Monday, May 30, 2011

Picks of the Week: May 29 - June 4, 2011

Website of the Week – boardnetUSA

boardnetUSA is a unique website dedicated to the express purpose of connecting nonprofit boards and new leaders. The website is designed to be a common technological platform for a national collaborative network of communities working locally to enhance nonprofit board governance. This growing network of Community Partners work together on common themes of populating board rooms as well as individually developing services tailored to their local market. The Volunteer Consulting Group, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization in New York City with over 38 years of experience aiding in the development and strengthening of nonprofit organizations, initially developed the concept of boardnetUSA. With assistance from philanthropic and corporate supporters the Volunteer Consulting Group serves as the primary management and coordinating entity of the growing national network that is boardnetUSA. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the World by Michael Edwards

From the publisher: A new movement is afoot that promises to save the world by applying the magic of the market to the challenges of social change. Its supporters argue that using business principles to solve global problems is far more effective than more traditional approaches. What could be wrong with that? Almost everything, argues former Ford Foundation director Michael Edwards. In this hard-hitting, controversial exposé, he marshals a wealth of evidence to reveal that in reality, a market approach hurts more than it helps. Real change will come when business acts more like civil society, not the other way around. Author
Michael Edwards is an independent writer and activist who is affiliated with the New York-based think-tank Demos, the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University in the UK. From 1999 to 2008 he was Director of the Ford Foundation’s Governance and Civil Society Program, and previously worked for the World Bank, OxFam, and Save the Children. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Women Strongest Believers in the Power of Supporting Causes

8 in 10 American women believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life; and feel everyone can make a difference through their support, while their male counterparts are more likely to view supporting causes as a fad, according to new data released today by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication. The findings are part of the larger Dynamics of Cause Engagement study, conducted among American adults age 18 and older in late 2010,which explored trends in cause involvement and the roles of a variety of activities in fostering engagement with social issues. Similarities and Differences in Cause Support In addition to believing that everyone can make a difference by supporting causes, American women are more likely than men to believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life, makes them feel good about themselves and makes them feel like part of a community. More than four in ten Americans (45%) are actively involved with supporting causes, and women make up a significantly larger part of this group than men. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril and Potential of Networks

Open-source projects and grassroots collective action are important sources of inspiration for 21st-century civic engagement, enabling us to combine the creativity and transparency of open innovation with community organizing’s relational abilities and courage to confront power. This is the message of a new report, “Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril and Potential of Networks,” released by Monitor Institute and Knight Foundation. The report examines the role of networks in linking up citizens, with the goal of increasing participation in community leadership. The report looked at 70 projects that use an open and decentralized network-centric approach. Many of the projects “are technologically enabled,” says the report. “Others are rooted in in-person relationships. Most combine online and offline interaction, as well as insights from the open-source movement and grassroots organizing. Five patterns emerged for good network building:

• Listening to and consulting the crowds: Actively listening to online conversations and openly asking for advice.
• Designing for serendipity: Creating environments, in person and online, where helpful connections can form.
• Bridging differences: Deliberately connecting people with different perspectives.
• Catalyzing mutual support: Helping people directly help each other.
• Providing handrails for collective action: Giving enough direction for individuals to take effective and coordinated action.

The Connected Citizens report details each of these five patterns, with examples and case studies. It has an accompanying website. To access the report and the website, go to

Tech Tip of the Week -- Edit Videos with PowerPoint 2010

In PowerPoint 2010 you can edit a video clip before you embed it in your presentation. You can:
• Trim
• Add effects and styles
• Crop
• Adjust the size
• Adjust the contrast
• Add borders and effects, and more...

The following resources can help you learn these amazing new features:
YouTube Video Edit Videos with PowerPoint 2010 from Microsoft
• Article Edit Videos inside a Presentation in PowerPoint 2010 from
• Article Five tips for working with Video in PowerPoint 2010 from

Monday, May 23, 2011

Picks of the Week: May 22, 2011

Website of the Week – Nonprofit Capacity Building Learning and Resource Center

The purpose of the Center for Community Partnership's (CCP) Nonprofit Development Program at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside is to strengthen nonprofit organizational effectiveness. The Nonprofit Development Program seeks to build the capacity of local nonprofits by offering training, workshops, professional development, networking, technical assistance and community-based learning projects. It also connects nonprofits to a variety of resources, especially those available at UW-Parkside, other area higher education institutions, and government and community organizations. Nonprofit programs, services and opportunities are centralized in the Nonprofit Capacity Building Learning and Resource Center. It includes conferences and workshops, forms for nonprofit organization start-up, tools and resources, professional network, technical assistance, professional development, funding information, volunteer sources, professional associations, and nonprofit employment opportunities. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals by Darian Rodriguez Heyman

