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.

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