Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Picks of the Week: April 24 - 30, 2011

Website of the Week – ARNOVA

Founded in 1971 as the Association of Voluntary Action Scholars, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is a neutral, open forum committed to strengthening the research community in the emerging field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies. ARNOVA brings together both theoretical and applied interests, helping scholars gain insight into the day-to-day concerns of third-sector organizations, while providing nonprofit professionals with research they can use to improve the quality of life for citizens and communities. Principal activities include an annual conference, publications, electronic discussions and special interest groups. Go to: http://www.arnova.org/index.php.

Publication of the Week -- The Future of Nonprofits by David J. Neff and Randal C. Moss

From the publisher: The Future of Nonprofits helps organizations capitalize on internal innovation and predicting future trends to remake and reshape their culture, structure, and staff. By applying the strategies laid out in this book, nonprofit professionals of all levels can prepare their organizations to take advantage of future trends and develop innovative "internal entrepreneurs" that will grow revenue and drive their mission.
• Provides nonprofits with a comprehensive playbook on how to create a new, more flexible, innovative organization.
• Provides nonprofits a look at the future of fundraising and communications trends into 2016.
• Case studies highlight successes and failures.
• Highlights the power and strength of Social Media.
• Highlights how to hire, train, manage and inspire "internal entrepreneurial" employees.
• Features actionable advice on creating an organization that is primed to grow and thrive in the immediate and long-term future.

This game-changing book reveals how every nonprofit can put technology, innovation and future trends to work to reach their mission and grow revenue. Click to preview this look on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week – Taxing Tax-Exempt Organizations

A recent survey by the Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project found that a surprising number of the responding organizations are currently paying fees, taxes, or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) to local governments. On top of this, respondents reported that local governments have been placing increased financial pressure on nonprofits during the current financial crisis. Survey results varied considerably, however, by field, size of organization, and geographic region. Key findings include:

• Nearly a fifth of all respondents (17 percent) reported that their services or activities are subject to field-specific taxes, such as taxes on admission charges or bed taxes. These field-specific taxes were much more commonly paid by elderly housing and service organizations (37 percent), by the largest organizations (28 percent), and by nonprofits located in the Northeast. By contrast, only 7 percent of respondents in small organizations and 11 percent of respondents in mid-sized organizations reported paying such taxes.
• 9 percent of respondents reported paying PILOTs to local or state governments, but this share reached 26 percent among elderly service and housing groups, 19 percent among the largest organizations, and 20 percent among those located in the Northeast.
• Taken altogether, 63 percent of responding organizations reported paying some kind of tax, fee, or payment in lieu of taxes. This reached 73 percent among large organizations and stood at 48 percent even among respondents from small organizations.
• Most seriously, fourteen percent of all respondents indicated that they are aware of proposals in their state or locality to impose new taxes or fees on nonprofit organizations and 43 percent indicated concern that their state or local government will adopt new fees or taxes targeting nonprofits during the next year.

To access the full report, go to: http://www.ccss.jhu.edu.

Resource of the Week – 52 Free Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Staff

Kirk Kramer, partner at The Bridgespan Group, led a session on organizational effectiveness at Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative (NEI) leadership program in October 2010. One of the topics discussed was nonprofit staff skill development, which surfaced many creative ways NEI participants offer on-the-job development opportunities to their employees for free. These resources are now available at the Bridgespan Group's website organized by skill type, of ways nonprofit leaders can engage promising staff members in critical skill development areas without sending them to formal external trainings. Use these suggestions as a checklist, identify which opportunities best fit with your staffs’ development (or your personal development) needs, and put a few into action. Go to: http://www.bridgestar.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Turning Photos into PowerPoint 2010 Slide Shows

To turn your digital pictures into PowerPoint 2010 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

The steps are the same for PowerPoint 2007. Click here if you're using an earlier version of PowerPoint.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Picks of the Week: April 17 - 23, 2011

