Monday, August 17, 2009

Picks of the Week: August 16 - 22, 2009

Website of the Week -- Venture Philanthropy Partners

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) is a philanthropic investment organization that helps leaders build strong, high-performing nonprofit institutions. VPP concentrates money, expertise, and personal contacts to improve the lives of children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region and cultivate an engaged donor community to generate funding and influence in support of these institutions and of social change. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want: The Nine Little Things That Matter Most by June J. Bradham

From the publisher: The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want is a must read for every executive and fundraiser who wonders how to attract and retain passionate and generous board members. Find out what really makes nonprofit board members tick with the candid, groundbreaking interviews found in The Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want. Here, fundraising veteran and author June Bradham shares her expertise, insights, and research to uncover the truth: giving or raising money is the last motivator for seasoned board members to join a board. Their motivation is surprisingly simpler. Interviewing elite board members from around the world, Bradham's qualitative data overwhelmingly proves that board members want an experience that is infused with work that is poignant, thought-provoking, and actionable. By sharing their stories, these successful board members dispel many commonly held myths regarding nonprofit boards to reveal the Nine Truths of the Board Experience. Among them:

• Current board makeup is the biggest motivator for a top-flight candidate to consider board service
• Engaged boards have an inspired CEO who forms a partnership with board members and demonstrates a passion for the mission while keeping the ego in check
• Board giving follows a great board experience

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Volunteering in America Remains Strong

A new report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that even during a time of prolonged economic recession, volunteering has remained steady, fueled by a compassion boom led by young adults and a wave of do-it-yourself volunteers working with their neighbors to fix problems. Volunteering in America 2009, the most comprehensive data ever assembled on volunteer trends and demographics, found that a total of 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008, up one million from the previous year. America's volunteers dedicated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2008, worth an estimated $162 billion. While the formal volunteering rate in America remained relatively stable at 26.4 percent, other less-formal ways of serving in communities have dramatically increased. The number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem rose by 31 percent, from 15.2 million in 2007 to 19.9 million in 2008, suggesting an emerging trend of self-organized 'do-it-yourself' service, a trend the Obama Administration is working to encourage through its United We Serve initiative and website. For a summary of key findings, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Just Enough Planning Guide™

Developed by Spitfire Strategies, and the Communications Leadership Institute, with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Just Enough Planning Guide™ was developed to help those looking to create winning policy campaigns, issue campaigns, corporate campaigns or public education campaigns. Based on findings from a comprehensive search to find the perfect approach to campaign planning, this unique tool provides organizations and coalitions with just enough of a process for planning successful campaigns. The Interactive Just Enough Planning Guide™ provides users with an online, interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the tool, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time — and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed plan that links your organization's objectives to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful campaign. To download a copy of the guide, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Selecting a Range in Excel

In Excel, a range is a group of connected cells. When working in Excel you often need to select a range. Here is a simple trick for quickly selecting a range:

• Click anywhere within the range
• Press Ctrl + Shift + *

The range is selected. This trick works in all versions of Excel.

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