Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 20, 2009 - January 2, 2010

Website of the Week -- The Center for Collaborative Planning

The Center for Collaborative Planning (CCP) promotes health and social justice by providing training and technical assistance and by connecting people and resources. CCP supports diverse communities in key areas, such as: Asset-based Community Development (ABCD), Leadership Development, Working Collaboratively, Community Assessment and Strategic Planning. The site contains an extensvice reource library organized into 13 categories. Go to: http://www.connectccp.org/index.shtml.

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Guide to Going Green by Ted Hart, Adrienne D. Capps and Matthew Bauer

A first of its kind, The Nonprofit Guide To Going Green is a practical and comprehensive learning tool dedicated to guiding nonprofits and NGOs towards becoming more green. The book is an outgrowth and companion to GreenNonprofits, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded to be an accessible source of information about greening the nonprofit workplace, and to be a desktop tool for any nonprofit to become green[er]. Dozens of expert authors from around the world have joined in this effort to provide accurate and helpful guidance for charities that want to become more green, support sustainable business practices and the environment. As people and corporations around the world become more green they in turn expect the nonprofits they support to also take proactive steps to protect the environment. GreenNonprofits, and the Nonprofit Guide To Going Green, will lead the way in helping nonprofits and NGOs around the world meet this challenge. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Five Trends That Will Reshape the Social Sector

The James Irvine Foundation commissioned La Piana Consulting to develop a monograph entitled Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector. The publication seeks to illuminate several key trends — and their interrelationship — which will be especially relevant to nonprofits as they look to the future. The Foundation’s intention in funding the development and publication of this thought piece is to spark discussion across the nonprofit sector and to have these ideas inform ongoing planning and strategy development, given a new economic reality. In identifying the key trends discussed in this document, La Piana Consulting drew upon months of conversations with clients and partners in the field, extensive literature reviews and in-depth interviews with thought leaders. In addition to describing key trends, the monograph identifies core competencies for those nonprofits that will be best equipped for the future. The five trends are:

• Demographic shifts redefine participation
• Technological advances abound
• Networks enable work to be organized in new ways
• Interest in civic engagement and volunteerism is rising
• Sector boundaries are blurring

To download a copy of the publication, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Troublemaker's Teaparty, A Manual for Effective Citizen Action

The Troublmaker's Teaparty is an updated and expanded version of The Citizen's Handbook. It contains all of The Handbook plus additional material on preventing grassroots wilt, strategic action, direct action and media advocacy. To download a copy, go to: http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Display Tabbed Documents in Access 2007

A new feature in Access 2007 is the option to use a tabbed interface. This allows you to open multiple objects (tables, forms, reports, or queries) at once. Each object is a separate tab so you can easily see the available objects and click on the one you want. To use this feature:

• Click the Office button in the left corner of the screen
• Click the Access Options button at the bottom of the window
• Select the Current Database in the left pane
• Under Document Window Options, select Tabbed Documents

Monday, December 14, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 13 - 19, 2009

Website of the Week -- IMPACT Arts

IMPACT Arts is a component of Animating Democracy’s Arts & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative which received initial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The initiative works to advance understanding of and help make the case for the social efficacy of arts-based civic engagement work. Animating Democracy is a program of Americans for the Arts. The website is organized around the following five areas:

• Get Grounded: Key concepts that relate to understanding types of social impact plus ways to get started in evaluating arts-based civic engagement work.
• Social Impact Indicators: Outcomes, indicators, and data collection methods for the most common social and civic outcomes aspired to and achieved through arts and cultural work.
• Evaluation in Action Tools: An annotated listing linked to selected evaluation tools and frameworks.
• Stories & Examples: Case studies, evaluation reports, and profiles that describe how real arts projects and programs have been evaluated and what they learned about impact.
• Theory: Papers, essays, and articles on topics related to documenting, measuring, and reporting impacts for civic engagement and social change through the arts.

Go to: http://impact.animatingdemocracy.org.

Publication of the Week -- The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington, Pamela Hartigan and Klaus Schwab

From the publisher: Through vivid stories, the authors identify the highly unconventional entrepreneurs who are solving some of the world's most pressing economic, social, and environmental problems. They also show how these pioneers are disrupting existing industries, value chains, and business models--and in the process creating fast-growing markets around the world. By understanding these entrepreneurs' mindsets and strategies, you gain vital insights into future market opportunities for your own organization. Providing a first-hand, on-the-ground look at a new breed of entrepreneur, this book reveals how apparently unreasonable innovators have built their enterprises, how their work will shape risks and opportunities in the coming years, and what tomorrow's leaders can learn from them. Start investing in, partnering with, and learning from these world-shaping change agents, and you position yourself to not only survive but also thrive in the new business landscape they're helping to define. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Trends In Public Participation In The Arts

American audiences for the arts are getting older, and their numbers are declining, according to new research released by the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey features top findings from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation's largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Five times since 1982, the survey has asked U.S. adults 18 and older about their patterns of arts participation over a 12-month period. The 2008 survey reveals dwindling audiences for many art forms, but it also captures new data on Internet use and other forms of arts participation. Although the 2008 recession likely affected survey responses, long-term trend analysis shows that other factors also may have contributed to lower arts participation rates. Key findings include:

• There are persistent patterns of decline in participation for most art forms. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults – or an estimated 78 million – attended an art museum or an arts performance in the 2008 survey period, compared with about 40 percent in 1982, 1992, and 2002.
• Aging audiences are a long-term trend. Performing arts attendees are increasingly older than the average U.S. adult (45). The aging of the baby boom generation does not appear to account for the overall increase in age.
• Educated Americans are participating less than before, and educated audiences are the most likely to attend or participate in the arts.
• The Internet and mass media are reaching substantial audiences for the arts.

To download a copy of the study, go to: http://www.arts.endow.gov.

Resource of the Week -- E-Advocacy for Nonprofits

More nonprofits are discovering the power of the Internet to promote their public policy agendas. This guide comprehensively addresses the laws governing Internet advocacy, from voter education websites to e-mail action alerts. E-Advocacy for Nonprofits answers many of the questions raised by activists about how the laws of nonprofit advocacy apply in cyberspace. It represents the best research and thinking available on how nonprofits can use the Internet for lobbying and electoral advocacy while staying within the law. Go to: http://www.afj.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change the Number of Default Sheets in an Excel 2007 Workbook

• Click the Office button on the Ribbon
• Click the Excel Options button
• On the Popular tab, under When creating new workbooks, enter the number of sheets you want after the Include this many sheets option

Monday, December 7, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 6 - 12, 2009

Website of the Week -- Demos

Demos is a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization founded in 2000. Headquartered in New York City, Demos works with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of four overarching goals: a more equitable economy with widely shared prosperity and opportunity; a vibrant and inclusive democracy with high levels of voting and civic engagement; an empowered public sector that works for the common good; and responsible U.S. engagement in an interdependent world. A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. Demos publishes books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; works at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; helps to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; projects the organization’s values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and hosts public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices. Go to: http://www.demos.org.