Website of the Week – Center for Effective Philanthropy

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization focused on the development of comparative data to enable higher-performing funders. CEP’s mission is to provide data and create insight so philanthropic funders can better define, assess, and improve their effectiveness – and, as a result, their intended impact. CEP pursues its mission through data collection and research that fuel the creation of assessment tools, publications, and programming. Since receiving initial funding in 2001, CEP has produced widely referenced research reports on foundation performance assessment, foundation strategy, foundation governance, and foundation–grantee relationships. CEP has created new data sets relevant to foundation leaders and hosts highly regarded programming focused on key issues related to funder effectiveness. CEP has also developed new, widely used assessment tools, such as the Grantee Perception Report® (GPR), which provides foundations comparative data on grantee perceptions of key elements of foundation performance, and the Comparative Board Report (CBR), which allows foundation boards to assess their own structures and effectiveness against comparative data. Go to: http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/index.php.

Publication of the Week -- The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife by Marc Freedman

From the publisher: Marc Freedman, hailed by the New York Times as “the voice of aging baby boomers [seeking] meaningful and sustaining work later in life,” makes an impassioned call to accept the decades opening up between midlife and anything approximating old age for what they really are – an entirely new stage of life, which he dubs the encore years. In The Big Shift, Freedman bemoans the fact that the discussion about longer lives in America has been entirely about the staggering economic costs of a dramatically aging society when, in reality, most of the nation’s 78 million boomers are not getting old … at least not yet. The whole 60- to 80-year-old period is simply new territory, he writes, and the people in this period constitute a whole new phenomenon in the 21st century. The Big Shift is animated by a simple premise: that the challenge of transitioning to and making the most of this new stage—while deeply personal—is much more than an individual problem; it’s an urgent social imperative, one affecting all generations. By embracing this time as a unique period of life – and providing guidance, training, education and support to the millions who are in it – Freedman says that we can make a monument out of what so many think of as the leftover years. The result could be a windfall of talent that will carry us toward a new generation of solutions for growing problems in areas like education, the environment, and health care. Marc Freedman is founder and CEO of Civic Ventures. An award-winning social entrepreneur, frequent commentator in the national media, and the author of Encore, Prime Time, and The Kindness of Strangers, Freedman spearheaded the creation of Experience Corps and The Purpose Prize. Click to preview this look on Amazon.com

Trend of the Week – Nonprofits Struggle to Meet Growing Demand for Services

America's nonprofits are expecting 2011 to be another tough year for their organizations, and for the people they serve, according to a survey released by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The survey of more than 1,900 nonprofit leaders in markets nationwide found that while there are some signs of hope, many nonprofits are straining under year-after-year increases in the demand for services. According to the survey, 2011 will be another tough year for nonprofits and the people they serve:

• 85% of organizations expect an increase in service demand in 2011; just 46% expect to be able to fully meet this demand.
• This comes on top of years of increases: in 2010, 77% of nonprofits saw an increase in demand; in 2009, 71% experienced an increase in demand, and 73% of organizations experienced increased demand in 2008.
• 60% of organizations have three months or less of cash on hand; 10% have none.
• Only 9% expect 2011 to be financially easier for the people they serve.

The survey also notes that there are signs of hope:
• 44% of nonprofits reported ending 2010 with a surplus, a move in the right direction from the 35% who had a surplus in 2009.
• 25% of organizations added to reserve funds in 2010.
• 35% of organizations raised more revenue in 2010 than anticipated.

For a summary or full results, go to: http://nonprofitfinancefund.org.

Resource of the Week – 5 Practices Key to Successful Networks

The Monitor Institute and Knight Foundation’s new report, Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril, and Potential of Networks, presents five online and offline practices through which networks can increase their impact. Their fifth practice – providing "handrails to collective action" — advises clearly outlining the steps people can take to make a difference; building feedback mechanisms so activists can learn and see progress together; and pushing power to the edges so participants share ownership and leadership. Go to: http://www.knightfoundation.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Screenshot in Office 2010

Screenshot -- a new feature in Office 2010 -- allows you to capture images from your screen.

