Monday, February 22, 2010

Picks of the Week: February 21- 27, 2010

Website of the Week – Centre for Social Innovation

The Centre co-locates a diverse set of organizations and individuals who work for social innovation. Founded in 2004, the Centre provides physical desk space, virtual resources, and social opportunities to nurture collaboration, community, and innovation. Shared services include: office space, meeting rooms, internet and phone services, reception services, cross organizational marketing and electronic newsletter, office equipment, optional health and dental insurance, collaborative programs, and even shared bicycles. The Centre sets pricing for shared spaces and services to cover the operating expenses. This matches the Centre’s mission to be financially self-sustaining. Members of the Centre also sign a Cooperation Policy, pledging to actively support the community and maintain a culture of collaboration. This commitment is evidenced by numerous inter-organizational programs and a highly diverse calendar of public events that take place at the Centre each month. According to the Nonprofit Centers, Inc. key lessons learned from the experience of the Centre for Social Innovation include:

• Create multiple shared spaces offerings to suit participants’ needs.
• Create cost structures that are equitable and also strengthen the community of participating organizations.
• Encourage a general commitment of participating organizations, beyond a rental agreement, that supports the mission of the shared service and its community.

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good by Stephen Goldsmith, Gigi Georges and Tim Glynn Burke

From the publisher: Civic leaders across the U.S. and throughout the world are discovering creative ways to overcome the obstacles that seal the doors of opportunity for too many. These inspiring individuals believe that within our communities lie the entrepreneurial spirit, compassion, and resources to make progress in such critical areas as education, housing, and economic self-reliance. The Power of Social Innovation offers public officials, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and individual citizens the insights and skills to create healthier communities and promote innovative solutions to public and social problems. This seminal work is based on Stephen Goldsmith's decades of experience, extensive ongoing research, and interviews with 100+ top leaders from a wide variety of sectors. Goldsmith shows that everyday citizens can themselves produce extraordinary social change. The Power of Social Innovation features illustrative case studies of change-oriented philanthropists, public officials, and civic leaders. While all collaborate across sectors, they run both start-ups and established organizations such as the New York City public schools, United Way of America, the United Negro College Fund, and Teach For America. The book shows the catalyzing role each plays in transforming a community's social service delivery systems. To complement the book's myriad tools and case studies, The Power of Social Innovation web site ( provides links to relevant Harvard research as well as additional helpful resources. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Gender Mix in the Nonprofit Sector

Conducted from January 2007 to June 2009, the Labor Force Study provides an evidence-based understanding of the nonprofit sector and its HR needs. According to the study, the nonprofit sector’s labor force is predominantly female: three-quarters (75%) of those working in the sector are women. In most areas of the sector, however, men occupy a disproportionate number of senior management positions, while women are overrepresented in administrative and support-staff positions. A notable exception to this trend is the Health and Social Services sector, where women are better represented in senior positions. The study also found that there are notable age discrepancies between men and women working in the nonprofit sector. Women who work for nonprofit organizations are on average nearly five years younger than men working in the sector (42.3 is the average age for women, 46.9 for men). Women outnumber men in all the 44-and-under age cohorts while men outnumber women in all the 45-and-over cohorts. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – Diversity Planning Best Practices

According to California Diversity Magazine, diversity and inclusion strategies can readily produce dynamic results, yet they are often rendered ineffective for two key reasons: they rank low among organizational priorities and they fail to align with the organization’s operations. It’s critical to build upon each of these determinants for success when designing a diversity and inclusion strategy. There are six best practices that need to be incorporated into your organization’s diversity plans. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Excel AutoFill with Week Days

Hopefully you are already familiar with the Excel AutoFill feature for filling ranges with the months or days of the week. But what if you need to fill an Excel range with just weekdays? Here’s how:

• Enter the starting day into a cell
• Place the pointer over the lower right corner of the cell until you see the copy/fill handle (a thin black plus)
• Right click the handle and drag to select the range you want to fill with weekdays
• When you let up on the mouse button a menu will appear
• Select Fill Weekdays

This tip works in Excel 2007 as well as earlier versions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picks of the Week: February 14 - 20, 2010

