Monday, March 23, 2009

Picks of the Week: March 22 - 28, 2009

Website of the Week -- BoardConnect

The mission of BoardConnect® is to strengthen communities by building the leadership skills of community members and connecting them with nonprofit boards, matching them with one another for maximum community impact. For individuals who want to serve a nonprofit in their community, BoardConnect® training addresses the roles and responsibilities of a board member, including board operations, strategic planning, resource development, oversight, and ambassadorship. The training also familiarizes participants with convenient online tools to match them with nonprofits seeking new members, and BoardConnect® staff members provide additional support connecting individuals with the nonprofits they are most interested in serving. BoardConnect® staff members also provide additional matching support, including candidate searches and contacts, for a modest annual fee. BoardConnect also offers some training via webinar. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Law for Religious Organizations: Essential Questions & Answers by Bruce R. Hopkins and David Middlebrook

From the publisher: Nonprofit Law for Religious Organizations: Essential Questions & Answers is a hands-on guide to the most pertinent and critical legal issues facing those who lead and manage religious tax-exempt organizations with an emphasis on tax, employment, property and constitutional law. This timely book is a response to the need for guidance, direction, and clarification of legal and tax laws affecting churches and other religious organizations. Preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Study Shows First-Time Online Donors Often Do Not Return

People who go online to donate to charity for the first time often do not return to the Internet to make later gifts, according to a new study by Target Analytics, a unit of Blackbaud, Inc. which provides software and services to nonprofit groups. The findings suggest that while the Internet can be a valuable fund-raising tool for charities, particularly in soliciting gifts after disasters like Hurricane Katrina, it is not a replacement for direct mail or other forms of fund-raising. Key findings from the 2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis include:

• Online giving still represents a relatively small portion of donors and revenue at most organizations, but it is growing rapidly and is becoming an important source for new donor acquisition.
• Online donors are younger and have higher incomes than traditional direct mail donors. These are important constituents that nonprofits very much want to attract and keep, given the older average donor age in many files.
• Online donors give larger gifts and, as a result, have a higher overall long-term value than donors to more traditional giving channels like direct mail, but they are less loyal in terms of repeat giving. Higher average gifts mask the lower retention rates of online donors, which may present an opportunity for improvement at many organizations.
• The online giving channel must be an integrated part of an entire direct marketing program because although offline donors do not generally migrate to online giving, online donors do migrate to offline channels in large numbers. In addition, online donors tend to downgrade when they move offline, further evidence that online donors are not cultivated to their full potential.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Systems Thinking Resources

Linda Booth Sweeney, a systems educator and writer, has developed a website that offers a number of excellent resources on systems thinking and its application to organizational and community problem solving. Linda translates the concepts of complex systems theory into accessible materials and seminars for innovation in organizations, schools and communities. She is also the author of several books and numerous articles. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Easily Create Access 2007 Tables from Excel

Here's a simple way to create an Access 2007 table from an Excel worksheet:

• Open the Excel worksheet
• Select the data you want in your Access table
• Copy the data to the clipboard and paste it into Access or you can even drag and drop it into Access

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