Monday, December 29, 2008

Picks of the Week: December 28, 2008 – January 3, 2008

Website of the Week -- Center for Association Leadership

The Center for Association Leadership, founded by the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives (GWSAE), is an organization of people, resources and ideas focused on the future of associations. The site offers an extensive array of programs, knowledge resources and community networks including a Knowledge Resource section where you'll find association case studies, models and samples, articles and whitepapers, book reviews, the Ten Cool Ideas collection and expert recommendations covering all aspects of association management. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Almanac 2008 by Kennard T. Wing, Thomas H. Pollak and Amy Blackwood

From the publisher: America's nonprofit sector continues to grow faster than its business sector or the government. The Nonprofit Almanac 2008 presents data on these organizations place in the national economy and trends in wages, employment, private giving, volunteering, and finances. The tables and graphics will give scholars, practitioners, and policymakers the data they need at a glance, while the textual analysis will help them plan for the future. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- International Grantmaking Trends

Estimated U.S. foundation giving for international purposes reached a record $5.4 billion in 2007, and 2008 giving is likely to top that record. International Grantmaking IV: An Update on U.S. Foundation Trends, a new report prepared by the Foundation Center in cooperation with the Council on Foundations, examines changes in grantmakers’ strategies and practices and the outlook for giving based on a 2008 survey and interviews with leading funders. It also documents trends in giving through 2006 based on actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations. Key findings include:

• International giving grew faster than overall giving between 2002 and 2007.
• The impact of the U.S. financial crisis remains uncertain, but most leading international funders are likely to remain committed.
• The Gates Foundation accounted for more than half of the increase in funding.
• International giving grew faster than overall giving, regardless of foundation type.

To download a copy of the report highlights, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Promising Practices Catalogue

The Promising Practices Catalogue, a service of the Nonprofit Library Commons, showcases successful initiatives with proven community or organizational impact. You can browse a full listing featuring the following topics: innovation, collaboration, effective communication, leadership in governance, financial sustainability and more. Through this collection you can also find a reference to each project's funding partner, or community investor. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Microsoft Office 2009 Calendar Templates

Microsoft Office Online offers dozens of calendar templates which can be freely download. You can find 2009 calendar templates for Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and OneNote. Click here to check it out!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Picks of the Week: December 21 - 27, 2008

Website of the Week -- Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

The mission of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership (MCNL) is to enhance the performance and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector through high quality community-oriented education, applied research, problem solving and service. MCNL applies the resources and talents of the University and the sector to the problems and issues facing the nonprofit sector so its members are better prepared to serve their communities. MCNL creates opportunities for the leaders of this vital community to come together as colleagues to learn, network and support each other, and to encourage personal, professional and organizational renewal and effectiveness. The Midwest Center is a service and outreach unit of the Department of Public Affairs in the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Essentials: Major Gifts by Julia Ingraham Walker

From the publisher: Part of the AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series, Nonprofit Essentials: Major Gifts is a professional guide to major gift fundraising, concisely presented in a format that is accessible, lively, and easy-to-read. With in-depth advice from experienced fundraiser Julia Walker, this book takes the reader from the early stages of establishing a program through the core elements of all major gift programs: identifying and rating prospects; preparing the case; training volunteers; cultivating donors; making the ask; and providing recognition and stewardship for the gift. Its nuts-and-bolts presentation focuses on how to create a prospect-centered program that develops the capacity to engage and solicit donors, effectively based on their unique interests and needs. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- How the Internet Affects Social Life and Civic Participation