Publication of the Week -- Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion

From the publisher: Discover gender-specific tools and strategies Boom-Generation women can use to make philanthropic and charitable decisions. Answering women's questions of how and why to give from the heart, Women, Wealth & Giving helps you understand the models that work best for charitable giving and how these models fit into your legacy mission, whether you've earned, inherited or married into your wealth. Women, Wealth & Giving will help you understand what models work best for charitable giving, and how to fit those models into your plans, mission, and intended legacy-whether you earned, inherited or married into wealth. This useful planning guide also includes pertinent anecdotes, worksheets, quizzes, inspirational profiles, a resource guide, and much more:

• Identifies gender-specific tools and strategies Boom-Generation women can use to make philanthropic and charitable decisions
• Provides women the means to engage their hearts as well as their minds in giving money, time, and talent away in meaningful ways
• With over 43 million Boom-Generation Women at or nearing the age of retirement, the American population is reaching what has been described as the great wealth transfer, and with women outliving men, or choosing to live alone, the role of women in decisions concerning philanthropic dollars will be critical to the economic, political and moral fabric of our society. Get Women, Wealth & Giving and discover the transformative power of women's philanthropy.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week --Increased Reliance on Volunteers

According to the report The Status of Minnesota's Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment, 60% of organizations reported an increased reliance on volunteers. This survey of 280 nonprofit and governmental organizations was conducted in late September by the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). Other survey findings include:

• 86% reported changes at least one aspect of their volunteer program.
• 44% experienced increased numbers of inquires from potential new volunteers. A drop in inquiries was reported by 14%.
• 52% reported volunteers were more likely to have strong work skills and 54% said they were more likely to be unemployed.
• 67% expect to increase reliance on volunteers in the coming year.
• 86% of respondents reported organizational fiscal stress.
• Over 50% reported an increase in volunteer hours of service, but only 12% had an increased budget for the volunteer program, pointing to resourcefulness in doing more with less. Leaders of volunteers were clearly being proactive, but many also reported feelings of stress.
• 60% were able to place most of the potential volunteers, 3% needed to put most of the new volunteers on a waiting list or turned them away, and 39% reported a combination of placing new volunteers and putting them on a waiting list.
• 48% reported increased collaboration with outside partners.

The report also includes a listing of strategies used by nonprofits to respond to these changes. To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.mavanetwork.org.

Resource of the Week -- An Overview of the Nonprofit and Charitable Sector

This report by the Congressional Research Service explores a number of policy issues have direct or indirect consequences for the nonprofit and charitable sector, including the establishment of a social innovation initiative, changes in the tax treatment of charitable donations, responses to the economic downturn, and health care reform. The first section of this report provides a formal definition of the nonprofit and charitable sector. The next section reports on the size and scope of the charitable sector. Charitable organizations are estimated to employ more than 7% of the U.S. workforce, while the broader nonprofit sector is estimated to employ 10% of the U.S. workforce. The third section of this report examines how charities are funded. Finally, the report concludes by surveying what policy options are considered most important by charitable organizations themselves including (1) increasing government grants and subsidies to charitable organizations; (2) creating an oversight agency within the federal government to gather data, conduct research, and advocate for the charitable sector; (3) implementing policies designed to help charities and foundations in economic downturns; (4) changing the itemized deduction for charitable contributions by limiting, converting to a credit, or making the deduction more widely available; and (5) a variety of other tax issues. To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40919.pdf.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Guides in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint you can use guides to position shapes and objects on slides. To display guides in PowerPoint 2007:

• Press Alt + F9
• To display additional guides, hold down the Control key and drag a guide

Monday, November 23, 2009

Picks of the Week: November 22 - December 5, 2009

Website of the Week -- GiveMN

GiveMN is a new way to donate and raise money online. Donors can give to any 501(c)3charity, church, or educational institution in the U.S in the U.S. and keep track of all of their charitable donations Fundraisers can run campaigns and special events to support their favorite charities They can set up charitable registries to celebrate special events, collect pledges, and raise funds for nonprofits. Nonprofits can reach new constituents online and activate their supporters to raise funds. They can connect with a huge audience of potential supporters through GiveMN's existing community and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Go to: http://givemn.razoo.com/p/about_us.

Publication of the Week -- Harvard Business Review on Corporate Responsibility

From the publisher: What and whom is a business for? This collection of articles gathers the latest thinking on the strategic significance of corporate social responsibility. Readers will develop an understanding of why businesses should continue to give money away even while laying off workers, how companies play a leadership role in today's social problems by incorporating the best thinking of governments and nonprofit institutions, and how community needs are actually opportunities to develop ideas and demonstrate business technologies. Readers will see how corporate responsibility can lead to new markets and solutions to long-standing business problems. The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. From the preeminent thinkers whose work has defined an entire field to the rising stars who will redefine the way we think about business, here are the leading minds and landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious businesspeople in organizations around the globe. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Grantmaking in 2009 & 2010

Here are key findings regarding grant making trends from a recent survey conducted by the Regional Association of Washington Grantmakers:

• The recession has served as a crucible for many grantmakers, providing an impetus to reduce expenses, reevaluate priorities, and promote and engage in collaboration.
• A lower percentage of grantmakers reported a decrease in assets in 2009 (65%) than in 2008 (86%). Some saw a decline in 2009 as a result of increasing their payout rates.
• Grantmakers expect to give fewer grants in 2010 than in 2009.
• More respondents expect their grants budgets to decrease than increase in 2010. Nearly half expect a decline; roughly one in six expect a decline of 5% or less. Nearly one-third expect grants budgets to increase. Approximately one-quarter are not sure.

Go to: http://www.washingtongrantmakers.org.

Resource of the Week -- Board Governance Podcast Library

BoardStar is created a library of 100 podcasts on board governance topics. Through inspirational 8-10 minute interviews with nonprofit leaders, Board Directors can learn about their roles and responsibilities, as well as receive quick points to strengthen their nonprofit Boards. Perfect for introducing a topic for discussion, BoardStar invites you to share a podcast at your next Board meeting. The podcasts are accessible online at no charge. CD and DVD compendiums are available for purchase. You can also download a PDF podcast episode guide. Go to: http://web.memberclicks.com.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Clear All Formatting in Excel 2007

• Select the cell or range of cells to clear (or press Ctrl + A to select all)
• Click the Home tab on the Ribbon
• In the Editing group, click the Clear button
• Select Clear Formats

Monday, November 16, 2009

Picks of the Week: November 15 - 21, 2009

Website of the Week -- Our Shared Resources

OurSharedResources.org is a free service where those who work in the field of volunteer management are able to add useful resources and others in the field are able to access them. With many people contributing a little we all avoid re-inventing the wheel time and time again. Resources include:

• Downloadable, real-world examples of forms, manuals or position descriptions
• Templates & tools for creating resources
• Tips, ideas and how-to articles

Go to: http://www.oursharedresources.com.

Publication of the Week -- The 21st Century Nonprofit, 2nd Edition by Paul Firstenberg

From the publisher: The second edition of this popular title explores the increasing emphasis on nonprofit governance, including accountability, transparency, and responsibility. Author Paul Firstenberg opens with an examination of the pivotal role of the board in organizational governance, particularly since the Sarbanes-Oxley statute was introduced in 2002. That bill, designed for public corporations, includes provisions that can be used to strengthen the integrity of financial reporting in the nonprofit sector. Special chapters focus on preparing board members for coming changes in governance, reducing costs while enhancing performance, and effective public relations. Go to foundationcenter.org.

Trend of the Week -- Foundation Giving Trends 2009

To gauge how foundation thinking has evolved since the Foundation Center’s January 2009 giving forecast survey, the Center resurveyed leading funders in September 2009. Based on their responses, foundation giving will likely be down by more than 10 percent from 2008. Many funders expect that they will come out of the downturn being far more strategic than they were before the crisis, and a majority expect that the nonprofit sector will emerge stronger but that there will be fewer organizations. Key findings include:

• New survey of leading grantmakers suggests steeper than anticipated reduction in 2009 foundation giving.
• Indicators point to a continued reduction in foundation giving in 2010.
• More than two-thirds of respondents have reduced their operating expenses to shore up giving and for other purposes.
• Grantmakers expect that the field of philanthropy will become more strategic as a result of the economic crisis.
• Most funders expect the nonprofit community to emerge stronger from the economic crisis, although some express doubts.

To download a copy of the report, go to: http://foundationcenter.org.

