Monday, March 30, 2009

Picks of the Week: March 29 - April 4, 2009

Website of the Week -- Theory of Change

The Theory of Change website has been newly revised and updated. This website is devoted to the application, methodology, use and practice of Theory of Change methodology. For 2009, it has been revamped to include more information on how to best use TOC, lessons from the many areas in which TOC has been applied, and the role of TOC in organizational functioning and capacity. At this site you'll find:
• When in your work can TOC help you and how (planning, re-grouping, evaluation, Board meetings?
• How it is best applied. Should the scope of your engagement be a day, a month, or a year?
• How can TOC be the basis for a major organizational shift towards focusing on outcomes and accountability, while remaining participatory and transparent?
• How has TOC been used recently in key topic areas such as social justice, women’s movements, international justice, youth development, structural racism and more

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Fundraising When Money Is Tight: A Strategic and Practical Guide to Surviving Tough Times and Thriving in the Future by Mal Warwick

From the publisher: Nobody can predict our economic future. But in tough times, whether driven by the economy or other factors, there are simple yet sometimes counterintuitive steps you can take to ensure that your organization will suffer the least possible damage in a down economy -- and emerge healthy and poised for renewed growth when the economic crisis has passed. This book will outline how the economy effects fundraising and then walk you through an effective strategy and practical steps you can take to survive and then thrive in the future. Topics include:

• What history teaches us
• A proven way to anticipate the future
• Three scenarios for economic recovery
• Three possible fundraising strategies
• Identify a winning strategy
• Strengthen your case for giving
• Cut costs with a scalpel, not an ax
• Fish where the big fish are
• Stay close and get personal with your donors
• Step up your efforts online

Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Nonprofit Sector

According to "Quiet Crisis," a report recently issued by Bruce Reed and John Bridgeland, the human need for nonprofit help is skyrocketing as nonprofit resources shrink. Their research uncovered disturbing evidence of the nonprofit sector's growing troubles:

• Churches, many of which deliver social services to the poor and needy, were expected to raise $3 billion to $5 billion less than anticipated in the last quarter of 2008;
• United Way saw a 68 percent increase during the past year in the number of calls for basic needs such as securing food, shelter, and warm clothing, and is receiving 10,000 to 15,000 more calls every month compared to 2007;
• Chicago's Meals on Wheels is trimming its budget by 35 percent;
• The State of Arizona reports an increase of more than 100 percent in the number of people who sought social services from 2007 to 2008, and Goodwill of Central Arizona reported nearly twice the number of visits to its centers on December 23, 2008, compared to the same day in 2007; and
• Over the last year, more than 70 percent of Michigan nonprofits have seen increasing demand for their services, while 50 percent say their financial support has dropped.

This report makes several concrete recommendations on how our nation can spark a strong nonprofit recovery and permit more Americans to do good works in hard times:

• Put 250,000 Americans a year to work in national and community service by passing the bipartisan Serve America Act.
• Adopt targeted incentives to expand private giving and volunteering.
• Create a Social Innovation and Compassion Capital Fund.
• Give nonprofit housing and financial institutions a prominent role in solving the nation's massive mortgage and foreclosure problems.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Urban Institute Outcome Indicators Project

The Urban Institute has developed and applied an Outcome Framework to program areas (examples: Transitional Housing, Youth Tutoring and Mentoring, Emergency Shelter, Advocacy. For each program, there is a sample mission statement, an outcome sequence chart, a table of candidate program-specific outcomes, and data collection strategies with suggested data sources for each outcome indicator. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Open Access 2007 Objects in Design View

Here are 2 quick ways to open Access objects in Design View:

• Click the object to select and press Ctrl + Enter, or
• Right click the object and select Design View from the shortcut menu

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