Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 20, 2009 - January 2, 2010

Website of the Week -- The Center for Collaborative Planning

The Center for Collaborative Planning (CCP) promotes health and social justice by providing training and technical assistance and by connecting people and resources. CCP supports diverse communities in key areas, such as: Asset-based Community Development (ABCD), Leadership Development, Working Collaboratively, Community Assessment and Strategic Planning. The site contains an extensvice reource library organized into 13 categories. Go to: http://www.connectccp.org/index.shtml.

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Guide to Going Green by Ted Hart, Adrienne D. Capps and Matthew Bauer

A first of its kind, The Nonprofit Guide To Going Green is a practical and comprehensive learning tool dedicated to guiding nonprofits and NGOs towards becoming more green. The book is an outgrowth and companion to GreenNonprofits, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded to be an accessible source of information about greening the nonprofit workplace, and to be a desktop tool for any nonprofit to become green[er]. Dozens of expert authors from around the world have joined in this effort to provide accurate and helpful guidance for charities that want to become more green, support sustainable business practices and the environment. As people and corporations around the world become more green they in turn expect the nonprofits they support to also take proactive steps to protect the environment. GreenNonprofits, and the Nonprofit Guide To Going Green, will lead the way in helping nonprofits and NGOs around the world meet this challenge. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Five Trends That Will Reshape the Social Sector

The James Irvine Foundation commissioned La Piana Consulting to develop a monograph entitled Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector. The publication seeks to illuminate several key trends — and their interrelationship — which will be especially relevant to nonprofits as they look to the future. The Foundation’s intention in funding the development and publication of this thought piece is to spark discussion across the nonprofit sector and to have these ideas inform ongoing planning and strategy development, given a new economic reality. In identifying the key trends discussed in this document, La Piana Consulting drew upon months of conversations with clients and partners in the field, extensive literature reviews and in-depth interviews with thought leaders. In addition to describing key trends, the monograph identifies core competencies for those nonprofits that will be best equipped for the future. The five trends are:

• Demographic shifts redefine participation
• Technological advances abound
• Networks enable work to be organized in new ways
• Interest in civic engagement and volunteerism is rising
• Sector boundaries are blurring

To download a copy of the publication, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Troublemaker's Teaparty, A Manual for Effective Citizen Action

The Troublmaker's Teaparty is an updated and expanded version of The Citizen's Handbook. It contains all of The Handbook plus additional material on preventing grassroots wilt, strategic action, direct action and media advocacy. To download a copy, go to: http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Display Tabbed Documents in Access 2007

A new feature in Access 2007 is the option to use a tabbed interface. This allows you to open multiple objects (tables, forms, reports, or queries) at once. Each object is a separate tab so you can easily see the available objects and click on the one you want. To use this feature:

• Click the Office button in the left corner of the screen
• Click the Access Options button at the bottom of the window
• Select the Current Database in the left pane
• Under Document Window Options, select Tabbed Documents

Monday, December 14, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 13 - 19, 2009

Website of the Week -- IMPACT Arts

IMPACT Arts is a component of Animating Democracy’s Arts & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative which received initial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The initiative works to advance understanding of and help make the case for the social efficacy of arts-based civic engagement work. Animating Democracy is a program of Americans for the Arts. The website is organized around the following five areas:

• Get Grounded: Key concepts that relate to understanding types of social impact plus ways to get started in evaluating arts-based civic engagement work.
• Social Impact Indicators: Outcomes, indicators, and data collection methods for the most common social and civic outcomes aspired to and achieved through arts and cultural work.
• Evaluation in Action Tools: An annotated listing linked to selected evaluation tools and frameworks.
• Stories & Examples: Case studies, evaluation reports, and profiles that describe how real arts projects and programs have been evaluated and what they learned about impact.
• Theory: Papers, essays, and articles on topics related to documenting, measuring, and reporting impacts for civic engagement and social change through the arts.

Go to: http://impact.animatingdemocracy.org.

Publication of the Week -- The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington, Pamela Hartigan and Klaus Schwab

From the publisher: Through vivid stories, the authors identify the highly unconventional entrepreneurs who are solving some of the world's most pressing economic, social, and environmental problems. They also show how these pioneers are disrupting existing industries, value chains, and business models--and in the process creating fast-growing markets around the world. By understanding these entrepreneurs' mindsets and strategies, you gain vital insights into future market opportunities for your own organization. Providing a first-hand, on-the-ground look at a new breed of entrepreneur, this book reveals how apparently unreasonable innovators have built their enterprises, how their work will shape risks and opportunities in the coming years, and what tomorrow's leaders can learn from them. Start investing in, partnering with, and learning from these world-shaping change agents, and you position yourself to not only survive but also thrive in the new business landscape they're helping to define. Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week -- Trends In Public Participation In The Arts

American audiences for the arts are getting older, and their numbers are declining, according to new research released by the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey features top findings from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation's largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Five times since 1982, the survey has asked U.S. adults 18 and older about their patterns of arts participation over a 12-month period. The 2008 survey reveals dwindling audiences for many art forms, but it also captures new data on Internet use and other forms of arts participation. Although the 2008 recession likely affected survey responses, long-term trend analysis shows that other factors also may have contributed to lower arts participation rates. Key findings include:

• There are persistent patterns of decline in participation for most art forms. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults – or an estimated 78 million – attended an art museum or an arts performance in the 2008 survey period, compared with about 40 percent in 1982, 1992, and 2002.
• Aging audiences are a long-term trend. Performing arts attendees are increasingly older than the average U.S. adult (45). The aging of the baby boom generation does not appear to account for the overall increase in age.
• Educated Americans are participating less than before, and educated audiences are the most likely to attend or participate in the arts.
• The Internet and mass media are reaching substantial audiences for the arts.

