Monday, June 29, 2009

Picks of the Week: June 28 - July 4, 2009

Website of the Week -- Nonprofit Hub

Nonprofit Hub is a site created to help the nonprofit neophyte, whether student, staff member, volunteer, donor, or simply a citizen with a question about jargon used in the nonprofit world or an aspect of management or fundraising practices. This for profit site, which generates revenue through sponsored links, is very easy to navigate and has resources arranged in 14 categories. There is no charge for the resources. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Jump-Starting the Stalled Fundraising Campaign by Julia Ingraham Walker

From the publisher: Things have suddenly gotten a lot tougher in the fundraising business. Nonprofits have begun searching for new ways to make budgets stretch further, to do more with less, and to maximize their return on investment. Part of the AFP / Wiley Fund Development Series, Jump-Starting the Stalled Fundraising Campaign will help your nonprofit develop a strategic approach to fundraising in the weak economy, with advice on knowing if your campaign is in trouble, what short-term steps you can take to stem your losses, and how to avoid the Top 10 campaign mistakes. Concise and practical, Jump-Starting the Stalled Fundraising Campaign discusses:

• Fundraising in a challenging economic environment
• Knowing how to identify opportunities
• How to re-engage board, staff, and volunteers
• Prospect identification, cultivation, and solicitation
• Communicating more effectively to attract additional support
• Building on opportunities for change across the organization

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofits Employ Tougher Measures as Downturn Deepens

The negative effects of the economy on nonprofit organizations has accelerated over the last six months, according to responses from nearly 100 nonprofit leaders participating in a Bridgespan study initiated in November 2008 and updated in May 2009. The percentage of nonprofits that have resorted to layoffs, broad-based programmatic reductions, and reserve draw-downs has increased measurably. Nevertheless nonprofit leaders appear to be optimistic about the future. Almost half of the respondents reported that they believed their organization would be on stronger financial footing in a year's time. Key tactics employed by nonprofits to manage the impact of the economic downturn include:

• Work closely with existing funders to address challenges
• Redesign programs to achieve outcomes in a less costly manner
• Examine and improve key processes and structures (e.g. improve decision-making, cross functional teams) to increase organizational efficiency
• Have a clearly-defined contingency plan
• Consciously identify key positions and shift resources to keep these positions filled
• Renegotiate terms of funding to focus on core programs
• Create new programs that are related to mission and can attract greater funding
• Reduce the level of activity across all programs
• Lay off staff
• Dip into reserve funds
• Cut staff salaries
• Examine opportunities to merge with or acquire other nonprofit organizations

For a comparison of changes in responses from November 2008 to May 2009, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Mashable Launches Hub for Twitter Resources

Founded in July 2005, Mashable bills itself as the world's largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news. Mashable has prepared the "The Twitter Guide Book" to help organizations use twitter effectively. The guidebook is described as a one-stop shop for getting up to speed with everything Twitter, from managing your Twitter stream to promoting an organization. The Twitter Guide Book will be updated a regular basis to bring the latest tips and tricks as Twitter evolves. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Creating Lines in Word 2007

One of my favorite shortcuts from previous versions of Word still works in Word 2007! To create lines across the page of a Word document:

• Type three consecutive hyphens and press Enter for a normal line
• Type three underscores and press Enter for a bold line
• Type three equal signs and press Enter for a double line

These lines extend from the left margin to the right margin and the size of these lines will change if you change the margins of your document or if you change the orientation from Portrait to Landscape.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Picks of the Week: June 21 - 27, 2009

Website of the Week – GoodSearch

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to nonprofits comes from its advertisers at no charge to the users of the website or the nonprofits that are recipients of funds. In 2007, GoodSearch was expanded to include GoodShop, an online shopping mall of world-class merchants dedicated to helping fund worthy causes across the country. Each purchase made via the GoodShop mall results in a donation to the user's designated charity or school – averaging approximately 3% of the sale, but going up to 20% or more. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Winning Grants Step by Step, 3rd Edition by Mim Carlson, Tori O'Neal-McElrath

From the publisher: In the highly competitive arena of grantseeking, fundraisers need resources in order to win grants and fulfill their organization’s mission. This new, thoroughly updated edition of the bestseller offers a guide that any organization can use to secure funding from private foundations or the government. Filled with updated examples, this guide directs the novice grantseeker and offers a refresher course for experienced grantwriters. Following the process presented will improve anyone’s ability to transform an idea that needs support into a proposal that demands funding. As part of the new Jossey-Bass Nonprofit Guidebook Series, Winning Grants has sold over 75,000 copies in its first two editions and has established itself as a leader in the grantseeking market. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- U.S. charitable giving estimated to be $307.65 billion in 2008

