Monday, May 25, 2009

Picks of the Week: May 24 - 30, 2009

Website of the Week -- National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

For more than 30 years, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has served as the country’s independent watchdog of foundations. Over time, institutional grantmakers, federal and state governments, and individuals have taken NCRP recommendations and turned them into policy, such as promotion of comprehensive financial reporting for foundations as well as the inclusion of advocacy organizations in the Combined Federal Campaign—now both widely accepted as "good practice." NCRP played a critical role in the development of alternative workplace giving funds, such as Community Shares, Earth Shares and Community Coalition Funds. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Building Evaluation Capacity: 72 Activities for Teaching and Training by Hallie Preskill and Darlene Russ-Eft

Building Evaluation Capacity provides 72 activities for learning how to design and conduct evaluation studies. These activities address the entire evaluation process. Each activity includes an overview, instructional objectives, time estimates, materials needed, handouts, and procedures for effectively using the activity, whether there are a few participants or an unlimited number in small groups. To help the reader locate specific kinds of activities, the book includes a chart that names the activity, the time needed to implement the activity, and whether background information or knowledge is required prior to implementing the activity. The book also includes several strategies for forming groups and a glossary of instructional strategies. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Update Value of Volunteer Time

Independent Sector has just released an updated figure for the estimated dollar value of volunteer time: $20.25 per hour for 2008. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Nonprofit organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Avoiding Common Hiring Pitfalls

There are a number of ways that recruiting and hiring processes can go wrong, and hiring the right people into the right positions is too important to leave to chance. Whether your organization has dedicated human resources professionals or not, there are a number of common hiring mistakes that can be easily avoided as outlined in this article from GuideStar. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Entering the Euro in Word 2007

To enter the Euro symbol in Word 2007, use this simple keyboard shortcut:

• Hold down the Alt key and the Ctrl key, then Type the letter e.

This trick also works in earlier versions.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Picks of the Week: May 17 - 23, 2009

Website of the Week -- Wegner LLP

Wegner, LLP is a Wisconsin based CPA firm with an extensive nonprofit practice. Wegner has become a well-respected and well-recognized name within the nonprofit world through provision of exceptional services and community involvement. Wegner currently serves over 400 nonprofit organizations including foundations, co-ops, unions, housing development organizations, religious organizations, associations, advocacy organizations, elderly programs, community action programs, humanitarian organizations, voluntary health and welfare agencies, educational institutions, and a variety of other human service agencies. The website includes a helpful list of resources including sample forms and policies as well as links to other websites of interest to nonprofits. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organization: Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Plan, 2nd Edition by Sally J. Patterson and Janel M. Radtke

From the publisher: How a nonprofit s strategic communications department defines its issues and policies determines whether the public views it as an effective organization. Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organizations, Second Edition supports nonprofits in using their resources most effectively. The Second Edition includes a dedicated web site, equipping professionals with the worksheets, forms, surveys, and self-assessment tools needed to create a total communications plan. Plus, the book s step-by-step instructions demonstrate nonprofit communications strategies that work. Practical and clear, this in-the-trenches book provides nonprofit CEOs with expert insights to achieve their mission. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofits Embracing Social Networks

Social networking has become an integral part of nonprofits’ online strategy, according to a survey recently conducted by NTEN, Common Knowledge, and ThePort. In this online survey conducted in March, 2009, 929 respondents representing nonprofits of all sizes and from multiple vertical segments indicate that nearly three-quarters (74.2%) have a presence on Facebook, and 30.9% have one or more social networking communities on their own web site. To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Management Training Presentations

Complete presentation packages, prepared by the Faculty and participants of the Master in Not-for-Profit Leadership Program at Seattle University, are provided at this site in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Each package comes complete with a script, originals for hand-outs and ready-to-use transparencies.
The presentation text is based on the curriculum of the Not-for-Profit Leadership Program at Seattle University. The subjects were chosen by the faculty in consultation with alumni and current students. The topics focus on strengthening key factors for success in nonprofit organizations. There is no charge. Cooperation with the evaluation process is expected. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Changing the Case of Text in Excel

To change the case of text in Excel, use one of the following formulas:

• =UPPER(A1) Changes the text in cell A1 to upper case
• =LOWER(A1) Changes the text in cell A1 to lower case
• =PROPER(A1) Changes the text in cell A1 to proper case

For example: If original text is “The story of stuff”, =UPPER(A1) becomes “THE STORY OF STUFF”; =LOWER(A1) becomes “the story of stuff”; and =PROPER(A1) becomes “The Story Of Stuff”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Picks of the Week: May 10 - 16, 2009

Website of the Week -- Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies

The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies seeks to improve understanding and the effective functioning of not-for-profit, philanthropic, or “civil society” organizations in the United States and throughout the world in order to enhance the contribution these organizations can make to democracy and the quality of human life. The Center is part of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies and carries out its work through a combination of research, training, and information-sharing both domestically and internationally. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems by Peggy Holman, Tom Devane and Steven Cady

