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!

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