Resource of the Week -- Writing Effective Job Descriptions

A clear and comprehensive job description is key to attracting candidates who are well suited to the position you're trying to fill. Before embarking on the process of writing a job description, however, you'll need to have developed a clear sense of the role in question, its responsibilities, and the qualifications that an ideal candidate would possess. Once your team has clarified these dimensions, you can begin to craft the job description. Besides offering tips for writing the job description, this article from Bridgespan provides an Organization Overview Sample to start your descriptions off on the right foot, an Email Job Announcement Sample to help you spread the word of your open position, and several Nonprofit Job Description Samples for a number of senior management roles. Go to: http://www.bridgestar.org.

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
• Type three pound symbols ( ### ) and press Enter for a triple line
• Type three tildes ( ~~~ ) and press Enter for a wavy line
• Type three asterisks ( *** ) and press Enter for a dotted line

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Picks of the Week: November 8 - 14, 2009

Website of the Week -- Economy Track

Economy Track provides the tools to track the recession and unemployment crisis, with the option of focusing specifically on trends by state, race/ethnic group, gender, occupation, and education level. Bringing together up-to-date and historic data, this site also provides important context by comparing the current economic downturn to past recessions. All of the data and methodology underlying Economy Track’s graphs are downloadable and fully sourced, with some data only available from this new Economic Policy Institute resource. Go to: http://www.economytrack.org.

Publication of the Week -- Building a Performance Measurement System: Using Data to Accelerate Social Impact Andrew Wolk, Anand Dholakia and Kelley Kreitz

From the publisher: If your organization is dedicated to social impact, you know how challenging it can be to evaluate progress on achieving your mission. A performance measurement system can provide your organization with the internal knowledge necessary to help you accelerate your organization s social impact, in addition to generating performance data that is increasingly required by funders.
This practical guide provides an easy-to-follow, five-step process for developing a performance measurement system that will serve as an essential tool for any organization seeking to:

• Select what to measure in order to obtain a clear picture of the organization s progress in achieving its mission, goals, and vision
• Develop dashboards for internal reporting and learn how to analyze performance data to gain insights into the organization s strengths and identify opportunities for improvement
• Create a culture of learning and continuous improvement that involves management, board, and staff in making strategic, data-driven decisions and ultimately accelerates the organization s progress toward enduring social impact
• Develop report cards to communicate performance and impact to external stakeholders
• Use data-based evidence to aid in building funder confidence and securing new and returning investments

Building a Performance Measurement System draws on Root Cause s unique performance measurement methodology, which was developed through its work with social innovators throughout the United States, as well as a number of international organizations. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Escalating Pension Costs Hurting Nonprofits

Most nonprofit organizations offering retirement benefits to their workers report that these plans are under stress, according to survey results released today by the Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project.
Nonprofits offering “defined benefit plans” (plans with a guaranteed benefit) have been particularly hard hit, with 76 percent reporting that their plans are currently under stress and 43 percent reporting severe or very severe stress. Even those offering “defined contribution plans” (plans with investments controlled by the employee and no guaranteed benefit) have been affected, however, with 58 percent reporting that their plans are under stress. As a result, organizations have been forced to reduce retirement benefits, scale back employer matches, end future benefit accruals, and deny pension coverage to new employees, or as a last resort, divert resources from program operations. Many smaller organizations have been prevented from offering pension benefits at all. Other findings from the Johns Hopkins survey include:

• More than two-thirds (67 percent) of all survey respondents reported offering some type of retirement benefit plan to their employees.
• More than half (58 percent) of responding organizations offer a defined contribution plan for workers and about 15 percent offer a defined benefit plan. Coverage of nonprofit workers is extensive: 69 percent of organizations offering defined benefit plans and 54 percent of those offering defined contribution plans indicated that at least half of their employees (including both fulltime and part-time workers) participate in the plans.

The full report "Escalating Pension Benefit Costs—Another Threat to Nonprofit Survival?" is available online at http://www.ccss.jhu.edu.

Resource of the Week -- Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Since their release in 2007, the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice have helped thousands of organizations across the nonprofit community strengthen their operations. Now, the Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice provides further support for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to examining and improving their governance practices. The Principles Workbook will make it easier for boards of directors and staff leaders to assess the areas where their organizations are doing well and where there is room for improvement. It distills the core concepts in each of the 33 principles and suggests points for board and staff to discuss about their current practices. Progress worksheets accompanying each of the four sections assist nonprofits and foundations in making plans and recording their progress. Go to: http://www.independentsector.org. Free registration is required to download the workbook.

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, November 2, 2009

Picks of the Week: November 1 - 7, 2009

Website of the Week -- Institute on Race & Poverty

The Institute on Race & Poverty (IRP) investigates the ways that policies and practices disproportionately affect people of color and the disadvantaged. A core purpose for IRP’s work is to ensure that people have access to opportunity. Another is to help the places where people live develop in ways that both promote access to opportunity and help maintain regional stability. Go to: http://www.irpumn.org.

Publication of the Week -- The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan by Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey R. Solomon

From the publisher: From world-renowned philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies comes a comprehensive guide on how to be a canny, street-smart, effective philanthropist, regardless of your income level. It is also a perfect companion for nonprofit program and development executives who would like to introduce donors to their work and their organizations. Despite their critical importance to philanthropy, donors have few resources for solid information about making their gifts-deciding what type of gift to give, how to structure it, the tax implications, what level of follow-up and transparency they should ask for and expect, and countless other complexities. This book fills that vacuum and helps you gain a special understanding of philanthropy as a business undertaking as well as a deeply personal, reflective process. Drawing on decades of experience, the authors offer a fresh, enlivening approach to the nonprofit enterprise that, too often, is undervalued and thought of as the province of the burnt-out and the overwhelmed. Along with its many candid insights and memorable anecdotes, The Art of Giving also offers instruction on how to create a business plan for giving that works for you. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Trends in Foundation Giving

Rob Blizard, Director of Gift Planning at George Washington’s Mount Vernon has compiled a list of 14 trends in foundation giving recently appearing in the Mal Warwick Newsletter. Some of the trends include the following: a continuing reliance on personal relationships, little support for operating funds, a continuing focus on outcomes and results, process changes due to technology, reduced giving from corporate sources, and more. To access the first seven trends, go to http://www.malwarwick.com. To access the remaining trends, go to http://www.malwarwick.com.

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Social Media Primer

Having a social media strategy is not its own objective. Rather, social media strategies can support your existing objectives. Reflect on your organization’s current objectives: Do you want to cultivate supporter relationships, build cause awareness, do online fundraising, or connect with new supporters? Those are all goals social media can help support, and the Nonprofit Social Media Primer examines a multitude of ways to get started and how your organization can benefit. The Nonprofit Social Media Primer was authored by Frank Barry, Director of Professional Services, Blackbaud Internet Solutions. To download a free copy, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Keep a file on the Office 2007 Recent Documents List

An excellent new feature in Office 2007 which works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, is the ability to keep or “pin” a file in the Recent Documents list, here’s how:

• Click the Microsoft Office Button
• Click the pin icon beside the document you want to keep on the list
• The pin button changes to a push pin viewed from the top

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 25 - 31, 2009

Website of the Week -- The Meyer Foundation

The Meyer Foundation supports capable, community-based organizations that foster the well-being of all people in the Capital Region with a focus on low-income people and creating healthy neighborhoods. The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations that serve the people and communities of Greater Washington. The Foundation supports visionary and talented nonprofit leaders, seeks to strengthen the management and infrastructure of nonprofits in the region and works to build partnerships to foster the nonprofit sector’s work. All nonprofits, regardless of geographic location will find a wealth of useful resources by clicking on “Resources for Nonprofits” link. Go to: http://www.meyerfoundation.org/resources.