Statistics Canada has published How Canadians' Use of the Internet Affects Social Life and Civic Participation, a report outlining the impact the Internet has on the social behaviors of Canadians in a virtual age. The study looks at how many hours people typically spend with others in person versus communicating with others online, and the impact those activities have on social networks. It also looks at how the Internet is used for volunteering and community involvement. The report is based on data collected from 2003 to 2007. The report suggests the Internet can make finding opportunities for social engagement more appealing due to the easier accessibility of information. A 2005 survey on how Canadians fill their time says those who are online for less than an hour per day typically log more volunteer hours than those who do not use the Internet and those who use it for more than an hour a day. These "moderate users" are also generally more likely to volunteer than the other classifications of Internet users. Statistics Canada's Giving, Volunteering and Participating, a survey completed in 2004, suggests eight per cent of volunteers use the Internet to look for volunteer opportunities, contact other organizations, promote events, and keep track of what is happening in their communities. The recent report says "survey data from Statistics Canada’s [General Social Survey] GSS on social engagement show that as far back as 2003, nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of Canadians who were involved in at least one group or organization conducted at least part of their involvement through the Internet." Young Canadians typically look for volunteer opportunities on the Internet more than older generations but the use of the Internet for the actual volunteer work is relatively similar between the age groups.
For a copy of the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Giving Circles Knowledge Center

Throughout history, passionate individuals have joined together to make life better in their communities. Today, thousands of donors pool their money, energy, and ideas to create giving circles. The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers has compiled an extensive collection of resources on how to start, maintain, and grow a giving circle. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Microsoft Office New Year's Templates

Microsoft Office Online offers a number of templates specifically designed for the New Year which can be freely download. These include greeting cards, postcards, shipping labels, address labels, banners, invitations, menus, labels for CD's, email messages, and even one for New Year's resolutions. You can find templates for Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote and Outlook. Click here to check it out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Picks of the Week: December 14 - 20, 2008

Website of the Week -- Severson Center Trend Website

The Severson Center, a division of the Alliance for Children and Families, has opened their trend website to the general public, allowing more immediate access to a library of information in a readily accessible, user-friendly format. No login is needed for the website, but some reports are password protected for access by members of the Alliance. Trends and their impacts are organized under the following categories: Business/Economy, Education, Nonprofits, Technology/Science, Demographics/Population, Health, Social Service Issues, and Work. No question about it: this is the only resource of its kind and an invaluable resource for nonprofit strategic planning efforts. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy by Joshua M. Birkholz

From the publisher: Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy Fundraising Analytics shows you how to turn your nonprofit’s organizational data with an appropriate focus on donors, into actionable knowledge. The result? A vibrant, donor-centered nonprofit organization that makes maximum use of data to reveal the unique diversity of its donors. It provides step-by-step instructions for understanding your constituents, developing metrics to gauge and guide your success, and much more. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Public Perception of Nonprofit Overhead Spending

Study results released from Ellison Research, a marketing research firm that specializes in working with non-profit organizations, show most Americans believe non-profit organizations and charities are not financially efficient enough in their work. Sixty-two percent believe the typical non-profit spends more than what is reasonable on overhead expenses such as fundraising and administration. The findings are from a study independently designed and conducted by Ellison Research among a representative sample of over 1,000 American adults. Respondents were asked what proportion of every dollar they give to a typical non-profit organization will go towards overhead expenses such as fundraising and administration. The average person believes 36.3 cents on the dollar goes toward overhead expenses at the typical charity. The study also asked people what would be a reasonable proportion to go toward overhead expenses – and respondents were reminded to answer with a figure they feel would be reasonable, rather than what they feel is ideal. The average American believes 22.4 cents on the dollar being spent on overhead is a reasonable figure. Beyond just these averages, the study shows a number of things that are important for non-profits to understand about how Americans perceive them. For one thing, although the average American believes 36.3 cents out of every dollar is being spent on overhead expenses, this average figure comes from a very wide array of perceptions about how non-profits operate. To download a copy of the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Crisis Communication Plan: Nonprofit Toolkit

The Colorado Nonprofit Association has prepared a toolkit you can use to develop a crisis Communication plan for your association. The toolkit is designed to help staff respond in a unified, professional manner that reinforces sector leadership and creates loyalty; strategically enhance the organization’s brand/role, and the public understanding of the value provided by the nonprofit community; and manage the distribution of critical, often sensitive, information to the media, members, and public. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Microsoft Access 2007 Online Tutorials

If you’re trying to learn Microsoft Access 2007 there are excellent online resources available. I recommend checking these out:

Microsoft Office Online offers several Access 2007 Courses
• Access 2007 Tutorial developed by Florida Gulf Coast University

