Monday, November 29, 2010

Picks of the Week: November 28 - December 4, 2010

Website of the Week – Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations
The Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations is located at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 1984, the Mandel Center offers the nation's most fully developed program in nonprofit management and was one of the first university-based programs in the country focused on the education of nonprofit leaders and managers. As an academic center that aims to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofit leaders and managers, the Mandel Center offers a variety of services for individuals and organizations who want to learn more about or be active members of the nonprofit sector. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire: A Roadmap to a Sustainable Culture of Ingenuity and Purpose by Braden Kelley

From the publisher: Every successful organization began as a nimble, innovative start-up with the ability to course-correct and quickly adapt to the needs of its customers. But along the way, success and growth may have caused changes in the structure, the culture, and sometimes even the vision of the business. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire equips your organization to identify and remove those barriers to innovation that have prevented it from achieving sustainable growth and change. Filled with case studies and proven guidance, this book evolves leading innovation theories into coherent, practical applications that you can implement in reinvigorating your own organization. In today's fast-paced marketplace, those unwilling to change are often left behind. With an interactive Web site including health checks and an innovation audit, as well as video and text interviews, Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire provides you with the tools you need to reframe your business's innovation strategy and goals and successfully supply the marketplace with revolutionary solutions to your customers' issues. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Giving Circle Trends

Donors in giving circles give more, give more strategically, and are more engaged in their communities, according to a report released by the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Giving circles have emerged over the last decade as a growing and significant philanthropic trend among donors of all wealth levels and backgrounds. Past studies have shown that the number of giving circles has exploded across the country and that they are an established philanthropic force. Giving circle members are more likely than other donors to give to organizations serving women and girls, ethnic and minority groups, and for arts, culture and ethnic awareness. They are less likely to give to federated or combined giving funds (such as the United Way) and to religious organizations. For a summary and full report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Board Leader Succession Planning Resource

While much has been written about executive leadership succession in nonprofits, there are not as many resources available to help with board succession planning. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has compiled some useful resources in the article “Succession Planning with Your Board”. There are links to a number of excellent worksheets and tools. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Customize the Ribbon in Office 2010

Office 2010 allows you to customize the Ribbon in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Here's how:

• Click the File tab on the Ribbon
• Click Options to display the Options dialog box
• Click Customize the Ribbon
• Select the command you want to add to the Ribbon
• Click the tab where you want the command added and click new group -- commands can only be added to custom groups (you can even create a new custom tab if you want to)
• Click Add
• Click OK when you are finished adding commands to the Ribbon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Picks of the Week: November 21 - 27, 2010

Website of the Week – NPTECH.INFO
NPTECH is a catch-all term for information related both to nonprofits and technology. The term originated as a tag at social networking sites like Delicious and Flickr that nonprofit technology professionals used to share and refer information, and it is still very much used that way today. But nptech now also refers to the broad, loose community of socially minded professionals who work with technology -- be it servers or social media -- at mission-minded organizations. NPTech.Info pulls information tagged with NPTECH from around the web into a one stop shop. You can click on the primary links to read popular blogs; find info tagged "nptech" from around the web (you can tag your blog entries, Flickr Photos, Delicious links, etc. nptech, too, to have the info show up here); and general technology news. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations by Stephen J. Gill

From the publisher: How can today’s nonprofits demonstrate effective use of funds? How can they motivate employees and volunteers and combat burnout and high turnover? How can they ensure that they are performing in accordance with their mission and purpose? Author Stephen J. Gill answers these questions and more in Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations. Filled with practical tips and tools, the book shows students and managers of human services, arts, education, civic, and environmental agencies how to implement a learning culture with individuals, teams, the organization as a whole, and the larger community. Key features include:

• Demonstrates how to create a culture of intentional learning that uses reflection and feedback, focuses on successes and failures, and builds a strong organization that motivates employees and volunteers
• Offers specific, hands-on tools for each level of the organization, from the individual and team to the whole organization and the community
• Discusses not only the need for a learning culture but also the barriers that may stand in the way
• Takes a step-by-step approach that facilitates managers’ and students' understanding and learning
• Incorporates practical tools that can be used in nonprofit management and in actual field instruction

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Recession's Impact on Foundations
Foundation operations appear to have stabilized following cuts in staffing, travel, or other operating expenses by a majority of grant makers. In a sign that foundations may be turning the corner, only 12 percent of respondents to the Center's September 2010 "Foundation Giving Forecast Survey" expect these operational changes to remain in place over the longer term. Among the changes that could persist: funders making fewer site visits to grantees, attending fewer conferences, eliminating print copies of annual reports, and moving to electronic grant applications. Other key findings include:

• Indicators suggest a return to modest growth in foundation giving in 2011.
• Few foundations anticipate lasting changes in grantmaking priorities as a result of the economic crisis.
• Foundation operations have largely stabilized following widespread changes in 2009.
• The economic crisis had a minimal impact on foundations’ decisions to spend down their endowments and terminate operations.
• More than two out of five respondents provided support specifically to address problems related to the economic crisis.