• Click the document that you want to add the screenshot to
• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• In the Illustrations group, click Screenshot
• To add the whole window, click the thumbnail in the Available Windows gallery
• To add part of the window, click Screen Clipping, and when the pointer becomes a cross, press and hold the left mouse button to select the area of your screen that you want to capture
• If you have multiple windows open, click the window you want to clip from before clicking Screen Clipping. When you click Screen Clipping, the program you are working in is minimized and only the window behind it is available for clipping
• After adding a screenshot, you can use the tools on the Picture Tools tab to edit and enhance the screenshot

You can use Screenshot in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and Excel 2010.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Picks of the Week: April 10-16, 2010

Website of the Week – Alliance for Justice

The Alliance for Justice is a national association of public interest organizations spanning a range of issues, including civil rights, social justice, and consumer and environmental protection. Representing this broad constituency, the Alliance’s mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector’s influence on public policy, ensure equal access to the federal courts, and cultivate the next generation of advocates and community activists. Founded in 1979, the Alliance for Justice works closely with public interest organizations, social service networks,foundations, the legal community, and community-based organizations that work to energize vibrant and effective citizen engagement in public policy. Along with more information and resources on these issues, you can sign up for the Nonprofit Action Network and get news about IRS and Federal Election Commission rulings, as well as other developments that affect the advocacy activities of nonprofits. Go to: www.allianceforjustice.org.

Publication of the Week -- The End of Fundraising by Jason Saul

From the publisher: Why does it cost nonprofits on average $20 to raise $100, while it costs companies only $4? Simply put: Nonprofits have no leverage. No one has to make a donation. And since most donors have no direct stake in the organizations they support, they make donations out of the goodness of their hearts. If donors feel like writing a check, they will. If they don't, they won't. The End of Fundraising turns fundraising on its head, teaching nonprofits how to stop begging for charity and start selling impact. For the first time, nonprofits have economic power. We live in a new era where consumers, businesses, investors, employees, and service providers attach real economic value to social outcomes. An era where yesterday's "feel good" issues—education, the environment, health care, the arts, and animal rights—now have direct economic consequences and opportunities. Nonprofits now have leverage. To use this leverage, nonprofits must learn how to "sell" their impact to a new set of stakeholders. Using his fifteen years of experience advising the world's leading nonprofits, foundations, and corporations, Jason Saul reveals the formula for how nonprofits transcend the paradigm of charitable fundraising and reach true financial sustainability. Specifically, this groundbreaking book offers nonprofit professionals a guide to:

• Understand the role of social change in our economy
• Capture and communicate impact in simple, compelling terms
• Identify the new market stakeholders that value nonprofit outcomes
• Create powerful value propositions to increase leverage
• Improve the success of a nonprofit's pitches to funders

The End of Fundraising includes the tools needed to effectively frame, market, and sell a nonprofit organization's impact, and contains step-by-step guidance for creating dynamic new opportunities with a variety of funders. Click to preview this look on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week – Foundation Giving Expected to Rise in 2011

In the context of an uneven economic recovery, U.S. foundation giving was nearly unchanged in 2010 according to Foundation Center’s annual “Foundation Giving Forecast Survey”. The country’s more than 76,000 grantmaking foundations had estimated giving totaling $45.7 billion last year, almost matching giving in 2009. The relative stabilization of foundation giving in 2010 reflected numerous factors. Among these were the beginning of a modest recovery in foundation assets in 2009; new gifts and bequests from donors into recently established and existing foundations; and the continuing commitment of some funders to maintaining their giving levels or minimizing reductions in their support, despite substantial losses in the value of their endowments. These positive trends helped
to balance out lower levels of funding by the many foundations that felt the need to reduce giving in 2010.Findings from the Foundation Center’s survey “Foundation Giving Forecast Survey” suggest that 2011 giving will grow between 2 and 4 percent. Looking ahead to 2012, grantmakers appear to be fairly optimistic about their prospects. To download a copy of the report, go to: http://foundationcenter.org.