Charitable giving in the United States exceeded $300 billion for the second year in a row in 2008, according to Giving USA 2009. Donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.65 billion in 2008, a 2 percent drop in current dollars over 2007. The 2008 number is the first decline in giving in current dollars since 1987 and the second since Giving USA began publishing annual reports in 1956, says the annual. Key findings include:

• Compared with 2007, 54 percent of human services charities saw an increase in need for their services in 2008; 30 percent saw little change in need; and 16 percent saw a decline;
• For 2009, 60 percent of the surveyed human services organizations were cutting expenses, including cutting services or staff, due to funding shortages;
• The type of human service agency most likely to be under funded was youth development/serving children and youth. Of this type of group in the study, 74 percent said they are under funded or severely under funded, meaning that current available funding was insufficient to meet current demand; and
• Among organizations working to meet people’s basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.), more than half (53 percent) said they are under funded or severely under funded for 2009.

For more information and to order a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Capacity Building Toolkit

The Capacity Building Toolkit has been designed to support nonprofit leaders who wish to engage in capacity building in a systematic way. The toolkit facilitates an organization’s engagement in the four Capacity Building Process core activities: capacity building assessment and benchmarking, capacity building action plans based on the results of the assessment, implementation of the action plan, and reassessment to track actual gains in organizational capacity. This toolkit further outlines the four capacity building activity components along with specific capacity building tools designed to guide an organization’s engagement in each of the four activities. This Capacity Building Action Planning Toolkit was originally developed by Frank Martinelli and Shelly Schnupp for use by local associations of the Great Lakes Alliance of the YWCA as part of the GLA Capacity Building Project. To access the capacity building toolkit, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Data Validation in Excel 2007

Data Validation lets you restrict what goes into a cell. For example, if dates being entered must be between a certain range, do this:

•Select the range of cells that you want to apply data validation to
• Click the Data tab on the Ribbon
• In the Data Tools group click the Data Validation button
• Under Validation criteria choose Date from the Allow drop-down menu
• Enter the acceptable date range
• Click OK

If someone tries to enter a date outside this range a warning is displayed that says, "The value you entered is not valid.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Picks of the Week: June 14 - 20, 2009

Website of the Week -- Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations

The Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO) is the statewide association reflecting and promoting Texas’ growing nonprofit community in all its diversity. Envisioning a Texas Nonprofit Sector that works together to be among the healthiest and most vibrant in the nation, TANO’s concern and focus is every nonprofit entity within our state no matter their size or budget. Its mission is to connect, strengthen, and support the nonprofit community for the public good of Texas. TANO creates learning communities of nonprofit professionals, volunteers and others interested in the nonprofit sector. TANO also offer conferences, seminars, and electronic forums and listservs which enable its members to share information, learn from one another, and expand their networks. As one of 42 state associations of nonprofits in the United States, TANO is a member of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). While the focus is Texas nonprofit community, there are many resource links that will benefit any nonprofit organization. Go to and click on the”Knowledge Center” link in the left margin.

Publication of the Week -- Over Goal! What You Must Know to Excel at Fundraising Today by Kay Sprinkel Grace

From the publisher: In its first incarnation, Over Goal! attained classic status. But now Grace has invigorated the first edition with 12 new chapters while updating trends and figures. The final product is arguably the most perceptive fundraising book since Harold Seymour’s Designs for Fund Raising. In 40 comprehensive chapters, Over Goal! ranges over the entire landscape of fundraising and board development. Virtually every subject (e.g. understanding the motivations of major donors, keeping your prospect pipeline full, the dynamics of a solicitation call, the new realities of capital campaigns) is explored, and every technique explained. And there are surprising topics, too, such as using the Internet for stewardship, soothing disgruntled donors, and what you should always communicate to your donors. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Economic Downturn Impact on Major Gift Fundraising

“A Current Overview of Philanthropy and the Economy”, a report by CSS Fund-Raising in New York summarizes the impact of the current economic downturn on philanthropy with a focus on the impact on major gift fundraising. According to the authors, this economic crisis is more immediate and severe than other recessions and has had a dramatic impact on high wealth individuals. 60% of all US philanthropy comes from high net worth individuals who represent just 3% of the total population. The authors also note that new donor acquisition from the direct mail has declined precipitously for many nonprofit organizations. Income from some major special events is experiencing a 10 to 15% fall off from the previous year. The authors suggest 10 strategies for major gift fundraising including:

• Reaffirm your organization's mission and continuously remind donors of the impact and the urgency of philanthropic support.
• Develop immediate short-term action plan specifically designed for your organization.
• Significantly increase activity including visits and briefings with donors and friends and provide consistent communication with all constituencies.
• Redouble efforts to help motivate development staff, administrative leadership, and trustees by reminding them of the resilience of philanthropy in tough times.
• Encourage trustees and volunteers to help open doors and introduce new potential supporters to the institution.
• Reorder prospect lists to reflect the current state of affairs. Undertake additional research to help identify new potential donors and sectors of support.
• Explore the possibility of donors making challenge or matching gifts to stimulate giving from others and multiply the impact of their gifts.
• Share the latest philanthropic information to both motivate leadership and temper expectations.
• Provide donors with greater flexibility in fulfilling their commitments including extended payment periods and plans and deferred giving opportunities.
• Whenever possible, explore practical ways to diversify your fundraising program

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- 185 Cutback Strategies

185 Cutback Strategies Excerpted from Coping with Cutbacks: The Nonprofit Guide to Success When Times Are Tight published by the Fieldstone Alliance. The first two categories address strategies for reducing costs and increasing revenues and will be helpful in budget planning. The authors note: "Use these suggestions as a starting point for your own brainstorming, and use the categories to help you organize your thinking and analyze your current approach to fulfilling your mission. But don't get locked into any one strategy--cut them up, pull them out of a hat, mix and match them. Do whatever helps you spur new ideas that fit your specific situation. Here's our caveat: Just because we've listed a strategy, don't think we endorse it. In fact, we dislike some, and some may conflict with your mission, values, or human resource policies." Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Import a Custom Auto Fill List in Excel 2007

• Select the range of cells on the worksheet which contains the list
• Click the Microsoft Office button
• Click the Excel Options to display the Excel Options dialog box
• Click the Popular tab in the left pane
• Click the Edit Custom List button in the right pane to open the Custom List dialog box
• The range of selected cells will be displayed in the Import list from cells box at the bottom
• Click the Import button
• Your list now appears in the Custom Lists window
• Click OK

Monday, June 8, 2009

Picks of the Week: June 7 - 13, 2009

Website of the Week -- Applied Research Center

The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a racial justice think tank and clearinghouse for media and activism. ARC is built on rigorous research and creative use of new technology. The ARC goal is to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it. By telling the stories of everyday people, ARC strives to be a voice for unity and fairness in the structures that affect individuals and communities. ARC is currently developing a Toolkit on Equity and the Green Economy — including releases in Summer and Fall of 2009 of case studies, a model policy bank, and a framework of measures and standards—that advocates can use to design fair programs and policies within the burgeoning green economy. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Boardroom Realities: Building Leaders Across Your Board Edited by Jay A. Conger

From the publisher: There is renewed interest in new boardroom practices that aim to strengthen the leadership role of directors. This book assembles the biggest names in the study of board governance as well as corporate board members themselves to address the critical questions that corporate boards face today. Contributors include Joseph Bower, Jay Lorsch, Sydney Finkelstein, Ed Lawler, Richard Leblanc, Charles Olsen, Dan Dalton, Michael Useem, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, and board consultants such as David Nadler, Elise Walton, and researchers such as Kathrina Pick. Written for board members, leaders, and executives, consultants, and students of corporate strategy and leadership. Jay A. Conger holds the Kravis Research Chair in Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is the coauthor of Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top, Building Leaders, and The Practice of Leadership as well as eleven other books on leadership. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Family Foundation Decision-making About Lifespan

While existing in perpetuity continues to be the norm for the majority of family foundations, a quarter say they are currently undecided about their lifespan options and a small segment (12 percent) plan to limit their lifespan, according to the first large-scale study of family foundation lifespan plans, jointly released today by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations. The report, "Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?," benchmarks the intentions, practices, and attitudes of nearly 1,100 active family foundations and sheds light on future behavior as this very large and predominantly young segment of philanthropy matures. Nine out of 10 of the roughly 40,000 family foundations currently tracked by the Foundation Center were created since 1980. Key findings include:

• Foundations most likely to opt for a limited lifespan are small foundations established since 1980 that do not employ staff and whose founder is still living, though the percentage who expect to spend down is still modest.
• Foundations with a living founder are three times more likely to expect to spend down than those whose founder is deceased, and they are almost twice as likely to be undecided.
• When the decision to spend down is made at the foundation's inception, the leading factors are the desire of the founder(s) to have a greater impact during their lifetimes and to be involved in how the money is spent.
• The two leading reasons for deciding to exist in perpetuity are a desire both to have a long-term impact on the community and for family engagement across generations.