Publication of the Week -- Mission-Based Management: Leading Your Not-for-Profit in the 21st Century by Peter C. Brinckerhoff

From the publisher: As a nonprofit manager, you have to be more effective and more efficient than ever to win funding and support to ensure your organization pursues its mission, meets community needs, and maintains its budget, while juggling the demands of funders, clientele, boards, staff, and community. Written by a nationally recognized expert who has trained thousands of nonprofit managers in hundreds of seminars on the best practices in nonprofit management, this Third Edition of Mission-Based Management provides comprehensive, hands-on guidance, addressing:

· The unique concerns of today's managers in nonprofit organizations
· A refreshed set of priorities for the mission-based manager
· Revised characteristics of a successful mission-based organization
· Updated predictions for the next ten years
· A new chapter on ethics, accountability, and transparency addressing organizational transparency, the effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, new technologies, technology planning, and disaster planning
· Updated discussion questions at the end of each chapter, allowing you to generate better conversations with your staff and board about which parts of the book most apply to your organization's unique needs

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Business Valuing Employee Volunteer Programs

According to a new research study “Motivating Volunteering in Tough Times” from LBG Associates and LBG Research Institute, during these challenging economic times, companies are looking to employee volunteering to help enhance their images as good corporate citizens—-and in many cases, replace declining contributions. This growing importance of employee volunteering, combined with the accepted business case in support of it, makes getting these programs “right” a business imperative. But when it comes to motivating volunteering, what resonated with employees in 2007, or even last year, will not necessarily work today. The downturn has wrought serious changes in business, and it has taken a toll on employee trust and morale. Anxious, cynical, or depressed employees need much more support, reassurance, and information than they did in the past in order to feel comfortable participating in company sponsored volunteering efforts. And companies need more feedback from employees about what matters most to them when they volunteer. LBG's new research report is unique in that it includes both the voice of the employee volunteer manager AND the employee. By comparing research from both groups, this study provides a much-needed and robust view of today's volunteering landscape There is only one solution to this dilemma: better and more frequent communication. To download an executive summary of the study, go to: http://www.lbgresearch.org/8.php.

Resource of the Week -- Advocacy Funding: The Philanthropy of Changing Minds

Grant makers tend to be cautious about funding advocacy, and for good reason — yet advocacy can play a crucial role in advancing a foundation’s mission. In this Grantcraft guide, contributors explain that advocacy includes a lot of opportunities to improve public policy through work that is well within the limits of the law. Whether your purpose is to advance an idea, argue a position, or enrich the policy debate, the guide offers resources and strategies for planning your work, reaching your audience, assessing impact, and more. Go to: http://www.grantcraft.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Turning Photos into PowerPoint 2007 Slide Shows

To turn your digital pictures into PowerPoint 2007 slide shows:

· Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
· In the Illustrations group, click Photo Album
· On the Photo Album dialog box, click the File/Disk button to Insert pictures
· Click the Create button

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 18 - 24, 2009

Website of the Week -- Causecast

Causecast, dubbed "a one stop philanthropy shop" by TechCrunch, is a platform where media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment and education converge to serve a greater purpose. According to Causecast, “People want to do good, want to be inspired, and want to inspire others to join them in giving back. Causecast makes this easy by providing users with means to CONNECT with people, leaders, charities, nonprofit organizations, and brands that inspire them.” Causecast combines media with causes to bring attention and donations to non-profit organizations. They raise money through partnerships as well as produce content such as podcasts that highlight the needs and goals of the organizations they work with. Go to: http://www.causecast.org.

Publication of the Week -- Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient, and Rewarding for All by Robert Egger

From the publisher: In Begging for Change, Robert Egger looks back on his experience and exposes the startling lack of logic, waste, and ineffectiveness he has encountered during his years in the nonprofit sector, and calls for reform of this $800 billion industry from the inside out. In his entertaining and inimitable way, he weaves stories from his days in music, when he encountered legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, and Iggy Pop, together with stories from his experiences in the hunger movement -- and more recently as volunteer interim director to help clean up the beleaguered United Way National Capital Area. He asks for nonprofits to be more innovative and results-driven, for corporate and nonprofit leaders to be more focused and responsible, and for citizens who contribute their time and money to be smarter and more demanding of nonprofits and what they provide in return. Robert's appeal to common sense will resonate with readers who are tired of hearing the same nonprofit fund-raising appeals and pity-based messages. Instead of asking the "who" and "what" of giving, he leads the way in asking the "how" and "why" in order to move beyond our 19th-century concept of charity, and usher in a 21st-century model of change and reform for nonprofits. Enlightening and provocative, engaging and moving, this book is essential reading for nonprofit managers, corporate leaders, and, most of all, any citizen who has ever cared enough to give of themselves to a worthy cause. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Charitable Donors Give More When Asked Personally

Donors to charitable organizations give more when they are asked in person and when someone they know makes the request, a new study commissioned by Chicago-based consulting firm Campbell & Company and conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds. The study, Significant Gifts: Where Donors Direct Their Largest Gifts and Why, which is based on a national sample of more than 8,300 donors, confirms what nonprofit organization fundraisers have often observed: people give to people, and especially to people they know. Among other findings from the study:

• The average largest gift amount for donor households was $1,098. Among all donors, 43 percent directed their largest contributions to religious organizations, and 57 percent to secular charities.
• Although a lower number of gifts went to religious organizations, a greater share of the total dollars from donors’ largest gifts (79 percent) went to religious organizations, which includes donations to congregations for relief work and other community programs.
• For higher-income households (income of $150,000 or more), the average largest gift of $2,486 was more than twice the overall average. Among these higher-income donors, a greater share of the number of the largest gifts and of the dollar amount of these gifts went to educational, health, and arts and cultural organizations than was the case in the general population.
• Members of the general population were more likely to select providing for the basic needs of the very poor as their main motivation for giving than any other reason. Among higher-income households (those with incomes of $150,000 or more), the most common motivation was the belief that those with more should help those with less.

To download a free copy of the study, go to: http://www.campbellcompany.com/contactus.html. You will need to make a request for the free download.

Resource of the Week -- Checklist for Accountability

Independent Sector has developed a set of excellent tools to assess your nonprofit’s accountability and transparency IQ and then use the results of the assessment to strengthen your organization in these critical areas. The Checklist for Accountability combines recommendations made by Independent Sector and the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector. It was developed with the additional input of the Ethics and Accountability Committee and Communications and Marketing Advisory Task Force. Go to: http://www.independentsector.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Add Color to Worksheet Tabs in Excel 2007

It can be useful to color code the tabs of Excel worksheets:

• Select the tab of the sheet you want to re-color (to select more than one tab hold down the CTRL key and click each tab)
• Right click and select Tab Color from the shortcut menu
• Select color and click OK

This tip also works in previous versions of Excel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 11 - 17, 2009

Website of the Week -- Energize, Inc.

Energize, Inc. is an international training, consulting and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism. Founded in 1977, Energize has assisted organizations of all types with their volunteer efforts--whether they are health and human service organizations, cultural arts groups, professional associations, or schools. Energize, Inc has just launched their redesigned Website. All the volunteer management resources, advice, and help it has always provided are now easier to find. Go to: http://www.energizeinc.com.