Monday, December 8, 2008

Picks of the Week: December 7 - 13, 2008

Website of the Week -- National Human Services Assembly

The National Human Services Assembly is an association of the nation’s leading national non-profits in the fields of health, human and community development, and human services. Many of the member organizations are national offices of large networks of local health & human service organizations. Others are national research or resource organizations or national programs. Goals include providing collective leadership to shape national human development/health & human service strategies, serving as a catalyst for sharing of resources for the purposes of individual/professional development and organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and, increasing awareness of the importance of and trust in the nonprofit health & human service sector. Major programs and activities include development and support of issue coalitions and peer networking groups; offering an annual Executive Leadership Institute for CEOs and board chairs on current national nonprofit leadership challenges with cutting edge presenters as well as The Leaders Summit which is geared towards nonprofit leaders and managers of Assembly member organizations. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Influential Fundraiser: Using the Psychology of Persuasion to Achieve Outstanding Results by Bernard Ross and Clare Segal

From the publisher: With the explosion of uninspired e-mail solicitations, dull fundraising dinners, and cookie-cutter direct mail campaigns, donors are demanding a new, personalized approach when being asked for money. Drawing on the authors' practical experience and the most current psychological and neurological research, The Influential Fundraiser offers a wealth of approaches that will help fundraisers make significant and successful creative "asks" for money from donors . . . in person. Written by Bernard Ross and Clare Segal—two leading experts in the field of international nonprofit fundraising—the book offers step-by-step guidance for gaining confidence and learning the necessary skills and techniques fundraisers must have to build successful relationships and raise substantial amounts of money. Written in an accessible, engaging style, The Influential Fundraiser will help you to be both highly effective and very flexible. The 5 P model outlined in the book—Passion, Proposal, Preparation, Persuasion, and Persistence—will help fundraisers and volunteers learn invaluable skills needed for fundraising success. The Influential Fundraiser is international in scope and includes helpful suggestions for dealing with a wide range of cultural and diversity issues. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Significant Challenges for Charities

A new GuideStar survey shows that the proportion of charity representatives reporting decreased contributions nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008, and that almost half of participants from nonprofits that rely on end-of-year gifts expect donations to decline during the last quarter of 2008 compared to the last quarter of 2007. GuideStar, the leading provider of nonprofit information, asked individuals associated with charitable nonprofits how their organizations fared financially during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the first nine months of 2007. Some 38 percent reported increased contributions, 25 percent said contribution levels had remained about the same, 35 percent reported a decrease, and 2 percent did not know. By contrast, in 2007, 52 percent of participants said that contributions had increased, 25 percent said they were about the same, 19 percent said they had decreased, and 4 percent did not know. In both 2007 and 2008, nearly half (46 percent) of the participants said that their organizations receive the majority of contributions during the last quarter of the year, the period known as the giving season. Last year, however, 60 percent of this group predicted that contributions during the 2007 giving season would exceed those from 2006, whereas this year, 49 percent said they expect decreased end-of-year donations. GuideStar's seventh annual nonprofit economic survey was conducted on-line October 6-20, 2008. Some 2,927 individuals representing at least 2,730 charitable organizations participated. The survey report is available at Survey results for a particular state can be requested.

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center

The National Council of Nonprofits developed this resource to help nonprofits better understand the current economic situation and have ready access to strategies to help them navigate the economy so they can serve their communities more efficiently. Resources are organized in three broard categories:

• Basic Facts & Analysis: This section provides links to materials designed to help the public, policymakers, journalists, and nonprofits understand the mounting economic challenges.
• Impact on Nonprofits: This section identifies ways the economy is hurting nonprofits - and thereby the communities they serve.
• Proactive Positioning - Action Steps for Nonprofits: This section shares resources to help nonprofits not only weather this economic storm, but also emerge even stronger.

