manage existing technology more effectively, such as online inventorying, help desk tracking and special assessments. More than 10,000 nonprofits have used TechAtlas to help manage their technology today, and plan for tomorrow. Go to:

• Total Cost of Ownership Calculator: The TCO Calculator is an important part of technology planning designed to help you analyze the long-term costs associated with owning technology on a per PC basis and then compare your results to industry benchmarks. Download the TCO Calculator at:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Shading Alternate Rows in Excel 2007

One way to quickly add shading to alternate rows in Excel 2007 is by applying a predefined table style. By default, shading is applied to alternate rows in an Excel 2007 table to make the data easier to read. The alternate row shading will remain accurate even if you add or delete rows.

• Select the range of cells you want to format
• On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Format as Table
• Under Light, Medium, or Dark, click the table style you want to use
• In the Format as Table dialog box, click OK. Notice that the Banded Rows check box is selected by default in the Table Style Options group. To apply shading to alternate columns instead of alternate rows, clear this check box and select Banded Columns
• If you want to convert the Excel table back to a regular range of cells, click anywhere in the table to display the tools necessary for converting the table back to a range of data
• On the Design tab, in the Tools group, click Convert to Range

Monday, November 3, 2008

Picks of the Week: November 2 - 8, 2008

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Technology Network

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) aspires to a world where all nonprofit organizations skillfully and confidently use technology to meet community needs and fulfill their missions. NTEN is a membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals who share the common goal of helping nonprofits use all aspects of technology more effectively. NTEN facilitates the exchange of knowledge and information, provides professional development opportunities, educates the membership on issues of technology use in nonprofits, and spearheads groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education on technology issues affecting the nonprofit sector as a whole. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Results that Matter: Improving Communities by Engaging Citizens, Measuring Performance, and Getting Things Done by Paul Epstein, Paul M. Coates, Lyle D. Wray, and David Swain

From the Publisher: Today's communities—whether they are currently strong, or struggling to survive—face difficult challenges if they want to be tomorrow's healthy, vibrant communities. The challenge for leaders and citizens of modern communities is not just to solve specific problems today. Their real challenge is to keep learning from their experience so they can keep improving their communities tomorrow. Results That Matter will provide a new governance framework for using valuable tools of community improvement—especially performance measurement and citizen engagement—to empower communities to achieve the outcomes their citizens most desire. Government and nonprofit managers will learn how to combine these tools in new ways, not only to achieve one-time improvement of their organizations and communities, but to foster continual community renewal and improvement. The benefits and practicality of the framework and related practices will be reinforced by case examples from 25 communities across the country. The book will offer "how to" guidance to public and nonprofit managers, including promising practices for effective communities, and new roles for citizens, community leaders, and managers. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Giving During Recessions And Economic Slowdowns

Issue 3, 2008 of Giving USA Spotlight looks at recessions and economic slowdowns and their impact on charitable giving in order to help nonprofit organizations anticipate what might occur in 2008–2009 and plan accordingly. According to Giving USA, the most important step a charitable organization can take to raise funds during a recession or downturn is to ask people for contributions in a clear and focused manner. Important steps to successful fundraising include:
• Work closely with the board of trustees to make sure that each board member is a current donor and an advocate for the organization’s vision and purpose.
• Develop and follow a fundraising, communications, and stewardship plan. With a plan, it is easier to stay focused and maintain momentum.
• Focus efforts on renewing gifts from current donors. Take no donor for granted. Thank donors, recognize their contributions and let them know of the accomplishments they have made possible.
• Maximize the use of all fundraising tactics available. This can include: thank you calls made by volunteers; online giving options; information about planned giving sent to loyal, long-term donors; and effective use of public relations and media relations to communicate.

To download a copy of the report, go to: and click on the link for “Giving USA Spotlight – Giving During Recessions And Economic Slowdowns – 2008”.

Resource of the Week -- is one of the more well known online scheduling tools. It is a free service that helps anyone trying to schedule a meeting with people who have complicated schedules and/or work in different locations. It is very easy to use, both for setting up the meeting, confirming the time and location, and sending reminders. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Creating Lines in Word 2007

One of my favorite shortcuts from previous versions of Word still works in Word 2007! To create lines across the page of a Word document:

• Type three consecutive hyphens and press Enter for a normal line
• Type three underscores and press Enter for a bold line
• Type three equal signs and press Enter for a double line

These lines extend from the left margin to the right margin and the size of these lines will change if you change the margins of your document or if you change the orientation from Portrait to Landscape.