Publication of the Week -- Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders by Patricia St. Onge, Beth Applegate, Vicki Asakura, and Monika K. Moss

From the publisher: No “how-to” manual exists on cultural competency. And, compared to other topics in nonprofit management, little exists on the skills and strategies needed to address racism and inequity. Building cultural competency is an ongoing journey that nonprofit leaders choose to take because they know the end result will be a more inclusive, connected, and effective organization. Patricia St. Onge and her contributing authors help readers grapple with the urgent issues that can transform capacity builders into change agents in the nonprofit sector. Embracing Cultural Competency starts the dialogue on how organizations can start building capacity. Nonprofit capacity builders will:

• Discover a framework to help discuss issues related to cultural competency
• Learn about methods, practices, and values that define cultural competency and cu culturally based work in nonprofit capacity building
• Understand the complexities within ethnic communities
• Gain insights into the nature of institutionalized racism

Through a range of methods—literature review, personal interviews, peer dialogue, insights of contributing authors—readers get a mosaic of perspectives that surround cultural competency. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit Employment Trends

The 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey is a national survey of nonprofit employment practices. This survey has been produced annually by Nonprofit HR Solutions since 2007. In January 2009, Nonprofit HR Solutions invited over 3,000 nonprofit organizations from across the country to participate in a survey of employment trends within the sector. The survey focuses on four key areas: staff size and projected growth, recruitment strategies and budgeting, staffing challenges, and staffing resource management. In many cases, responses to the 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey mirrored the current state of the economy and the state employment climate across all industries. Nonprofit organizations, like nearly every other employer type, anticipate less hiring and more downsizing in 2009. Appropriate resource allocation for staffing and human resources lags when compared against its proportion in most organizational budgets. With the exception of questions regarding adding and eliminating positions, most responses remained relatively consistent from 2008 to 2009. Among the key findings, some 58.4% of respondents indicated that they anticipate no change in staff size in 2009 compared to 2008. Comparatively, 49.7% of respondents to the 2008 survey had anticipated no change in staff size compared with 2007. Compared to 2008, in 2009, there was an 8.7% drop in the anticipation of hiring new staff. To download the executive summary of the report, go to: http://www.nonprofithr.com/documents/09EmploymentTrendsSurveyReport.pdf.

Resource of the Week -- Social Media Resources for Your Nonprofit Job Search

Nonprofits are increasingly incorporating social networking tools-such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter-into their marketing, fundraising, advocacy, and recruiting efforts. To learn more about the role that social networking can and should play in a professional's search for a nonprofit management position, Bridgespan talked with Beth Kanter, the author of Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media. She explains how to get the most out of social networking during your job search-even if you're a new-media novice. Go to: http://www.bridgestar.org/Library/LeveragingSocialMedia.aspx.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change Default Paste Setting in Word 2007

Did you know you can change the default paste option in Word 2007? If you constantly find yourself choosing Paste Special and then Unformatted Text to avoid copying the format when copying text from another source, here’s a time saving solution:

• Click the Office Button
• Click the Word Options button at the bottom of the menu
• Click Advanced in the left pane
• Click the drop-down arrow next to the Cut, Copy and Paste options
• Choose Match Destination Formatting
• Click OK when finished to keep your changes

Monday, October 5, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 4-10, 2009

Website of the Week -- FrameWorks Institute

The mission of the FrameWorks Institute is to advance the nonprofit sector's communications capacity by identifying, translating and modeling relevant scholarly research for framing the public discourse about social problems. FrameWorks designs, commissions, manages and publishes communications research to prepare nonprofit organizations to expand their constituency base, to build public will, and to further public understanding of specific social issues. In addition to working closely with social policy experts familiar with the specific issue, its work is informed by a team of communications scholars and practitioners who are convened to discuss the research problem, and to work together in outlining potential strategies for advancing remedial policies. FrameWorks also critiques, designs, conducts and evaluates communications campaigns on social issues. Its work is based on an approach called "strategic frame analysis," which has been developed in partnership with UCLA's Center for Communications and Community. Go to: http://www.frameworksinstitute.org.

Publication of the Week 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don't by Center for Association Leadership

From the publisher: A historic study focused on getting to the heart of what makes a remarkable nonprofit organization, 7 Measures of Success contains knowledge that will assist association executives in planning the future of their organizations. Based on 15 years of data and original, objective research tailored to the association community's needs 7 Measures of Success provides empirical data and seven success factors common among visionary nonprofits. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- The Role of Women's Funds

Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women's Funds, a report by the Foundation Center and the Women's Funding Network, examines giving patterns and trends among larger private and community foundations and the distinctive contributions of women's funds to philanthropy. The report finds that foundation giving targeted to benefit women and girls climbed 223 percent between 1990 and 2006 (after adjusting for inflation), compared to an overall giving increase of 177 percent. Other key findings of the study include:

• The nation's private and community foundations increased their giving for activities targeting women and girls from an estimated $412.1 million in 1990 to nearly $2.1 billion in 2006.
• The over 145 member funds of the Women's Funding Network provide an estimated $60 million a year in grants and leverage millions more through their wider relationships and connections.
• Women's funds take a comprehensive approach to social change, focusing their giving on human rights, health, and economic empowerment.
• In contrast, foundation giving for women and girls is primarily focused on health. Close to half of grant dollars targeted to women and girls support health-related activities.
• Women's funds are guided by the principle that women catalyze and lead the way to change in neighborhoods and communities; 98 percent of the women's funds surveyed indicated that achieving social change was a high priority for their fund.

To download a summary of report highlights, to go: http://foundationcenter.org.

Resource of the Week -- The Smart Chart

The Interactive Smart Chart is based on the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 – a planning tool that helps nonprofits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. This online version of the Smart Chart offers an interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time – and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort. Go to: http://www.smartchart.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Cheat Sheets for Office 2007

An excellent resource for learning Office 2007 is a set of Cheat Sheets published by ComputerWorld.

Whether you’re just making the switch to 2007 or a seasoned user, you’re certain to find many useful tips and tricks.

Word 2007 Cheat Sheet

Excel 2007 Cheat Sheet

PowerPoint 2007 Cheat Sheet

Monday, September 28, 2009

Picks of the Week: September 27 - October 3, 2009

Website of the Week – Future Lab

FutureLab, an initiative of Independent Sector, is an online forum where members of the nonprofit and philanthropic community can help envision a more dynamic and powerful future. The goal is to generate, share, and develop ideas that have the potential to strengthen the sector at large and increase individual and collective impact. FutureLab is a place to leverage the nonprofit sector’s collective intelligence and mobilize its best energies towards a brighter future. You can participate by joining the conversation and share and get feedback on your ideas and contribute to the sector’s collective thinking. The information will be used in the following way: This conversation can be useful to all organizations -- leaders across the sector can provide and find insights that can inform planning and decision making within all types of organizations. It is hoped that the ideas generated through FutureLab will present new opportunities and inspiration for future work. Current discussion threads include: Civic engagement, diversity, global engagement, impact, integration with religious groups, leadership, responsibilities of government and nonprofits, technology, responsibilities of government and nonprofits, and the 21st century economy. Go to: http://www.independentsector.org/future/index.html.

Publication of the Week -- Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block

From the publisher: Modern society is plagued by fragmentation. The various sectors of our communities--businesses, schools, social service organizations, churches, government--do not work together. They exist in their own worlds. As do so many individual citizens, who long for connection but end up marginalized, their gifts overlooked, their potential contributions lost. This disconnection and detachment makes it hard if not impossible to envision a common future and work towards it together. We know what healthy communities look like--there are many success stories out there, and they've been described in detail. What Block provides in this inspiring new book is an exploration of the exact way community can emerge from fragmentation: How is community built? How does the transformation occur? What fundamental shifts are involved? He explores a way of thinking about our places that creates an opening for authentic communities to exist and details what each of us can do to make that happen. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Corporate Support in the Recession

According to a new report by The Hitachi Foundation and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, the recession has not spelled the end for corporate citizenship, but it has forced corporations to rethink—both good and bad—their approach. The report findings reveal that large companies are responding to the recession much differently than small companies. For example, large companies significantly increased their investments and involvement in citizenship activities—but they were also more likely to lay people off. Small firms kept true to their emphasis on treating employees well by minimizing layoffs. But they significantly decreased attention to other aspects of citizenship, such as volunteering or philanthropy. And one of the most interesting findings relates directly to this country's ability to help low-income individuals participate in the coming economic recovery. Half of the businesses are supporting skill development for employees making less than $40,000 annually. These businesses report that they directly connect these efforts to boosting productivity. Other key findings include:

• Some 54 percent of U.S. senior executives believe corporate citizenship is even more important in a recession.
• Companies in 2009 increased internal and external communication about corporate citizenship, with 54 percent now communicating with employees about it and 39 percent talking with stakeholders.
• The top three areas of corporate citizenship rated most important continue to be: operating with ethical business practices; (91 percent), treating employees well (81percent) and managing and reporting company finances accurately (76 percent).
• Despite the tough economy, only 38 percent of companies said they reduced their philanthropy and giving. Support for employee volunteering also remained strong with 83 percent of large companies stating their companies support employee volunteering in the community.

