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

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