Monday, October 26, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 25 - 31, 2009

Website of the Week -- The Meyer Foundation

The Meyer Foundation supports capable, community-based organizations that foster the well-being of all people in the Capital Region with a focus on low-income people and creating healthy neighborhoods. The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations that serve the people and communities of Greater Washington. The Foundation supports visionary and talented nonprofit leaders, seeks to strengthen the management and infrastructure of nonprofits in the region and works to build partnerships to foster the nonprofit sector’s work. All nonprofits, regardless of geographic location will find a wealth of useful resources by clicking on “Resources for Nonprofits” link. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Mission-Based Management: Leading Your Not-for-Profit in the 21st Century by Peter C. Brinckerhoff

From the publisher: As a nonprofit manager, you have to be more effective and more efficient than ever to win funding and support to ensure your organization pursues its mission, meets community needs, and maintains its budget, while juggling the demands of funders, clientele, boards, staff, and community. Written by a nationally recognized expert who has trained thousands of nonprofit managers in hundreds of seminars on the best practices in nonprofit management, this Third Edition of Mission-Based Management provides comprehensive, hands-on guidance, addressing:

· The unique concerns of today's managers in nonprofit organizations
· A refreshed set of priorities for the mission-based manager
· Revised characteristics of a successful mission-based organization
· Updated predictions for the next ten years
· A new chapter on ethics, accountability, and transparency addressing organizational transparency, the effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, new technologies, technology planning, and disaster planning
· Updated discussion questions at the end of each chapter, allowing you to generate better conversations with your staff and board about which parts of the book most apply to your organization's unique needs

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Business Valuing Employee Volunteer Programs

According to a new research study “Motivating Volunteering in Tough Times” from LBG Associates and LBG Research Institute, during these challenging economic times, companies are looking to employee volunteering to help enhance their images as good corporate citizens—-and in many cases, replace declining contributions. This growing importance of employee volunteering, combined with the accepted business case in support of it, makes getting these programs “right” a business imperative. But when it comes to motivating volunteering, what resonated with employees in 2007, or even last year, will not necessarily work today. The downturn has wrought serious changes in business, and it has taken a toll on employee trust and morale. Anxious, cynical, or depressed employees need much more support, reassurance, and information than they did in the past in order to feel comfortable participating in company sponsored volunteering efforts. And companies need more feedback from employees about what matters most to them when they volunteer. LBG's new research report is unique in that it includes both the voice of the employee volunteer manager AND the employee. By comparing research from both groups, this study provides a much-needed and robust view of today's volunteering landscape There is only one solution to this dilemma: better and more frequent communication. To download an executive summary of the study, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Advocacy Funding: The Philanthropy of Changing Minds

Grant makers tend to be cautious about funding advocacy, and for good reason — yet advocacy can play a crucial role in advancing a foundation’s mission. In this Grantcraft guide, contributors explain that advocacy includes a lot of opportunities to improve public policy through work that is well within the limits of the law. Whether your purpose is to advance an idea, argue a position, or enrich the policy debate, the guide offers resources and strategies for planning your work, reaching your audience, assessing impact, and more. 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 on the Ribbon
· 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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 18 - 24, 2009

Website of the Week -- Causecast

Causecast, dubbed "a one stop philanthropy shop" by TechCrunch, is a platform where media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment and education converge to serve a greater purpose. According to Causecast, “People want to do good, want to be inspired, and want to inspire others to join them in giving back. Causecast makes this easy by providing users with means to CONNECT with people, leaders, charities, nonprofit organizations, and brands that inspire them.” Causecast combines media with causes to bring attention and donations to non-profit organizations. They raise money through partnerships as well as produce content such as podcasts that highlight the needs and goals of the organizations they work with. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient, and Rewarding for All by Robert Egger

From the publisher: In Begging for Change, Robert Egger looks back on his experience and exposes the startling lack of logic, waste, and ineffectiveness he has encountered during his years in the nonprofit sector, and calls for reform of this $800 billion industry from the inside out. In his entertaining and inimitable way, he weaves stories from his days in music, when he encountered legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, and Iggy Pop, together with stories from his experiences in the hunger movement -- and more recently as volunteer interim director to help clean up the beleaguered United Way National Capital Area. He asks for nonprofits to be more innovative and results-driven, for corporate and nonprofit leaders to be more focused and responsible, and for citizens who contribute their time and money to be smarter and more demanding of nonprofits and what they provide in return. Robert's appeal to common sense will resonate with readers who are tired of hearing the same nonprofit fund-raising appeals and pity-based messages. Instead of asking the "who" and "what" of giving, he leads the way in asking the "how" and "why" in order to move beyond our 19th-century concept of charity, and usher in a 21st-century model of change and reform for nonprofits. Enlightening and provocative, engaging and moving, this book is essential reading for nonprofit managers, corporate leaders, and, most of all, any citizen who has ever cared enough to give of themselves to a worthy cause. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Charitable Donors Give More When Asked Personally