To access the full report, go to: http://www.hitachifoundation.org.

Resource of the Week -- 30 Second MBA

The 30 Second MBA is a feature of Fast Company Magazine. A wide array of organizational and industry experts provide answers to questions in the form of 30 second video clips. Recent topics have included: What Is the Single Most Important Task for a Leader? What Do You Do When You Don't Know What to Do? How Do You Retain and Nurture Talent? What Did You Learn From Your Last Business "Near Death" Experience? How can teams make better decisions? And more. Go to: http://www.fastcompany.com/mba/node/57.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Excel Status Bar Sums

• Select the cells you want to sum
• Check the Status Bar in the lower right

All versions will display a Sum. By default, in Excel 2007, the Count, Average and Sum will be displayed. But this default can be changed by right clicking on the Status Bar to display the Customize Status Bar menu.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Picks of the Week: September 20 - 26, 2009

Website of the Week -- Sustainable Measures

Sustainable Measures develops indicators that measure progress toward a sustainable economy, society and environment. The organization works with communities, companies, regional organizations and government agencies at all levels. The website offers:

• Free training materials
• A searchable database of indicators
• Explanations of indicators and sustainability
• A list of online, print, and other resources, and
• Answers to frequently asked questions about indicators and sustainability.

Go to: http://www.sustainablemeasures.com.

Publication of the Week -- No Risk No Reward: Mergers of Membership Associations and Nonprofits by Louise C. Dickmeyer

From the publisher: No Risk - No Reward: Mergers of Membership Associations and Nonprofits is a straightforward discussion on the process of merging two nonprofits or membership associations. It provides a practical guide to merging nonprofit organizations a topic of interest to a growing number of nonprofit leaders as they seek to continue to provide services in an era of reduced resources. The book aims to provide general direction to staffs and board members involved in mergers to help prepare for the complexity of the process and avoid the inherent pitfalls. The book by Minnesota-based nonprofit consultant, Louise Dickmeyer, writes from personal experience. As president and chief executive officer of Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, she learned first-hand the difficulties and complexities of merging nonprofits in 2001 when her organization merged with the Bloomington (Minn.) Chamber of Commerce. In the book, Dickmeyer uses the merger as a case study and shares insights gained through years of consulting to nonprofit and membership organizations. No Risk- No Reward: Mergers of Membership Associations and Nonprofits addresses the increasing need for mergers as a strategy for coping with shrinking financial and leadership resources. The book also provides helpful how-to information on key aspects of mergers, including finances, governance, legal considerations, the integration of cultures and the role of communications in merger success. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Milwaukee Area Nonprofits Under Stress

Local nonprofit organizations are cutting budgets and staff in an effort to keep up with increased demand for services and falling donations, according to a new and expanded survey of local agencies commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and conducted by the Public Policy Forum.
Sixty-eight percent of the nonprofits surveyed for the 13th Annual Report Card on Charitable Giving say the economic downturn has caused a drop in giving. Sixty-three percent of the agencies feel the state of philanthropy is getting worse. Of the organizations providing direct services to clients, 62 percent say demand for assistance is increasing. Other key findings of the Report Card include:

• More than 80 percent of organizations have cut costs due to budget constraints, and one in four has laid off staff.
• Only one in four organizations describe themselves as financially healthy and not currently vulnerable.
• Over half of organizations have six months or less operating reserve. Thirty-one percent say they are running an operating deficit in the current fiscal year.
• Half the nonprofits responding to the survey have considered collaborating with another nonprofit within the past year. Nearly one in three has explored merging with another nonprofit. Five organizations have considered closing.

To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.greatermilwaukeefoundation.org/research/reportcard.shtml.

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Resource Library

The Non-Profit Sector Leadership Program at the Dalhouse University College of Continuing Studies has developed an online resource library for nonprofits. The library offers program resource materials as well as selected links to other websites that also offer useful information on leadership and management topics. Under all three headings one will find links to a number of the most active organizations, in North America and beyond, working on behalf of the nonprofit sector in advocacy, research and education. Go to: http://collegeofcontinuinged.dal.ca.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Nudging Objects on PowerPoint 2007 Slides

Have you ever tried to move an object on a slide just a little? Try this:

• Select the object
• Press Ctrl + an arrow key

This tip also works in earlier versions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Picks of the Week: September 13 - 19, 2009

Website of the Week -- The Charities File: On Board

The Community Services Council in partnership with the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development at Carleton University has just launched The Charities File: On Board, an online resource for small and rural charities. The website offers resources in four key areas:

• The Treasurer’s Chest: Tools and templates for treasurers, bookkeepers, and finance committees
• The Fundraiser’s Receipt Book: Information, tips, and the latest CRA fundraising guidelines
• Agenda Gems: A year-round calendar of seasonal agenda items for boards and annual meetings, and
• The Shoe Box: Contains the lists and rationale for storing and transferring key organizational documents

The Charities File: On Board is made possible with funding from the Government of Canada. Go to: www.thecharitiesfile.ca.

Publication of the Week -- Reliable Fundraising: What Good Causes Need to Know to Survive and Thrive by Kim Klein

From the publisher: Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times is the much anticipated follow-up to fundraising expert Kim Klein's bestselling Fundraising for Social Change. This important book offers social justice nonprofits a road map for meeting the challenges of fundraising in a climate of economic uncertainty. Klein outlines the steps an organization needs to take to create a disciplined, systematic fundraising program that is both flexible and durable in order to survive almost any challenge. Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times tackles the big issues head-on, including the fact that the current economic turmoil has no end in sight. Klein shows how to build fundraising programs that thrive on this kind of economic roller-coaster ride and reveals how to identify and make the most of opportunities as they come along. She explores fundraising from the point of view of organizational development and examines myriad issues such as working across generational lines and in multicultural communities, collaborating effectively with other nonprofits, and surviving scandals and crises. The book also examines challenging questions such as how boards can fulfill their fundraising responsibilities without feeling overly burdened, how organizations can adapt to generational leadership changes, how to practice good time-management habits, and how the sector—and the context for fundraising—will continue to change. Written in Kim Klein's conversational, reader-friendly style, Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times discusses the current fundraising landscape, provides an overview of the past, and offers hope for the future. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Corporate Philanthropy Shifts From Cash Giving To Volunteerism

According to a new report "Making the Most of What We Have: Corporate Giving in the New Economy", published by LBG Research Institute of Stamford Connecticut, corporations and their foundations are showing their support for their communities by marshalling other, non-cash resources. Key findings include:

• More than 84% of corporations surveyed say they are encouraging more employee volunteerism to offset a decline in cash giving.
• More than 48% have increased the number of volunteer events this year.
• Almost 45% report increased participation rates in their employee volunteer programs.
• Besides giving their employees’ time, some companies are stepping up product and in-kind donations.
• 15% report they are increasing their in-kind donations (such as meeting space, office equipment, etc.).
• 12% are increasing their product donations (products they manufacture, such as pharmaceuticals, apparel, etc.).
• Almost half the corporations in the survey report that they are emphasizing partnerships with nonprofits over straight cash donations.
• Half are also paying more attention to measurability and nonprofit accountability.
• One-third of the survey respondents say they are actively seeking new nonprofit partners to better match strategic goals.

