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.

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