Monday, September 28, 2009

Picks of the Week: September 27 - October 3, 2009

Website of the Week – Future Lab

FutureLab, an initiative of Independent Sector, is an online forum where members of the nonprofit and philanthropic community can help envision a more dynamic and powerful future. The goal is to generate, share, and develop ideas that have the potential to strengthen the sector at large and increase individual and collective impact. FutureLab is a place to leverage the nonprofit sector’s collective intelligence and mobilize its best energies towards a brighter future. You can participate by joining the conversation and share and get feedback on your ideas and contribute to the sector’s collective thinking. The information will be used in the following way: This conversation can be useful to all organizations -- leaders across the sector can provide and find insights that can inform planning and decision making within all types of organizations. It is hoped that the ideas generated through FutureLab will present new opportunities and inspiration for future work. Current discussion threads include: Civic engagement, diversity, global engagement, impact, integration with religious groups, leadership, responsibilities of government and nonprofits, technology, responsibilities of government and nonprofits, and the 21st century economy. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block

From the publisher: Modern society is plagued by fragmentation. The various sectors of our communities--businesses, schools, social service organizations, churches, government--do not work together. They exist in their own worlds. As do so many individual citizens, who long for connection but end up marginalized, their gifts overlooked, their potential contributions lost. This disconnection and detachment makes it hard if not impossible to envision a common future and work towards it together. We know what healthy communities look like--there are many success stories out there, and they've been described in detail. What Block provides in this inspiring new book is an exploration of the exact way community can emerge from fragmentation: How is community built? How does the transformation occur? What fundamental shifts are involved? He explores a way of thinking about our places that creates an opening for authentic communities to exist and details what each of us can do to make that happen. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Corporate Support in the Recession

According to a new report by The Hitachi Foundation and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, the recession has not spelled the end for corporate citizenship, but it has forced corporations to rethink—both good and bad—their approach. The report findings reveal that large companies are responding to the recession much differently than small companies. For example, large companies significantly increased their investments and involvement in citizenship activities—but they were also more likely to lay people off. Small firms kept true to their emphasis on treating employees well by minimizing layoffs. But they significantly decreased attention to other aspects of citizenship, such as volunteering or philanthropy. And one of the most interesting findings relates directly to this country's ability to help low-income individuals participate in the coming economic recovery. Half of the businesses are supporting skill development for employees making less than $40,000 annually. These businesses report that they directly connect these efforts to boosting productivity. Other key findings include:

• Some 54 percent of U.S. senior executives believe corporate citizenship is even more important in a recession.
• Companies in 2009 increased internal and external communication about corporate citizenship, with 54 percent now communicating with employees about it and 39 percent talking with stakeholders.
• The top three areas of corporate citizenship rated most important continue to be: operating with ethical business practices; (91 percent), treating employees well (81percent) and managing and reporting company finances accurately (76 percent).
• Despite the tough economy, only 38 percent of companies said they reduced their philanthropy and giving. Support for employee volunteering also remained strong with 83 percent of large companies stating their companies support employee volunteering in the community.

To access the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- 30 Second MBA

The 30 Second MBA is a feature of Fast Company Magazine. A wide array of organizational and industry experts provide answers to questions in the form of 30 second video clips. Recent topics have included: What Is the Single Most Important Task for a Leader? What Do You Do When You Don't Know What to Do? How Do You Retain and Nurture Talent? What Did You Learn From Your Last Business "Near Death" Experience? How can teams make better decisions? And more. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Excel Status Bar Sums

• Select the cells you want to sum
• Check the Status Bar in the lower right

All versions will display a Sum. By default, in Excel 2007, the Count, Average and Sum will be displayed. But this default can be changed by right clicking on the Status Bar to display the Customize Status Bar menu.

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