Sunday, June 20, 2010

Picks of the Week: June 20 - July 10, 2010

Website of the Week – Web Site Provides Information on Federal Funds for Nonprofit Groups

A new feature of a Web site devoted to tracking government subsidies allows the public to search a database for detailed information about federal grants to -- and contracts with -- nonprofit organizations. The Web site, created by Subsidyscope, also provides information and analysis on federal loans and tax expenditures. Subsidyscope, a project of Pew Charitable Trusts and the Sunlight Foundation, says it aims to make government subsidies more transparent to the public and policymakers. By aggregating information across sectors of the economy, Subsidyscope hopes to inform the debate over the creation of new subsidies and the efficacy of existing ones in a nonpartisan manner, according to the project. The federal government gave $38-billion in grants to nonprofit organizations in 2008 and provided groups with $10-billion through "non-competed" contracts, according to Subsidyscope. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

From the publisher: The most trusted resource on becoming a leader is now updated and revised for a new generation. This leadership classic continues to be a bestseller after three editions and twenty years in print. It is the gold standard for research-based leadership, and the premier resource on becoming a leader. This new edition, with streamlined text, more international and business examples, and a graphic redesign, is more readable and accessible than ever before. The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition, has been extensively updated with the latest research and case studies, and offers inspiring new stories of real people achieving extraordinary results. The authors' central theme remains the same and is more relevant today than ever: "Leadership is Everyone s Business." Their "five practices" and "ten commitments" have been proven by hundreds of thousands of dedicated, successful leaders. This edition, with almost one-third new material, emphasizes the global community and refocuses on business leaders. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Volunteerism Increases at Highest Rate in 6 Years

The number of Americans who volunteer grew last year at the fastest rate in six years, according to a new report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This challenges the popular notion that hard economic times suppress civic participation. The report says that 63.4 million adult Americans—nearly 27 percent of the population—volunteered to help charitable causes last year. That’s an increase from 2008 of roughly 1.6 million volunteers, the largest single-year jump since 2003. In total, 2009’s volunteers donated about 8.1 billion hours of service, valued at nearly $169-billion, says the report, which is based on annual and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Key findings include:

• An increase in volunteer rates among women ages 45 to 54 and among married women helped fuel the rise in volunteer numbers. Among black women, volunteer rates rose nearly two percentage points, to 22.8 percent.
• The organizations at which Americans chose to volunteer stayed fairly consistent between 2008 and 2009. As before, the largest percentage of Americans—more than one-third—volunteered at churches or with other religious groups. But the economic downturn may have stirred more people to donate their time to social-service organizations, which counted 8.8 million volunteers last year, up from 8.4 million in 2008.
• There appear to be links between the economy and the varying rates of volunteering across the country. Among large metropolitan areas, for example, four of the five cities with the highest foreclosure rates last year—Las Vegas; Riverside, Cal.; Miami; and Orlando, Fla.—ranked in the bottom ten in volunteer rates among large cities. And, the report found, states with higher rates of unemployment—such as Michigan and Nevada—had lower rates of volunteering.
• Even as the hardships of unemployment spread throughout the country, a slightly bigger share of jobless people donated their time last year than in 2008—22.9 percent, up from 22.3 percent, representing 1.3 million additional volunteers. What’s more, jobless men showed a larger increase in their volunteer rate (17 percent to 18.2 percent ) than men who were employed (25.4 percent to 25.8 percent).
• The most common volunteer activity was fund raising, with nearly 27 percent donating their time to raise money for charitable causes. Almost 24 percent of Americans collected and distributed food.
• The report also found that a growing number of Americans -- 20.7 million, up from 19.9 million in 2008 -- are volunteering in less-formal ways, such as by helping neighbors solve a problem.

To access the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Video: Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

Here is an excellent resource from BoardSource: Video: Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards. These 11 videos will help board members, chief executives, and senior staff understand the fundamental elements of service common to most boards, including board member responsibilities, how to structure the board in the most efficient manner, and how to accomplish governance work in the spirit and mission of the organization. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Keep a file on the Office 2007 Recent Documents List

An excellent new feature in Office 2007 which works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, is the ability to keep or “pin” a file in the Recent Documents list, here’s how:

• Click the Microsoft Office button in the upper left corner of the screen
• Click the pin icon beside the document you want to keep on the list
• The pin button changes to a push pin viewed from the top

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