From the Publisher: Originators and practitioners of such change methods as Future Search, Real Time Strategic Change, Gemba Kaizen, and Open Space Technology outline the distinctive aspects of their approaches, detail roles and responsibilities, share stories illustrating their use, and answer frequently asked questions. This extensively updated new edition of the classic bestseller features profiles of sixty-one change methods by the originators and foremost practitioners of such high-leverage change methods as Appreciative Inquiry, the World Café, Six Sigma, Future Search, and Open Space Technology. Each author outlines distinctive aspects of their approach, answers frequently asked questions, and provides case studies and references to learn more. A one-stop comparative chart helps you determine which methods will work best for you, along with chapters on mixing and matching and sustaining results. This tremendously expanded second edition is the definitive resource in the exciting area of engaging "whole systems" of people to create their own future. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Foundations Respond to Increased Needs as Assets Decline

A recent study by the Council on Foundations reveals that foundations continue to respond to the increased needs of families in spite of a decline in foundation assets. This report is another in a series of Council research reports on the relationship between philanthropy and the economy.This new report is based on data collected from 430 foundations in March 2009. It assesses how foundation endowments and grantmaking have been affected. It also considers how foundations have changed their grantmaking to focus on individuals and families hurt by the recession. Finally, it looked at the changes foundations have made in their own operations. Highlight of the study include:

• Foundation endowments, which started the year at $682 billion, fell precipitously in 2008 leading to a majority of foundations (62 percent) reporting they will reduce their grantmaking in 2009. However, the vast majority (82 percent) of foundations providing assistance to those adversely affected by the economic downturn will continue to do so, either at the same or higher levels, or have added it as a new area.
• Three out of four foundations saw their assets decline by 25 percent or more, with a higher proportion of independent and larger foundations experiencing such a drop.
• About half (48 percent) of foundations said that they will reduce the value of their total grantmaking for 2009 by 10 percent or more
• More than one in three foundations (38 percent) reported that they will maintain or increase the value of their grantmaking in 2009, with more than half of corporate grantmakers and 41 percent of family foundations maintaining or increasing the value of their grantmaking.
• Ninety-two percent of foundations stated they are making grants in 2009 to aid low-income individuals and families and others adversely affected by the economic downturn.
• Eighty-two percent of these foundations reported that their grantmaking in 2009 will be at least as much as it was in 2008; in fact, 31 percent said they are increasing their support for basic needs (food, emergency shelter, utility payments, and employment) and 6 percent said they have added it as a new grantmaking area.
• Most foundations are taking actions to reduce or contain their own operating costs by implementing hiring or salary freezes, cutting travel budgets, or reducing or eliminating conference attendance.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Nonprofit Sustainability Guide

NeighborWorks America today released a comprehensive sustainability guide to help community development corporations and other non-profits to evaluate and improve the environmental and sustainable footprint of their organizations, or in short, "Go Green." Produced in association with Strategic Sustainability Consulting, Herndon, VA, the easy-to-read, straight-forward guide, "Greening Your Non-Profit from the Inside Out: A NeighborWorks Guide for Community Development Organizations" is built off of 22 actual sustainability audits of nonprofit organizations and uses these examples to tailor a "Go Green" guide for non-profit organizations. To download the practical, hands-on guide for free, go to:

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
• 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

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

Monday, May 4, 2009

Picks of the Week: May 3 - May 9, 2009

Website of the Week -- Outcome Measurement Resource Network

The Resource Network of the United Way of America offers information, downloadable documents, and links to resources related to the identification and measurement of program- and community-level outcomes. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Strategic Approach, 3rd Edition by Joan E. Pynes

From the publisher: Public and nonprofit organizations face difficult challenges today that make the strategic management of human resources crucial. This book shows how to integrate HR practices with the mission of their organization. An accessible tool complete with an instructor s manual, this book provides an integrated approach to current HR concerns and is unique in its focus on both public and nonprofit agencies. Offering guidance and techniques for implementing effective human resource management strategies job analysis, performance evaluation, recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation and benefits, and collective bargaining Pynes demonstrates how strategic human resources management is essential to proactively managing change. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Downward Trend in High School Volunteering

Fewer high school age (16-18) Americans stepped up to volunteer their time over the past two years, new research reveals. Traditionally, teenagers have volunteered at slightly higher rates than other age groups, but in 2007 people 25 or older were more likely to volunteer than were those 16 to 18. These are some of the findings from a study examining youth volunteering trends from 2002 to 2007 released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College. The research presents volunteer rates by state and age groups calculated using the Current Population Survey (CPS), a joint product of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Overall trends showed a 6 percentage point decline in volunteering among 16-to-18 year-olds since the rate peaked in 2005 at 33 percent. Meanwhile, volunteer rates for the population aged 19-to-25 (18 percent) and 25 years and older (28 percent) both changed very little (2 percentage points or less) since 2002. The study also examined the state policies impacting youth volunteering, which many researchers believe have an impact on the levels of volunteering for 16-to-18 year-olds. For more information on the study, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Social Networking Guides and Resources for Nonprofits

Networking for Good has compiled an excellent collection of introductory articles and resources to help you determine whether or not online social networks including services like Facebook, MySpace, and blogs fit your needs, and if so, how to get started. You can access the collection at A great place to start is the article entitled “10 Things You Need to Do Prior to Diving into Social Media”. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Freeze a Formula into its Current Value

To freeze a formula into its current value:

• Select the formula
• Press F2 (Edit)
• Press F9 (Calc)
• Press Enter

Now you can copy or move the value anywhere you need it. This trick works in all versions of Excel, even 2007!