For more information about the report, go to: http://www.lbgresearch.org/survey09.php.

Resource of the Week -- Models of Collaboration

“Models of Collaboration” is a publication of the ASU Lodestar Center, an academic center that seeks to advance nonprofit leadership practice. The brief was authored by Marc Hager and Tyler Curry. This outstanding publication describes eight models of collaboration: fully integrated merger, partially integrated merger, joint program office, joint partnership with affiliated programming, joint partnership for issue advocacy, joint partnership with the birth of a new formal organization, joint administrative office and back office operations, and confederation. Each of the eight models is defined along with a listing of conditions that can be addressed by the selected model, as well as challenges and benefits of the model. There are brief capsule studies of collaborations that reflect each model. This publication is based in part on an analysis of nonprofits competing for the Collaboration Prize created by the Lodestar Foundation. To download a copy, go to: http://www.asu.edu.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Tracking Revisions in Excel 2007

Excel 2007 tracks worksheet revisions so you can see what has changed on each sheet. To use this feature, do the following:

1. Click the sheet to make it active
2. Click the Review tab on the Ribbon
3. Click Track Changes in the Changes group
4. Choose Highlight Changes
5. Click in the "Track changes while editing" box and then set the types of changes you want to highlight.

You can choose to have the changes highlighted on screen or listed on a new sheet.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Picks of the Week: September 6 - 12, 2009

Website of the Week -- The Nonprofit Portal

The Nonprofit Portal seeks to strengthen the knowledge and skills of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Milwaukee region through the collaborative development and use of on-line technologies. The Nonprofit Portal connects nonprofit leaders to online information resources, training and learning events, news, and local organizations with a focus on nonprofit management. Many of the listed resources will be of use to all nonprofits regardless of geographic location. Go to: http://epic.cuir.uwm.edu/NONPROFIT.

Publication of the Week -- Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets: Why Philanthropy Doesn't Advance Social Progress by Steven H. Goldberg

From the publisher: In Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets, Steven Goldberg explores the debilitating financial constraints that prevent so many nonprofit organizations from producing substantially greater social impact, and sheds new light on how the nonprofit capital market should be structured to best allocate funds in support of high-performing organizations that deserve additional resources to achieve optimal scale. He presents sweeping historical evidence, rigorous economic analysis, and extensive case studies of social enterprises, venture philanthropies, independent researchers, and the emerging array of "prediction markets" to show that the time has come to develop new financial institutions and tools that can consolidate much larger sums of money with much less effort, time, and cost, and distribute it in ways that dramatically magnify its impact. Goldberg makes a compelling case for an intelligent capital allocation system—a virtual nonprofit stock market—based on the "wisdom of crowds" to help highly engaged social investors efficiently find and fund the best nonprofits, instead of forcing nonprofits to spend so much unproductive time looking for too little money with too many strings attached. His petition for financial intermediation challenges accepted orthodoxies of nonprofit fundraising and offers an informed pathway toward performance-driven philanthropy. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Impact of Health Care Crisis on Nonprofits

"Health Care and Nonprofits: The Hidden Dimension of America's Health Care Crisis", a new study by the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project, reveals that health care costs are producing a so-far hidden crisis for America's nonprofit organizations and the nearly 13 million workers they employ. Virtually all (98 percent) of the responding nonprofits offering health benefits indicated that they are concerned about their organization's health care costs, and a striking 59 percent ranked health care costs as one of their organization's top challenges. Other findings from the Johns Hopkins health benefits survey include:

• A striking 80 percent of the nonprofit respondents reported offering health insurance coverage for their employees. Nevertheless, the proportion not offering such coverage rose by 62 percent compared to the results from a comparable survey in 2004.
• Virtually all (99 percent) of the large nonprofits responding reported offering health benefits to employees but less than half (46 percent) of the smallest organizations did, and cost was a major factor at work.
• Nearly three out of every four nonprofits offering health benefits reported that their organization's total direct health insurance costs increased during the past year, and for over a third of the respondents the increase was over 10 percent—well above the national average of 5 percent per year.
• These recent increases come on top of increases in previous years: based on an earlier Listening Post survey of a comparable set of organizations, average health benefit costs for these organizations grew by nearly 40 percent between 2004 and 2009• In the process, health benefits as a share of total employee compensation grew by over 12 percent, suggesting that health benefit costs are squeezing out pay increases and other aspects of employee compensation.
• The vast majority of nonprofit executives (80 percent of respondents) expect such increases to continue in the future, and about a third expect the increases to exceed 10 percent.

To download the report, go to: http://www.ccss.jhu.edu.

Resource of the Week -- Comparison of Board Governance Models

Ruth L. Johnson has prepared a monograph entitled Stewardship to Leadership in which she compares and contrasts 13 approaches to board governance. The descriptions of each governance model, accompanied by graphics are especially helpful in seeing the differences and similarities among the various governance approaches. Johnson has served as a three term Board member for the Clark County School District, one of the largest school districts in the nation. She was repeatedly elected by her peers to serve as president of her Board and also served in other officer positions including president of the Nevada Association of School Boards and Vice-president of the Pacific Region of the National School Boards Association. To download the monograph, go to: http://www.nvasb.org/Publications.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using a Startup Form in Access 2007

Make it easy to use an Access database by automatically displaying a form when the database is opened. Access 2007 has made this process easier than ever before. Here’s how:

• Open the database and click the Office Button
• Click the Access Options button at the bottom of the menu
• Click Current Database on the left pane
• Under Application Options click the Display Form drop-down and choose the form you want users to see when they open the database
• Click OK

You may also want to clear the checkbox next to Display Navigation Pane to further simplify the environment for users.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Picks of the Week: August 30 - September 5, 2009

Website of the Week -- The Center for Social Innovation

The Center for Social Innovation was created in 2000 by a group of faculty, alumni, and other leaders committed to social change at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Building on a long history at the School of engaging students and alumni in social and environmental issues, the Center has quickly developed new ways to strengthen the capacity of individuals addressing social problems. The Center has begun to build a vibrant community of active change agents through a variety of activities that contribute through thought leadership, student engagement, and community engagement. Through basic and applied research, case writing, course development, and publications, the Center creates new knowledge and disseminates important ideas and tools for social innovation. Go to: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/csi/about/index.html.

Publication of the Week -- The Annual Campaign by Erik J. Daubert

From the publisher: The Annual Campaign reveals how to run a well-managed and well-coordinated annual campaign effort from the perspective of the large or small nonprofit organization. Centering on real-world campaigns and best practices in the 21st century for annual support, this book presents step-by-step guidance and practical tools including diagrams of annual campaign structures for use in local nonprofits, checklists for annual support campaigns, assessments for annual support campaign readiness, annual support campaign case statement examples, sample pledge cards, cultivation tips for obtaining larger gifts, and much more. The author Erik Daubert currently serves as Association Financial Development Consultant for the YMCA of the USA, assisting YMCA associations across the country with consulting for annual, capital, and endowment efforts. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Shrinking Generational Digital Divide

Americans 50+ are increasingly becoming immersed in the Internet and in many ways can be compared to users who are decades younger, according to findings from the Center for the Digital Future released in conjunction with AARP. The study takes a look at online behaviors of those age 50+ compared to the under 50 demographic. The following are selected key findings from the study comparing Internet users 50 + to those under 50 that will be of interest to nonprofits:

• Participation in online communities – A large percentage of Internet users 50 and older who are members of online communities report extensive involvement in their communities and benefits from their participation. Fifty-eight percent of members 50 and older log in to their online community daily or several times a day, compared to 47 percent of members under 20.
• Social activism – Thirty-six percent of members 50 and older said their social activism has increased since they began participating in online communities for social causes, compared to 29 percent of members under 20.
• Importance of online information - A larger percent of users under 20 compared to those over 50 (85% vs.76%) said that the Internet is an important or very important source of information. However, the percentage of those over 50 who state this has grown substantially in five years (2002 to 2007), up slightly more than half (51%).
• Importance of online communities – Both 50+ and under 20 online community members say their online community is very important or extremely important to them: (70 percent of members 50 and older, and 58 percent of members under 20).