Resource of the Week – Resources for Evaluating Community Organizing

To help raise the profile of community organizing as a critically important change strategy, the Alliance for Justice has developed Resources for Evaluating Community Organizing (RECO). RECO to provide specific information about evaluating community organizing. RECO includes detailed summaries of each resource so users can find the resources that are most useful for their evaluation needs. Most of the resources included—case studies, tools and methodologies, and theoretical approaches to evaluation—are broadly available to the public, either through free downloads from the organization's website, or through an e-mail request. also included are books and other publications which are only available for purchase. Go to: http://www.afj.org.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using IF Functions in Excel 2007 and 2010

In a previous tip Using IF Functions in Excel we covered the basic If function which can be used in all versions of Excel. About.com explains the use of the If function and provides step-by-step tutorials on how to enter this function in 2007 and 2010:

Using the Excel 2007 IF Function
Using If Functions in Excel 2010

Download the If Function Worksheet and learn about the more complex uses of If functions.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Picks of the Week: April 3-9, 2010

Website of the Week – The Outcome Group

The Rensselaerville Institute (TRI) and The Center for What Works (WhatWorks), both nonprofits dedicated to assisting social sector organizations and communities to achieve better results, have announced a new organizational combination. WhatWorks will be joining TRI’s Outcome Group. Debra B. Natenshon, TRI’s Outcome Group partners with communities, foundations, nonprofit organizations and governments in achieving dramatic human gain using innovation and an outcome focus. The work focuses on deep consulting, strategic mapping and training provided by its team of outcome leaders. The Center for What Works focuses on benchmarking, offering online practical tools, training, and professional services to social sector organizations to measure progress toward strategy and mission and to continually improve outcomes for their target beneficiaries. In combining, this joint division at TRI will continue guiding foundations and nonprofits through an inclusive approach to reach higher results by using research-based outcome frameworks to help client organizations define, achieve and verify tangible accomplishments in behavior change and condition. The combined organization will achieve a shared vision: to guide nonprofits, foundations and communities to make transformational break-throughs for the people they serve, with their investments in time and money. Go to: http://www.theoutcomegroup.org.

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofits and Business by Joseph J. Cordes

From the publisher: In an age of high-profile corporate foundations and socially responsible companies, the barrier between the nonprofit and business worlds is more permeable than ever. Nonprofits and Business assembles a diverse group of researchers to examine nonprofits from commercial, economic, and legal perspectives. Chapters on nonprofit-business hybrids and performance measurement are also included. As both the government and the public have come to demand efficiency from nonprofit operations, they have looked to corporations to find creative ways to raise money and demonstrate effectiveness. Nonprofits and Business is a unique resource on this emerging trend. Click to preview this look on Amazon.com.

Trend of the Week – Online Advocacy, Fundraising, and Social Media Effectiveness Trends

A comprehensive new analysis of nonprofit online fundraising and advocacy from M+R Strategic Services and NTEN found that online fundraising showed steady growth for participating groups in 2010 despite the current economic climate. Most groups saw a 10% increase in dollars raised online from 2009 to 2010, the same percentage increase those groups saw from 2008 to 2009, but slower than those nonprofits were seeing from 2006 to 2008, prior to the recession. Findings also showed tremendous potential for growth in social media: for every 1,000 email list subscribers, participating nonprofits had just 110 Facebook users and 19 Twitter followers. To access the full study, presentation slides and recording and more, go to: http://www.e-benchmarksstudy.com. A free registration is required.

Resource of the Week – Groups Really DO Work

This resource, located on the website of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, is a clearly written basic introduction to organizing a group and exploring the transition to nonprofit and or tax- exempt status. Topics include weighing the advantages of incorporation and tax exempt status, choosing the right structural form, a glossary of key terms, and links to other resources for writing bylaws and other organizational documents and developing an ongoing board of directors. Go to: http://extension.umaine.edu.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Copy Formatting in Word

A previously published tip Fast Formatting covered using format painter (the paintbrush icon) to copy the format of text. Since I am a fan of shortcut keys, and sometimes format painter seems a bit erratic when using it to repeatedly copy the same format, here's how to do the same thing using shortcut keys:

• Click on the text which you want to copy a format from
• Press Ctrl+Shift+C (copy format) to copy the text formatting of the area where the cursor is located
• Select the text you want to copy the format to and press Ctrl+Shift+V (paste format)

This method is even more flexible than using the paintbrush. You can paste the format as many times as you want, since the format copy is saved in a memory area like the clipboard, and still do other things in between copies. And it appears to work in all versions of Word.