To download a summary of study highlights, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Dynamic Board: Lessons from High-Performing Nonprofits

The Nonprofit Practice of McKinsey & Company:” The Dynamic Board: Lessons from High-Performing Nonprofits” This report from the Nonprofit Practice of McKinsey & Company, explores the issue of board effectiveness. The report summarizes the best practices identified through McKinsey’s interviews with the directors or board chairs of 32 highly-regarded nonprofits. Go to: McKinsey & Company also provides a valuable board self-assessment tool for nonprofits. This is one of the best board assessment tools available and in available in 5, 15 and 30 minute completion time versions. To access the assessments, go to: and scroll down to “The Dynamic Board: Self-Assessment Tool”. (Free registration may be required to access this article)

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change Text Orientation in Excel 2007

• Select the text you want to rotate, angle, or switch to vertical
• On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Alignment group, click the Orientation button

Monday, June 1, 2009

Picks of the Week: May 31 - June 6, 2009

Website of the Week -- NetSquared

Today the global community stands witness to a momentous time in history where progressive change is not only necessary, but imminent. NetSquared believes the social Web is key to making change. NetSquared works toward this goal by mobilizing individuals and communities, providing Web-based tools, and awarding financial support to leverage social action projects. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, NetSquared - an initiative of nonprofit TechSoup Global - has worked internationally since 2005. In that time the organization has fostered monthly face-to-face meetups for social innovators in 25 cities around the globe, incubated hundreds of social action projects in various stages of development, awarded over $240,000 in financial support through prized-based Challenges, and provided a platform for cross-sector collaboration. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards by Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan and Barbara E. Taylor

From the publisher: A new framework for helping nonprofit organizations maximize the effectiveness of their boards. Written by noted consultants and researchers attuned to the needs of practitioners, Governance as Leadership redefines nonprofit governance. It provides a powerful framework for a new covenant between trustees and executives: more macrogovernance in exchange for less micromanagement. Informed by theories that have transformed the practice of organizational leadership, this book sheds new light on the traditional fiduciary and strategic work of the board and introduces a critical third dimension of effective trusteeship: generative governance. It serves boards as both a resource of fresh approaches to familiar territory and a lucid guide to important new territory, and provides a road map that leads nonprofit trustees and executives to governance as leadership. Governance as Leadership was developed in collaboration with BoardSource, the premier resource for practical information, tools and best practices, training, and leadership development for board members of nonprofit organizations. Through its highly acclaimed programs and services, BoardSource enables organizations to fulfill their missions by helping build effective nonprofit boards and offering credible support in solving tough problems. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit Leadership Gap Widens

According to the Bridgespan Group report, “Finding Leaders for America’s Nonprofits Despite tightening budgets, nonprofits foresee a need to fill 24,000 vacant or new roles in 2009.” Over 400 U.S. leaders of nonprofits with $1 million or more in revenues were interviewed for the report. Many of those surveyed cited a need to fill roles such as finance and fundraising amid increasing management complexity and baby boomer retirements, yet they foresee challenges in finding candidates who are both qualified for the roles and who are cultural fits with their organizations. Other key findings include:

• Respondents reported that actual senior job openings in 2008 were running at 77,000, or 43 percent above the leadership gap previously forecast in Bridgespan’s 2006 study, “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit”.
• Twenty-one percent of those hired between June 2007 and December 2008 were “bridgers”—people transitioning into the nonprofit sector for the first time. Only 15 percent went in the reverse direction, indicating a net gain for non-profit organizations relative to their for-profit counterparts.
• Twenty-five percent of nonprofit leadership vacancies in the past 18 months were filled through career progression, 41 percent through in-sector hiring.

To download the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Web.Dots

Web.Dots is a technology resource guide designed to provide nonprofit organizations with links to online information on a broad range of topics. These resources have been identified through the Nonprofit Management Fund's ongoing research efforts towards advancing nonprofit technology. This guide is a categorized compilation of Web sites that will assist a nonprofit organization's efforts to improve effectiveness through technology. Web.Dots is maintained by ENTECH. ENTECH provides technology consulting and direct service to nonprofit organizations in Southeast Wisconsin. ENTECH has no vested interest in any particular technology, product or approach, and looks at your needs from a genuinely independent perspective. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Remove Recent Documents List in Word 2007

• Click the Office button
• Click the Word Options button
• Click Advanced in the left pane of the Word Options dialog box
• Scroll down to the Display section and change “Show this number of Recent Documents” to 0