Go to: http://www.digitalcenter.org.

Resource of the Week -- Hallmarks of A Risk Aware Nonprofit

Over the past two years, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has identified 12 Hallmarks, along with practical strategies and tools to help turn your nonprofit organization into one that manifests the hallmarks of a risk-aware nonprofit. This Hallmarks tool developed by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has three purposes:

• To inspire thoughtful risk-taking by nonprofit leaders
• To illuminate risk management Hallmarks common in risk-aware nonprofits, and
• To provide specific and practical guidance as well as ‘how-to’ insights for leaders seeking to strengthen risk management practices in their nonprofit organizations.

Each Hallmark is followed by practical suggestions and additional resources to help you get started. To access the Hallmark Tool, go to: http://nonprofitrisk.org/tools/hallmarks/intro.shtml.

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

Charts are great for presenting data in an easy-to-understand way. Here’s how to create a chart in Word 2007:

• Position your cursor where you would like to insert the chart
• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• Click Chart in the Illustrations group
• Select the style of chart you would like to insert
• Click OK
• The chart appears in your document and an Excel worksheet opens
• Enter your data in the Excel worksheet
• Your chart data is automatically updated in Word as you change it in Excel
• Use the Chart Tools in Word to change the chart style, layout and formatting options

Monday, August 24, 2009

Picks of the Week: August 23 - 29, 2009

Website of the Week -- CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services is a consulting, research, and training organization providing nonprofits with management tools, strategies, and resources to lead change in their communities. With offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, CompassPoint works with community-based nonprofits in executive transition, planning, boards of directors, finance systems and business planning, fundraising, and technology. While CompassPoint’s focus is on nonprofits in the Bay area, there are many resources that will be of use to all nonprofits. Go to: http://www.compasspoint.org.

Publication of the Week -- Principles of Fundraising: Theory and Practice by Wesley E Lindahl

From the publisher: Principles of Fundraising: Theory and Practice provides readers with an overview of the theory and practice of fundraising for nonprofit organizations. It approaches fundraising from a marketing position, yet incorporates concepts from the law, economics, accounting, history, sociology, psychology, theology, and ethics. While many fundraising textbooks are heavily geared toward practice, this textbook balances the approach and provides a basis for further study in the field of fundraising. Some features include: Comprehensive overview of the theory and practice for fundraising; Extensive chapter on models of fundraising; Historical background on fundraising included to set the context for current practice; Highlights the religious motivations for giving that represent the largest category for giving in the USA; Entire chapter dealing with ethical issues in fundraising; Builds in recent and classic academic research on fundraising. Principles of Fundraising: Theory and Practice also features boxed articles, examples, summaries, and short case studies to enhance the reading.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit Job Cuts

Organizations across the nonprofit sector are using combinations of staff management strategies, including salary freezes and layoffs, to deal with the recession, according to a survey Campbell & Company conducted in July 2009. Nearly half of nonprofit organizations (47.5 percent) have laid off staff members to cut costs as donations dwindle. Fifty percent of groups in the survey have frozen salaries, 15.8 percent have put a freeze on hiring, and 10.5 percent have mandated unpaid time off or reduced salaries and other benefits. The survey found that fund raisers were slightly less likely than their peers to be affected by the cuts. Roughly 43.5 percent of charities had laid off fund raisers, and 13 percent had hired more fund raisers in recent months to help win more donations. In addition to salary freezes and layoffs, organizations noted that they are:

• Imposing furloughs or reducing salaries, hours, raises or benefits, such as decreasing employer contributions to deferred compensation plans (10.5 percent each).
• Decreasing or eliminating bonuses (7.9 percent)
• More than half of respondents (51.2 percent) reported that their operational budgets are lower this fiscal year.

For more information, go to: http://www.campbellcompany.com.

Resource of the Week -- GuideStar Webinar Archive

GuideStar maintains an online archive of on demand webinars for nonprofits on a variety of subjects. Recent titles include: How to Build an Organizational Dashboard: Track and Measure Organizational Performance Easily and Inexpensively, Creating Sustainable Funding in Economically Challenging Times, Frictionless Fundraising, Nonprofit Research and Analysis Tools to Get the Job Done, and more. Go to: http://www2.guidestar.org.

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

One of our 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
• Type three pound symbols ( ### ) and press Enter for a triple line
• Type three tildes ( ~~~ ) and press Enter for a wavy line
• Type three asterisks ( *** ) and press Enter for a dotted line

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Picks of the Week: August 16 - 22, 2009

Website of the Week -- Venture Philanthropy Partners

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) is a philanthropic investment organization that helps leaders build strong, high-performing nonprofit institutions. VPP concentrates money, expertise, and personal contacts to improve the lives of children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region and cultivate an engaged donor community to generate funding and influence in support of these institutions and of social change. Go to: http://www.vppartners.org/index.html.

Publication of the Week -- The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want: The Nine Little Things That Matter Most by June J. Bradham

From the publisher: The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want is a must read for every executive and fundraiser who wonders how to attract and retain passionate and generous board members. Find out what really makes nonprofit board members tick with the candid, groundbreaking interviews found in The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want. Here, fundraising veteran and author June Bradham shares her expertise, insights, and research to uncover the truth: giving or raising money is the last motivator for seasoned board members to join a board. Their motivation is surprisingly simpler. Interviewing elite board members from around the world, Bradham's qualitative data overwhelmingly proves that board members want an experience that is infused with work that is poignant, thought-provoking, and actionable. By sharing their stories, these successful board members dispel many commonly held myths regarding nonprofit boards to reveal the Nine Truths of the Board Experience. Among them:

• Current board makeup is the biggest motivator for a top-flight candidate to consider board service
• Engaged boards have an inspired CEO who forms a partnership with board members and demonstrates a passion for the mission while keeping the ego in check
• Board giving follows a great board experience

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Volunteering in America Remains Strong

A new report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that even during a time of prolonged economic recession, volunteering has remained steady, fueled by a compassion boom led by young adults and a wave of do-it-yourself volunteers working with their neighbors to fix problems. Volunteering in America 2009, the most comprehensive data ever assembled on volunteer trends and demographics, found that a total of 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008, up one million from the previous year. America's volunteers dedicated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2008, worth an estimated $162 billion. While the formal volunteering rate in America remained relatively stable at 26.4 percent, other less-formal ways of serving in communities have dramatically increased. The number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem rose by 31 percent, from 15.2 million in 2007 to 19.9 million in 2008, suggesting an emerging trend of self-organized 'do-it-yourself' service, a trend the Obama Administration is working to encourage through its United We Serve initiative and Serve.gov website. For a summary of key findings, go to: http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov.

Resource of the Week -- The Just Enough Planning Guide™

Developed by Spitfire Strategies, and the Communications Leadership Institute, with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Just Enough Planning Guide™ was developed to help those looking to create winning policy campaigns, issue campaigns, corporate campaigns or public education campaigns. Based on findings from a comprehensive search to find the perfect approach to campaign planning, this unique tool provides organizations and coalitions with just enough of a process for planning successful campaigns. The Interactive Just Enough Planning Guide™ provides users with an online, interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the tool, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time — and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed plan that links your organization's objectives to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful campaign. To download a copy of the guide, go to: http://www.justenoughplanning.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Selecting a Range in Excel

In Excel, a range is a group of connected cells. When working in Excel you often need to select a range. Here is a simple trick for quickly selecting a range:

• Click anywhere within the range
• Press Ctrl + Shift + *

The range is selected. This trick works in all versions of Excel.