Donors to charitable organizations give more when they are asked in person and when someone they know makes the request, a new study commissioned by Chicago-based consulting firm Campbell & Company and conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds. The study, Significant Gifts: Where Donors Direct Their Largest Gifts and Why, which is based on a national sample of more than 8,300 donors, confirms what nonprofit organization fundraisers have often observed: people give to people, and especially to people they know. Among other findings from the study:

• The average largest gift amount for donor households was $1,098. Among all donors, 43 percent directed their largest contributions to religious organizations, and 57 percent to secular charities.
• Although a lower number of gifts went to religious organizations, a greater share of the total dollars from donors’ largest gifts (79 percent) went to religious organizations, which includes donations to congregations for relief work and other community programs.
• For higher-income households (income of $150,000 or more), the average largest gift of $2,486 was more than twice the overall average. Among these higher-income donors, a greater share of the number of the largest gifts and of the dollar amount of these gifts went to educational, health, and arts and cultural organizations than was the case in the general population.
• Members of the general population were more likely to select providing for the basic needs of the very poor as their main motivation for giving than any other reason. Among higher-income households (those with incomes of $150,000 or more), the most common motivation was the belief that those with more should help those with less.

To download a free copy of the study, go to: You will need to make a request for the free download.

Resource of the Week -- Checklist for Accountability

Independent Sector has developed a set of excellent tools to assess your nonprofit’s accountability and transparency IQ and then use the results of the assessment to strengthen your organization in these critical areas. The Checklist for Accountability combines recommendations made by Independent Sector and the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector. It was developed with the additional input of the Ethics and Accountability Committee and Communications and Marketing Advisory Task Force. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Add Color to Worksheet Tabs in Excel 2007

It can be useful to color code the tabs of Excel worksheets:

• Select the tab of the sheet you want to re-color (to select more than one tab hold down the CTRL key and click each tab)
• Right click and select Tab Color from the shortcut menu
• Select color and click OK

This tip also works in previous versions of Excel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 11 - 17, 2009

Website of the Week -- Energize, Inc.

Energize, Inc. is an international training, consulting and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism. Founded in 1977, Energize has assisted organizations of all types with their volunteer efforts--whether they are health and human service organizations, cultural arts groups, professional associations, or schools. Energize, Inc has just launched their redesigned Website. All the volunteer management resources, advice, and help it has always provided are now easier to find. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders by Patricia St. Onge, Beth Applegate, Vicki Asakura, and Monika K. Moss

From the publisher: No “how-to” manual exists on cultural competency. And, compared to other topics in nonprofit management, little exists on the skills and strategies needed to address racism and inequity. Building cultural competency is an ongoing journey that nonprofit leaders choose to take because they know the end result will be a more inclusive, connected, and effective organization. Patricia St. Onge and her contributing authors help readers grapple with the urgent issues that can transform capacity builders into change agents in the nonprofit sector. Embracing Cultural Competency starts the dialogue on how organizations can start building capacity. Nonprofit capacity builders will:

• Discover a framework to help discuss issues related to cultural competency
• Learn about methods, practices, and values that define cultural competency and cu culturally based work in nonprofit capacity building
• Understand the complexities within ethnic communities
• Gain insights into the nature of institutionalized racism

Through a range of methods—literature review, personal interviews, peer dialogue, insights of contributing authors—readers get a mosaic of perspectives that surround cultural competency. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit Employment Trends