Website of the Week – BEST Project

BEST (Building Excellence, Sustainability and Trust) is a comprehensive, capacity building program in Flint and Genesee County Michigan. The BEST Project is an initiative of the Flint Funders Collaborative (FFC). FFC members include the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, the Ruth Mott Foundation and the United Way of Genesee County. BEST brings together regional funders, consultants, technical assistance providers, and nonprofit agencies to achieve a more viable, sustainable and effective nonprofit community. The Case Studies and Resource links will be of interest to many nonprofits. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities

From the publisher: In this groundbreaking book, Tom Wolff spells out six proven principles for creating collaborative solutions for healthy communities. The Power of Collaborative Solutions addresses contemporary social problems by helping people of diverse circumstances and backgrounds work together to solve community challenges. Filled with clear principles, illustrative stories, and practical tools, this book shows how to make lasting change really happen. Tom Wolff, Ph.D., is a community psychologist and expert committed to issues of social justice and building healthy communities through collaborative solutions. He is the founder of Tom Wolff & Associates and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Wolff is a nationally recognized consultant on coalition building and community development, and he has a lifetime of experience training and consulting with individuals, organizations, and communities across North America and internationally. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Nine of Ten Small Business Owners Say They Give to Local Non-Profits

Small business owners are active in their communities and generous with charitable contributions, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. Almost nine of every ten small business owners responding to the recent national survey say they give money to non-profits in their communities and almost six of every ten say they contribute their time. The survey also found that four of every ten small business owners say they’re more likely to become even more involved in their communities in the coming year. More than half say a crisis or natural disaster would increase their level of community involvement. Eight of every ten small business owners surveyed say they believe their community efforts, whether money or time, benefit the communities they serve more than their own business. More than half say they participate in community outreach because they personally enjoy the activity and another 43 percent because “it’s the right thing to do.” Only six percent do so because of potential business benefits. Go to:

Resource of the Week -- HBR IdeaCast™

The HBR IdeaCast™ is a free weekly podcast featuring breakthrough management ideas and commentary from the editors and authors of Harvard Business School Publishing. To access this free service, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Long Text Entries in Excel 2007

To break a long text entry into separate lines, position the insertion point in the cell entry or on the Formula bar where you want the new line to start and press Alt + Enter. Excel expands the row containing the cell when it starts a new line. Excel automatically wraps the text in the cell when you press Enter to complete the entry, according to the cell's column width and the position of the line break.
Here is another method for dealing with long text entries in Excel 2007:

• Select the cell containing the long text entry
• Click the Home tab on the Ribbon
• In the Alignment group, click the Wrap Text button

Or you can right click the text entry and:

• Select Format Cells from the shortcut menu
• Click the Alignment tab
• Click to select the Wrap text option

Monday, February 8, 2010

Picks of the Week: February 7 - 13, 2010

Website of the Week -- Public Agenda

For over 30 years, Public Agenda has been providing unbiased and unparalleled research that bridges the gap between American leaders and what the public really thinks about issues ranging from education to foreign policy to immigration to religion and civility in American life. Nonpartisan and nonprofit, Public Agenda was founded by social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in 1975. Public Agenda's two-fold mission is to help American leaders better understand the public's point of view and enable citizens know more about critical policy issues so they can make thoughtful, informed decisions. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Managers and Leaders: Developing People to Achieve Your Mission by Judith Wilson and Michelle Gislason

From the publisher: The only nonprofit orientation to coaching skills available, Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Leaders will provide nonprofit managers with an understanding of why and how to coach, how to initiate coaching in specific situations, how to make coaching really work, and how to refine coaching for long-term success. Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Leaders offers practical steps for coaching leaders to greatness and complements the academic and theoretical work in nonprofit leadership theory. The book can be used by the coaching novice as a thorough topical overview or by those more experienced with coaching as a quick reference or refresher. Based on the Inquiry Based Coaching? approach, Coaching Skills will strengthen and expand the reader?s ability to drive organization mission, while retaining the intrinsic values of the nonprofit culture and working towards outcomes that create a culture of discipline and accountability and empower others to be even more responsible, accountable, and self-motivated. This book uses accessible language, examples, case studies, key questions, and exercises to help:

• Promote better relationships
• Know when to delegate, direct and coach.
• Balance directive and supportive styles of leadership for productive partnerships
• Overcome fears and deal head-on with difficult situations and conflict.
• Use coaching for performance improvement and on-the-job development.
• Support independent thinking and personal reflection
• Gain commitment and accountability from others and build teams

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Teen Use of Social Media

Everybody goes online, everybody has a cell phone, and kids hate blogging and Twitter, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. The findings show that the Internet isn't just prevalent in our lives, it is our lives. Ninety-three percent of teens ages 12 to 17 go online, 75% of them own a cell phone, and 66% say they text. In fact, 58% of 12-year-olds now have mobiles, compared to 18% just five years ago. Sixty-two percent use the Internet to access information on news and politics, and some teens are even using the Internet as a guardian: 17% say they go online to research information about drug use, sexual health, and other topics that are awkward to talk about with real people. For more findings from the study, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Virtual CAP

Virtual CAP provides an in-depth look at innovative programs and projects developed by Community Action Agencies around the United States. Programs can be researched by state, category or keyword. Each contains a summary description, as well as useful links to download materials and to related websites. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Add a Watermark to a Word 2007 Document

Watermarks are text or pictures that appear behind the text. They can add interest or identify the document's status, marking a document as a draft, for example. You can use graphics or text as watermarks.

• Open a new, blank document, or open an existing document.
• Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon
• In the Page Background group, click Watermark
• Click a design in the gallery or create a custom watermark
• Select the Picture, if you are creating a Picture watermark
• Enter the Text, if you are creating a Text watermark
• Use Print Layout view to view a watermark as it will print

The watermark displays on the background of each page.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Picks of the Week: January 31 - February 6, 2010

Website of the Week -- Center for Nonprofit Management

As one of the nation's leading management support organizations, the Center for Nonprofit Management brings the most current tools for best practices in nonprofit management to thousands of nonprofit boards, staff and volunteers each year. The mission of the Center for Nonprofit Management is to build stronger communities by increasing the performance and impact of nonprofit organizations. In the late 1970's, the Meadows Foundation in Dallas recognized a significant need for staff development and management assistance to charitable organizations. In 1980, with the support of other local funders, Meadows provided the seed funding to establish the Center for Nonprofit Management. Today, the Center receives support from donations, grants, fees for services and annual membership dues at a minimal cost and is a United Way affiliate. Go to:

Publication of the Week – Consensus Through Conversation: How to Achieve High-Commitment Decisions by Larry Dressler

From the publisher: Consensus is fast becoming one of business' most popular-but most widely mis-understood decision-making models. By involving people in the decisions that impact their work, companies develop a passionate team of workers, one that is committed to a future they've helped shape. This useful guide leads managers, consultants, and facilitators through the consensus-building process. It shows how to avoid common pitfalls like false agreement and the "illusion of inclusion." For anyone charged with getting groups to fruitful resolution on important issues, Consensus Through Conversation offers an invaluable reference. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – 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. The study examined characteristics of and factors influencing a donor household’s single largest gift. Donors who were asked to give in person by someone they knew donated 19 percent more ($987) to secular (non-religious) charities, when compared with telephone, mail or email requests from someone they knew ($799). For religious organizations, when the donor was asked in person by someone he or she knew, the average donation was 42 percent higher ($2,904) than when someone the donor knew made the request using a different tactic ($1,698). To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Independent Fundraising Event Guide

Blackbaud and Event 360 have released a new white paper based on a joint research project to better understand the common denominators of a successful programmatic approach to third-party fundraising. Independent fundraising events (IFE) are activities designed and run by volunteers to raise money on behalf of a specific nonprofit organization. You can download a copy of "Raising More Money Online with Independent Fundraising Events" at

Tech Tip of the Week -- Cleaning your Data in Excel

If you have copied or imported data into your Excel workbook, you may need to clean it up. An article from Microsoft entitled Top ten ways to clean your data covers features that will help you accomplish this. The basics of cleaning your data include:

• Removing duplicate rows
• Finding and replacing text
• Changing the case of text
• Removing spaces and nonprinting characters from text
• Fixing numbers and number signs
• Fixing dates and times
• Merging and splitting columns
• Transforming and rearranging columns and rows
• Reconciling table data by joining or matching