Monday, April 20, 2009

Picks of the Week: April 19 - 25, 2009

Website of the Week -- Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network

The Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network (ESCAN) is a nationwide network of nonprofit consulting organizations. ESC affiliates are management support organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. They accomplish this by providing high quality, affordable consulting services and other technical assistance to nonprofits, schools, and government agencies. The ESC affiliates offer high impact volunteer opportunities to executives and professionals who have had senior level experience in business, government, or nonprofits. The Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports its affiliates in building their capacity to serve their nonprofit clients by:

• Developing partnerships with national organizations
• Establishing performance benchmarking for ESC affiliates
• Facilitating the exchange of best consulting practices and model programs
• Marketing to national nonprofits
• Securing funding for affiliates’ consulting programs
• Organizing a National Leadership Conference

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Zone of Insolvency: How Nonprofits Avoid Hidden Liabilities & Build Financial Strength by Ron Mattocks

From the Publisher: Would you know if your nonprofit is in the Zone of Insolvency and understand the related legal responsibilities and liabilities of operating in financial distress? Approximately one-third of nonprofits—more than 450,000 organizations—function perpetually in the Zone of Insolvency, i.e., in financial distress, and approximately seven percent are completely insolvent. What is the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars given to charitable organizations that operate in perpetual financial distress? Do board members have an inherent obligation to keep nonprofit organizations in operation regardless of their financial condition, or their mission effectiveness? Written by Ron Mattocks with the knowledge and authority that comes from many years of leadership and consulting in the nonprofit sector, Zone of Insolvency shines a bright and urgent light on the real issue of creating financial strength across the whole spectrum of nonprofit organizations. Required reading for nonprofit managers, board members, and volunteers, Zone of Insolvency takes an honest look at the fundamental obstacles facing the nonprofit sector through case studies of organizations. Click here to preview this book on Amazon.

Trend of the Week -- Foundation Growth and Giving Trends

In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, the more than 75,000 U.S. grantmaking foundations increased their giving 2.8 percent in 2008 to an estimated $45.6 billion, according to Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook (2009 Edition) published by The Foundation Center. While giving increased modestly, it did not grow as much as had been expected due to the extreme nature of the economic downturn. Over 67 percent of foundations surveyed said they expect to reduce their 2009 giving. Key estimates for 2008 giving include:

• Independent and family foundations — which represent close to nine out of 10 foundations — increased their giving 2.5 percent to $33 billion.
• Corporate foundation giving held steady at $4.4 billion.
• Community foundation giving rose 6.7 percent to $4.6 billion, surpassing corporate foundations for the first time.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Web based Community Organizing Training Module

Marshall Ganz has developed an excellent web-based resource on organizing. Professor Ganz is a long-time organizer; a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and a principal of Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. This Web module contains learning materials that address the following questions:

• What is organizing?
• How do people organize?
• What skills are required of organizers?
• How can these skills be shared with others?

This module is designed for organizers, students, and trainers of organizers alike. Organizers and students will find readings, video lecture clips and Web links on organizing ("Learning Resources" tab on the left margin). In addition, trainers will find a pedagogy of organizing developed by Professor Ganz and his colleagues ("Trainer's Workshop"). Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Date Field in Word 2007

To quickly enter a date field in Word 2007, try this:

Alt + Shift + D

Remember, this is a date FIELD not text. It will always display the current date (assuming the date in your computer is correct.) So only use it when you want the date to change.

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