The 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey is a national survey of nonprofit employment practices. This survey has been produced annually by Nonprofit HR Solutions since 2007. In January 2009, Nonprofit HR Solutions invited over 3,000 nonprofit organizations from across the country to participate in a survey of employment trends within the sector. The survey focuses on four key areas: staff size and projected growth, recruitment strategies and budgeting, staffing challenges, and staffing resource management. In many cases, responses to the 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey mirrored the current state of the economy and the state employment climate across all industries. Nonprofit organizations, like nearly every other employer type, anticipate less hiring and more downsizing in 2009. Appropriate resource allocation for staffing and human resources lags when compared against its proportion in most organizational budgets. With the exception of questions regarding adding and eliminating positions, most responses remained relatively consistent from 2008 to 2009. Among the key findings, some 58.4% of respondents indicated that they anticipate no change in staff size in 2009 compared to 2008. Comparatively, 49.7% of respondents to the 2008 survey had anticipated no change in staff size compared with 2007. Compared to 2008, in 2009, there was an 8.7% drop in the anticipation of hiring new staff. To download the executive summary of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Social Media Resources for Your Nonprofit Job Search

Nonprofits are increasingly incorporating social networking tools-such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter-into their marketing, fundraising, advocacy, and recruiting efforts. To learn more about the role that social networking can and should play in a professional's search for a nonprofit management position, Bridgespan talked with Beth Kanter, the author of Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media. She explains how to get the most out of social networking during your job search-even if you're a new-media novice. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change Default Paste Setting in Word 2007

Did you know you can change the default paste option in Word 2007? If you constantly find yourself choosing Paste Special and then Unformatted Text to avoid copying the format when copying text from another source, here’s a time saving solution:

• Click the Office Button
• Click the Word Options button at the bottom of the menu
• Click Advanced in the left pane
• Click the drop-down arrow next to the Cut, Copy and Paste options
• Choose Match Destination Formatting
• Click OK when finished to keep your changes

Monday, October 5, 2009

Picks of the Week: October 4-10, 2009

Website of the Week -- FrameWorks Institute

The mission of the FrameWorks Institute is to advance the nonprofit sector's communications capacity by identifying, translating and modeling relevant scholarly research for framing the public discourse about social problems. FrameWorks designs, commissions, manages and publishes communications research to prepare nonprofit organizations to expand their constituency base, to build public will, and to further public understanding of specific social issues. In addition to working closely with social policy experts familiar with the specific issue, its work is informed by a team of communications scholars and practitioners who are convened to discuss the research problem, and to work together in outlining potential strategies for advancing remedial policies. FrameWorks also critiques, designs, conducts and evaluates communications campaigns on social issues. Its work is based on an approach called "strategic frame analysis," which has been developed in partnership with UCLA's Center for Communications and Community. Go to:

Publication of the Week 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don't by Center for Association Leadership

From the publisher: A historic study focused on getting to the heart of what makes a remarkable nonprofit organization, 7 Measures of Success contains knowledge that will assist association executives in planning the future of their organizations. Based on 15 years of data and original, objective research tailored to the association community's needs 7 Measures of Success provides empirical data and seven success factors common among visionary nonprofits. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- The Role of Women's Funds

Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women's Funds, a report by the Foundation Center and the Women's Funding Network, examines giving patterns and trends among larger private and community foundations and the distinctive contributions of women's funds to philanthropy. The report finds that foundation giving targeted to benefit women and girls climbed 223 percent between 1990 and 2006 (after adjusting for inflation), compared to an overall giving increase of 177 percent. Other key findings of the study include:

• The nation's private and community foundations increased their giving for activities targeting women and girls from an estimated $412.1 million in 1990 to nearly $2.1 billion in 2006.
• The over 145 member funds of the Women's Funding Network provide an estimated $60 million a year in grants and leverage millions more through their wider relationships and connections.
• Women's funds take a comprehensive approach to social change, focusing their giving on human rights, health, and economic empowerment.
• In contrast, foundation giving for women and girls is primarily focused on health. Close to half of grant dollars targeted to women and girls support health-related activities.
• Women's funds are guided by the principle that women catalyze and lead the way to change in neighborhoods and communities; 98 percent of the women's funds surveyed indicated that achieving social change was a high priority for their fund.

To download a summary of report highlights, to go:

Resource of the Week -- The Smart Chart

The Interactive Smart Chart is based on the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 – a planning tool that helps nonprofits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. This online version of the Smart Chart offers an interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, 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 Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Cheat Sheets for Office 2007

An excellent resource for learning Office 2007 is a set of Cheat Sheets published by ComputerWorld.

Whether you’re just making the switch to 2007 or a seasoned user, you’re certain to find many useful tips and tricks.

Word 2007 Cheat Sheet

Excel 2007 Cheat Sheet

PowerPoint 2007 Cheat Sheet