To download a copy of the study, to go:

Resource of the Week – How to Establish a Good ED-Board Relationship

Bridgestar has developed a new resource "Starting Off on the Right Foot: How to Establish a Good ED-Board Relationship" that provides guidance on how boards and new executive directors/chief executive officers (EDs/CEOs) can lay a good foundation for an effective working relationship. The guide is based on interviews with CEOs and board chairs about the preliminary steps they took to ensure their relationships worked from day one. For a copy of the free guide, 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, November 15, 2010

Picks of the Week: November 14-20, 2010

Website of the Week – Community Resource Exchange
For over 30 years, Community Resource Exchange (CRE) has worked to create a more just, equitable and livable city for ALL New Yorkers. CRE provide strategic advice and technical services every year to more than 300 community-based nonprofit organizations confronting social issues such as poverty and HIV/AIDs in low and moderate income neighborhoods. As one of the most established nonprofit management consulting providers of its kind, CRE provides its clients with information, guidance, resources for nonprofits, skill building and leadership training for Community Based Organizations to make New York City stronger - one community group at a time. Be sure to check out their Resources for Nonprofits. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause by Kivi Leroux Miller

From the publisher: This down-to-earth book shows how to hack through the bewildering jungle of marketing options and miles-long to-do lists to clear a marketing path that's right for your organization, no matter how understaffed or underfunded. You'll see how to shape a marketing program that starts from where you are now and grows with your organization, using smart and savvy communications techniques, both offline and online. Combining big-picture management and strategic decision-making with reader-friendly tips for implementing a marketing program day in and day out, this book provides a simple yet powerful framework for building support for your organization's mission and programs.

• Includes cost-effective strategies and proven tactics for nonprofits
• An ideal resource for thriving during challenging times
• Fast, friendly, and realistic advice to help you navigate the day-by-day demands of any nonprofit

Written by one of the leading sources of how-to info and can-do inspiration for small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations, Kivi Leroux Miller is, among other things, a communication consultant and trainer, and president of EcoScribe Communications and Nonprofit Marketing Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- High Net worth Donor Trends

The 2010 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy tracks significant shifts as well as consistent trends in the giving behaviors of the wealthiest donors in the United States. The findings highlight the philanthropic legacy of high net worth households and offer valuable information to nonprofit organizations who seek to engage, sustain, and deepen relationships with these donors. Key findings include;

• High net worth households continued to support charitable organizations at levels seen in 2005 and 2007 (98.2 percent of high net worth households donated to charity in 2009). This indicates that despite the economic downturn, high net worth households remain committed to supporting nonprofits.
• Despite a strong commitment to nonprofits in 2009, average charitable giving by high net worth households decreased between 2007 and 2009. Average charitable giving dropped 34.9 percent from $83,034 in 2007 to $54,016 in 2009, after adjusting for inflation.
• About one-third of households cited an organization's own communications about its impact (34.1 percent) as important when giving to charity.
• In response to meeting community needs, nearly 64 percent of high net worth household gave more in 2009 than in 2008 to support people's basic needs and/or to fund the general operations of an organization.
• A few subsectors saw increases, between 4 and 21 percent, in the average amount given by wealthy households including arts, environment/animal care, international causes, and to giving vehicles. Other subsectors saw more significant declines from 2007, with giving to health experiencing a 63.7 percent decline, education a 55 percent decline, and combined purpose organizations (such as United Way, United Jewish Appeal, or Catholic Charities) experiencing a 44 percent decline.

For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – TechSoup Grant Writing Series

Wish you knew more about applying for grant funding? Does it seem overwhelming and you wonder how to get started? TechSoup is offering a new grant series, Successful Grants in One Hour a Week. The online series will provide you with small steps that cover the entire grant writing and submission process. Weekly blog posts will outline your steps for the week so you'll be prepared to apply for a basic grant before the end of the year. For information, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Worksheet Selection in Excel

If you have several worksheets in an Excel workbook, it can be time consuming to select the one you want to view. This shortcut can help you speed up the process.

• Right click on the sheet tab navigation arrows located in the lower left corner of the screen
• A menu of worksheet tabs pops up
• Left click the worksheet you want to view

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Picks of the Week: November 7 - 13, 2010

Website of the Week – Our Shared Resources is a new free service where those who work in the field of volunteer management are able to add useful resources and others in the field will be able to access them. With many people contributing a little re-inventing the wheel time and time again is avoided. Resources are downloadable, real-world examples of forms, manuals or position descriptions, templates & tools for creating resources, as well as tips, ideas and how-to resources. is now available in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. The language of all resources in the site will be identified and users will be able to limit their search to material in their specified language. To check out the site, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman

From the publisher: Co-authored by CompassPoint's Jeanne Bell, Blue Avocado's Jan Masaoka and Spectrum's Steve Zimmerman, this new book offers nonprofit executives and board members a simple yet powerful framework for analyzing and adjusting their business models for greater organizational sustainability. It introduces the Matrix Map, a practical tool for determining the current impact and financial performance of core programs and fundraising activities. It also provides guidance on how leaders can make strategic business decisions on an as-needed basis, rather than wait for episodic strategic planning. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Public Trust in Nonprofits Stronger Than In Government
American Express released findings from a “Perspectives on Nonprofits” survey, which shows that while seven in ten Americans (71%) trust nonprofits more than they trust government or industry to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, more than eight in ten Americans (83%) believe that nonprofits do not always have the resources they need to invest. Other findings include:

• Only 5 percent of the people who responded said they currently work for a nonprofit group, but an additional 50 percent said they were at least somewhat interested in such employment.
• Among those interested in working at a nonprofit organization, 67 percent said such work could be more rewarding than other kinds of employment, though 41 percent said it would mean earning lower pay. Among these 14% believe that they would have fewer opportunities for training and leadership development than they would working for other types of organizations.
• About four out of five Americans also said they agreed that nonprofit groups do not have “the resources to invest in the growth and development of their employees.”

StrategyOne conducted an online survey among 1,044 Americans, aged 18 years or older, between October 25-26, 2010 on perceptions of the nonprofit sector and its ability to address society’s needs. The data is representative of census data of the American population. Go to:

Resource of the Week – Special Events Guide

Network for Good has published a guide to planning and conducting large special events. “The Big Event: 5 Tips for Making Your Next Fundraising Event a Great Success”. The contents include: Set a goal that makes sense, Choose the right type of event, Secure corporate sponsors, Design a dynamic experience for your supporters, Assess what worked (and didn’t), and, Plan for next time and keep up your relationships. To download a copy, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Nudging Objects on PowerPoint 2007 Slides
Have you ever tried to move an object on a slide just a little? Try this:

• Select the object
• Press Ctrl + an arrow key

This tip also works in earlier versions.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Picks of the Week: October 31 - November 6, 2010

Website of the Week – NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network
NTEN is a membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals. Members share the common goal of helping nonprofits use all aspects of technology more effectively. NTEN believes that technology allows nonprofits to work with greater social impact and supports its members to strategically use technology to make the world a better, just, and equitable place. NTEN facilitates the exchange of knowledge and information within communities by connecting members to each other, providing professional development opportunities, educate on issues of technology use in nonprofits, and spearhead groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education on technology issues. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Politics of Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Nonprofit-Business Partnerships by Maria May Seitanidi

From the publisher: The Politics of Partnerships contributes to the sustainability debate a holistic framework for partnership building, based on in-depth accounts of ways and means of collaborative working to incorporate conflict as a successful way of delivering change. This is a must read book for the business community but equally for the non-profits and governments. Seitanidi's book urges us to step up to the challenge of accepting and adapting our responsibilities within our increasingly beyond boundaries social realities. Based on detailed empirical research, Seitanidi shows us the reality behind the rhetoric of partnerships. This book is animated by a profound belief in the necessity for social change and shows us how partnerships can make a real difference, but also why they so often under perform. ... An outstanding book that combines theory with practice and provides both context and challenges to our understanding of the complexity of the ethos of very different sectors and how they can work together. This is a vital book for all private sector managers engaged in voluntary sector relations and vice versa on how to do it properly. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Donor Motivation Trends

This research study, Donor Motivation and Behavior for the 21st Century, was commissioned and created by Russ Reid and conducted by Grey Matter Research & Consulting in June 2010. This study was conducted across the United States, in both English and Spanish, via telephone and through a demographically representative online research panel. The sample size was 2,005 adults 18 or older, with a very low margin of error. Overall, 39% of American adults are donors (meaning they have given in the past 12 months). This translates to 90 million Americans. Here are a few of the findings:

• Men and women are equally likely to be donors.
• The older the individual, the more likely he or she is to be a donor.
• Being a donor is not something that varies much with geography.
• Suburbia does provide a disproportionately large group of donors, largely because suburban residents tend to have higher incomes.
• The proportion of donors increases as education level increases.
• People who regularly attend religious worship services are slightly more likely to be donors than are those who don’t attend, but people who financially support a place of worship are far more likely to be donors to nonprofits than are those who don’t give money to a place of worship.

To download an Executive Summary, go to:

Resource of the Week – Getting Social Media Right: A Short Guide for Nonprofit Organizations

The Bridgespan Group has developed a social media guide for nonprofits. "Getting Social Media Right: a Short Guide for Nonprofit Organizations" authored by Richard Steele Sivan McLetchie and Chris Lindquist is organized around a framework referred to as the “Seven C’s” of social media: Cause, Communication, Community, Collaboration, Costs, Capital, and Competition. According to the authors, by challenging yourself to ask questions around the Seven C’s, you can quickly begin to organize your thinking about social media, and plan or revise your approach so that your social media efforts create real value for your organization. The full data set – purged of any identifying information – survey, and framework are all available for download. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Entering the Euro in Word 2007
To enter the Euro symbol in Word 2007, use this simple keyboard shortcut:

• Hold down the Alt key and the Ctrl key
• Type the letter e

This trick also works in earlier versions.