The site is updated regularly. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Microsoft Excel 2007 Online Tutorials

If you’re trying to learn Microsoft Excel 2007 there are excellent online resources available. I recommend checking these out:

Microsoft Office Online offers several Excel 2007 Courses
• Excel 2007 Tutorial developed by Florida Gulf Coast University

Monday, December 1, 2008

Picks of the Week: November 30 - December 6, 2008

Website of the Week -- Harvard Family Research Project

The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), a program of the Harvard Gradate School of Education, strengthens family, school, and community partnerships, early childhood care and education, promotes evaluation and accountability, and offers professional development to those who work directly with children, youth, and families. The audiences for HFRP's work include policymakers, practitioners, researchers, evaluators, philanthropists, teachers, school administrators, and concerned individuals. Areas of Expertise include: early care and education, out-of-school time, and family and community involvement in education. HFRP also believe that evaluation is essential to improve and maintain the quality of all programs. Therefore, a large part of its research includes piloting new approaches to evaluation and sharing field-wide innovative trends, strategies, and techniques through our quarterly journal, The Evaluation Exchange. The Evaluation Exchange will be of particular interest to nonprofits in general. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Search for Social Entrepreneurship by Paul Charles Light

From the publisher: Research on social entrepreneurship is finally catching up to its rapidly growing potential. In The Search for Social Entrepreneurship, Paul Light explores this surge of interest to establish the state of knowledge on this growing phenomenon and suggest directions for future research. Light begins by outlining the debate on how to define social entrepreneurship, a concept often cited and lauded but not necessarily understood. The subsequent section examines the four main components of social entrepreneurship: ideas, opportunities, organizations, and the entrepreneurs themselves. The copious information available about each has yet to be mined for lessons on making social entrepreneurship a success. The third section draws on Light s original survey research on 131 high-performing nonprofits, exploring how they differ across the four key components. The fourth and final section offers recommendations for future action and research in this burgeoning field. Paul C. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University. He is also Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he founded the Center for Public Service. Light is the author of numerous books on public service and management, among them Pathways to Nonprofit Excellence (2002), Government's Greatest Achievements (2002), Making Nonprofits Work (2000), and The New Public Service (1999). Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Trends in Corporate Philanthropy

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy released Giving in Numbers 2008 Edition, the annual analysis report on corporate giving trends. Giving in Numbers offers a comprehensive study of 2007 corporate giving data drawn from 155 prominent companies, including 69 of the Fortune 100.
2007 Findings highlight the industry's most-watched data points, such as matching gifts, volunteerism, international giving, corporate foundation giving, and management and program costs:

• Corporate Foundations: Consistent with prior years, 88% of companies have a corporate foundation. According to the preliminary data, pass-through foundation structures appear to be the most common.
• Matching Gifts. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported an employee matching-gift program. The median corporate match was $2.03 million and matching as a percentage of total giving was 9%.
• Program Areas. For the first time, the average percentage of total giving allocated to Health & Social Services programs was equaled by that of giving to Education (which includes K-12 and Higher Education); these giving categories each garnered 28% of the typical company’s total giving budget.
• International Giving. As a percentage of total giving, grants serving international recipients increased from 10% in 2005 to 12% in 2007. Manufacturing companies in 2007 dedicated an average of 20.6% of total giving internationally compared to 4.6% on average by Service companies.
• Management Costs and Staffing. The typical cost of administering a giving program is equivalent to 6.1% of total giving. However, this figure likely under-represents actual expenses. The data also show that philanthropy staffing levels do not increase proportionally as giving budgets expand.

For a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Managing in Tough Times: 7 Steps

The Bridgespan Group offers advice to nonprofits looking for ways to respond to these challenging times. According to the authors “this position paper presents seven steps for navigating economic turbulence distilled from the real-world experiences of our clients, other nonprofit leaders and experts, and our own research”. The steps include:

1. Act quickly, but not reflexively, and plan contingencies.
2. Protect the core (the programs and services that have the greatest impact on those you serve; and the organizational infrastructure required to support them).
3. Identify the people who matter most and keep that group strong.
4. Stay very close to your key funders.
5. Shape up your organization (changes that could make your operations more efficient and your impact greater).
6. Involve your board.
7. Communicate openly and often.

For a copy of the full article, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 Online Tutorials

If you’re trying to learn Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 there are excellent online resources available. I recommend checking these out:

Microsoft Office Online offers more than twenty PowerPoint 2007 Courses.
• PowerPoint 2007 Tutorial developed by Florida Gulf Coast University.