Monday, January 19, 2009

Picks of the Week: January 18 - 24, 2009

Website of the Week -- is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states including info on Medicaid, uninsured populations, and more. provides data on more than 500 health topics and is linked to both the Kaiser Family Foundation website and The data are based on an analysis of the Census Bureau’s March 2007 and 2008 Current Population Surveys (CPS; Annual Social and Economic Supplements) and are restricted to the civilian (not active duty military) population. The state data represent 2-year averages. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising, 2nd Edition by Cheryl A. Clarke

From the publisher: Grantwriters often have little or no training in the practical task of grantseeking. Many feel intimidated by the act of writing, and some don't enjoy writing. In Storytelling for Grantseekers, Second Edition, Cheryl Clarke presents an organic approach to grantseeking, one that views the process through the lens of the pleasures and rewards of crafting a good story. Grantseekers who approach the process as one in which they are connecting with an audience (grantmakers) and writing a narrative (complete with settings, characters, antagonists and resolutions) find greater success with funders. The writing process becomes a rewarding way to tell the organization's tale, rather than a chore, and their passion and creativity lead to winning proposals. This book walks readers through all the main phases of the proposal, highlighting the creative elements that link components to each other and unify the entire proposal. The book contains resources on crafting an effective synopsis, overcoming grantwriter's block, packaging the story, and the best ways to approach the "short stories" (inquiry and cover letters) that support the larger proposal. Clarke also stresses the need to see proposal-writing as part of a larger grantseeking effort, one that emphasizes preparation, working with the entire development staff, and maintaining good relations with funders. In Storytelling for Grantseekers, new and experienced grantseekers alike will discover how to write and support successful proposals with humor and passion. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- The Obama Effect: Trends Affecting Volunteering

Susan Ellis of has identified a number of ways several ways that the Obama Administration may impact volunteering in the United States. According to Ellis:

• The Obama campaign leaders and the Obamas themselves have and will probably continue to encourage volunteer involvement on the part of those who volunteered during the election campaign.
• Candidate Obama made campaign promises about enlarging stipended service programs such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. Many also believe that he will favor the proposed U.S. Public Service Academy. So we may see legislation and appropriations that fund these efforts.

For more commentary on the “Obama Effect” as well as trends impacting the volunteer management profession, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Community Organizing Resources

GrantCraft has just released a new guide, “Funding Community Organizing: Social Change through Civic Participation,” on community organizing for grantmakers. The purpose of the guide is to offer a grounding in the basics of community organizing, as well as examples of what the work can accomplish in many different fields and communities. Though is primary audience is the grantmaking community, others interested in community organizing will find the publication very helpful. To download a copy of the guide, go to: You’ll need to register in order to access the download. While developing this guide, grantmakers offered a wide range of resources in several areas of community organizing. GrantCraft has compiled an extensive listing of books, films, articles, research reports, toolkits, and more on community organizing. To access the resource list, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Text to Columns in Excel 2007

This feature can be useful for creating a database using existing information which is improperly formatted. For example, if both first and last names have already been entered into a cell, use text to columns to split names into 2 columns.

• Select the range of cells that contains the text values
• Click the Data tab
• In the Data Tools group, click Text to Columns
• Follow the instructions in the Convert Text to Columns Wizard

Click here if you're using an earlier version of Excel.

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