To download a copy of the study, go to: http://www.arts.endow.gov.

Resource of the Week -- E-Advocacy for Nonprofits

More nonprofits are discovering the power of the Internet to promote their public policy agendas. This guide comprehensively addresses the laws governing Internet advocacy, from voter education websites to e-mail action alerts. E-Advocacy for Nonprofits answers many of the questions raised by activists about how the laws of nonprofit advocacy apply in cyberspace. It represents the best research and thinking available on how nonprofits can use the Internet for lobbying and electoral advocacy while staying within the law. Go to: http://www.afj.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change the Number of Default Sheets in an Excel 2007 Workbook

• Click the Office button on the Ribbon
• Click the Excel Options button
• On the Popular tab, under When creating new workbooks, enter the number of sheets you want after the Include this many sheets option

Monday, December 7, 2009

Picks of the Week: December 6 - 12, 2009

Website of the Week -- Demos

Demos is a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization founded in 2000. Headquartered in New York City, Demos works with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of four overarching goals: a more equitable economy with widely shared prosperity and opportunity; a vibrant and inclusive democracy with high levels of voting and civic engagement; an empowered public sector that works for the common good; and responsible U.S. engagement in an interdependent world. A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. Demos publishes books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; works at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; helps to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; projects the organization’s values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and hosts public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices. Go to: http://www.demos.org.

Publication of the Week -- Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion

From the publisher: Discover gender-specific tools and strategies Boom-Generation women can use to make philanthropic and charitable decisions. Answering women's questions of how and why to give from the heart, Women, Wealth & Giving helps you understand the models that work best for charitable giving and how these models fit into your legacy mission, whether you've earned, inherited or married into your wealth. Women, Wealth & Giving will help you understand what models work best for charitable giving, and how to fit those models into your plans, mission, and intended legacy-whether you earned, inherited or married into wealth. This useful planning guide also includes pertinent anecdotes, worksheets, quizzes, inspirational profiles, a resource guide, and much more:

• Identifies gender-specific tools and strategies Boom-Generation women can use to make philanthropic and charitable decisions
• Provides women the means to engage their hearts as well as their minds in giving money, time, and talent away in meaningful ways
• With over 43 million Boom-Generation Women at or nearing the age of retirement, the American population is reaching what has been described as the great wealth transfer, and with women outliving men, or choosing to live alone, the role of women in decisions concerning philanthropic dollars will be critical to the economic, political and moral fabric of our society. Get Women, Wealth & Giving and discover the transformative power of women's philanthropy.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week --Increased Reliance on Volunteers

According to the report The Status of Minnesota's Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment, 60% of organizations reported an increased reliance on volunteers. This survey of 280 nonprofit and governmental organizations was conducted in late September by the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). Other survey findings include:

• 86% reported changes at least one aspect of their volunteer program.
• 44% experienced increased numbers of inquires from potential new volunteers. A drop in inquiries was reported by 14%.
• 52% reported volunteers were more likely to have strong work skills and 54% said they were more likely to be unemployed.
• 67% expect to increase reliance on volunteers in the coming year.
• 86% of respondents reported organizational fiscal stress.
• Over 50% reported an increase in volunteer hours of service, but only 12% had an increased budget for the volunteer program, pointing to resourcefulness in doing more with less. Leaders of volunteers were clearly being proactive, but many also reported feelings of stress.
• 60% were able to place most of the potential volunteers, 3% needed to put most of the new volunteers on a waiting list or turned them away, and 39% reported a combination of placing new volunteers and putting them on a waiting list.
• 48% reported increased collaboration with outside partners.

The report also includes a listing of strategies used by nonprofits to respond to these changes. To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.mavanetwork.org.

Resource of the Week -- An Overview of the Nonprofit and Charitable Sector

This report by the Congressional Research Service explores a number of policy issues have direct or indirect consequences for the nonprofit and charitable sector, including the establishment of a social innovation initiative, changes in the tax treatment of charitable donations, responses to the economic downturn, and health care reform. The first section of this report provides a formal definition of the nonprofit and charitable sector. The next section reports on the size and scope of the charitable sector. Charitable organizations are estimated to employ more than 7% of the U.S. workforce, while the broader nonprofit sector is estimated to employ 10% of the U.S. workforce. The third section of this report examines how charities are funded. Finally, the report concludes by surveying what policy options are considered most important by charitable organizations themselves including (1) increasing government grants and subsidies to charitable organizations; (2) creating an oversight agency within the federal government to gather data, conduct research, and advocate for the charitable sector; (3) implementing policies designed to help charities and foundations in economic downturns; (4) changing the itemized deduction for charitable contributions by limiting, converting to a credit, or making the deduction more widely available; and (5) a variety of other tax issues. To download a copy of the report, go to: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40919.pdf.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Guides in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint you can use guides to position shapes and objects on slides. To display guides in PowerPoint 2007:

• Press Alt + F9
• To display additional guides, hold down the Control key and drag a guide