From the publisher: A comprehensive handbook for leading a successful nonprofit. This handbook can educate and empower a whole generation of nonprofit leaders and professionals by bringing together top experts in the field to share their knowledge and wisdom gained through experience. This book provides nonprofit professionals with the conceptual frameworks, practical knowledge, and concise guidance needed to succeed in the social sector. Designed as a handbook, the book is filled with sage advice and insights from a variety of trusted experts that can help nonprofit professionals prepare to achieve their organizational and personal goals, develop a better understanding of what they need to do to lead, support, and grow an effective organization.

• Addresses a wealth of topics including fundraising, Managing Technology, Marketing, Finances, Advocacy, Working with Boards
• Contributors are noted nonprofit experts who define the core capabilities needed to manage a successful nonprofit
• Author is the former Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation

This important resource offers professionals key insights that will have a direct impact on improving their daily work. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Social Justice Grantmaking Trends

According to Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking (2011 Edition), social justice giving accounted for more than 14 percent of grant dollars awarded by the largest U.S. foundations in 2009. The top 25 social justice funders gave 70 percent of the total in the latest Foundation Center's annual grants sample. Foundations’ social justice giving spans all areas of activity, from human rights to environmental justice to the arts. Consistent with past trends, the biggest share of social justice grant dollars awarded in 2009 (29 percent) went for economic and community development, followed by health care access and affordability (17 percent), and human rights and civil liberties (13 percent). To download the free report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Participatory Action Research

In many evaluations, program beneficiaries are rarely involved. Participatory action research provides a way to do so, engaging all parties in all aspects of an evaluation, from defining the problem to gathering and analyzing data to preparing recommendations. In this guide, part of a series on evaluation techniques prepared by GrantCraft, you will learn about a unique evaluation method and how contributors have used it to evaluate programs in agriculture, early childhood development, and immigration. Highlights include:
• Ensuring a rigorous approach and objective results
• Developing trusting partnerships as part of an evaluation
• Building the conditions for a successful participatory action research evaluation
• Two mini-case studies

Downloading this guide and other learning tools takes a brief one-time registration. From there on all materials may be downloaded without cost. Go to: A companion slide show is available at

Tech Tip of the Week -- Embed a Video in a PowerPoint 2010 Presentation

PowerPoint 2010 makes it easy to embed a video from a file directly into your presentation. Here’s how:

• In Normal view, select the slide you want to embed the video in
• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• In the Media group, click the arrow under Video
• Click Video from file
• In the Insert Video dialog box, locate and select the video that you want to embed
• Click Insert

You can also click the Video icon in a content layout to insert a video.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Picks of the Week: May 15 - 21, 2011

Website of the Week – Bridgespan Group

Founded in 2000, the Bridgespan Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders develop strategies and build organizations that inspire and accelerate social change. At the heart of its mission is the belief that a strong and effective nonprofit sector can be a powerful force for change as well as a source of human inspiration. The Bridgespan Group pursues its mission through three sets of activities:
• Strategy consulting, executive search, and philanthropy advising, to help nonprofit organizations and philanthropists develop and implement strategies with the potential to achieve significant results.
• Sharing insights, strategies and tools developed by us and by others through research and client engagements.
• Developing or supporting strategic initiatives that aim to improve performance across the nonprofit sector. Notable among these is the Bridgestar initiative, which seeks to help nonprofits attract, connect, and develop strong leadership teams

To access this content-rich website, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Joining a Nonprofit Board: What You Need to Know by F. Warren McFarlan and Marc J. Epstein

From the publisher: Joining a Nonprofit Board offers an important guide to the roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board member. Marc J. Epstein and F. Warren McFarlan provide a step-by-step guide to how board members can work with a nonprofit organization to achieve the organization's overarching mission, attain financial sustainability, and develop and execute the systems needed to accomplish both. Based on more than 10 years of research from Rice University and Harvard Business School and filled with illustrative examples, Joining a Nonprofit Board explores the basic structure of a nonprofit, explains how to build and monitor a nonprofit's mission, and identifies how the board performs an effective assessment of a nonprofit. The book also explores the challenges posed by the duality of leadership between the unpaid volunteer non-executive chairman of the board and the CEO. Joining a Nonprofit Board includes a helpful explanation of a "board member's life cycle." The authors start with the decision to join a board and explain how to prepare for the first meeting. The book explores how to serve effectively the first two years and reveals what it takes to develop your ongoing role as a trustee. Finally the book describes how to transition off the board to other forms of service with the organization. Joining a Nonprofit Board is a comprehensive resource for anyone who wants to take their experience in the business world and serve a nonprofit with passion and clarity.
Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples

Over the past decade, U.S. foundation support benefiting Native Americans declined from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent of total foundation giving. According to Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples, total grant dollars targeting Native Americans dropped 30.8 percent in the latest year, compared to a 14.1 percent overall downturn in foundation giving. This report was prepared by the Foundation Center with Native Americans in Philanthropy. Other key findings of the report include:

• The top 10 funders for Native Americans in 2009 accounted for close to 60 percent of grant dollars.
• Education received the largest share of foundation giving for Native Americans in 2009.
• Most foundation funding for Native Americans in 2009 supported organizations not affiliated with tribal governments.
• Recipients located in three of the country's seven major regions (Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest) captured more than two-thirds of grant dollars benefiting Native Americans in 2009.
• Eight of the top 25 recipients are Native-led or for the exclusive benefit of Native Americans.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Just-In-Time Board Orientation Webinar

This webinar has been designed in response to the expressed concern that it can sometimes take new board members several months or more to fully understand their roles and responsibilities. Just-In-Time Board Orientation will provide a clear, crisp picture of your board member's responsibilities in policy development, strategic planning, fiduciary duties, fundraising, and oversight functions. This session will provide information, tools and techniques needed to bring new board members up to speed quickly. It will increase their confidence and their productivity in board and committee meetings right from the start. As a result, new board members will be better able to "hit the ground running." Just-in-Time Board Orientation can even be offered to prospective board members to assist them in making an informed decision about whether to join your board. The session can also help current board leaders re-focus their efforts. Special features include : Attendees will receive a board orientation resource manual in advance of the webinar. After the webinar, they will receive the PowerPoint presentation file as well as free access to the Create the Future Webinars Blog, an online learning community where webinar participants can get answers to questions, post comments, find and share resources, and more. The webinar is offered on a quarterly basis. For more information about the schedule and to register, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Saving your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation as a Video

There are a number of new features in PowerPoint 2010 which allow you to enhance your presentations with video, images and animations. During the coming weeks we will be publishing a series of tips that introduce you to these amazing new tools. Create a Video is one of these new features. Here’s how it works

• Create your presentation
• Save the presentation
• Click the File tab
• Click Save & Send in the left pane
• Under File Types, click Create a video
• Make changes in the right pane, if necessary
• Click the Create Video button

After you create a video, you can share it with others by:
• Sending it as an e-mail attachment
• Burning it to a DVD disc
• Uploading it to a video sharing Web site such as YouTube
• Posting it on your website or other shared location

Monday, May 9, 2011

Picks of the Week: May 8-14, 2011

Website of the Week – Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Independent Sector launched the new online Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a comprehensive collection of tools for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to enhance the accountability and transparency of their operations and ensure they operate in ethical ways. At the heart of the Resource Center is the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations, which has been called " the most significant industry-based effort to promote self-regulation by the sector to date." The Resource Center showcases, through downloads or links, over 250 model policies, research papers, templates, and other tools. Most are available free of charge. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- CauseWired by Tom Watson

From the publisher: For today's super-wired, always-on, live-life-in-public young Americans, the causes they support define who they are. Societal aspirations have so permeated the "net native" population that causes have become like musical tastes. CauseWired illustrates wired causes in action, bringing real-world stories to readers.

• Tracks the massive societal impact on causes of online social networks-from blogs, to video, to the rise of social networks
• Reveals the extraordinary influence of online social networks-in raising money for charity, in changing the political climate and electing candidates, and in raising consciousness for causes

From Facebook causes and campaigns on MySpace, to a raft of new startups and innovative projects like Kiva, and DonorsChoose, this immensely relevant book delivers actionable research and recommendations to help readers launch their own successful wired social campaigns. Click to preview this look on

Trend of the Week – Corporate Foundation Giving Trends

Corporate foundation giving remained mostly unchanged in 2010 at an estimated $4.7 billion, according to The Foundation Center's Key Facts on Corporate Foundations (2011 Edition). Grant dollars rose 0.2 percent from 2009, although, adjusted for inflation, corporate foundation giving in fact decreased 1.6 percent in 2010. Despite the severity of the economic downturn, and especially its impact on the banking and financial services sector, corporate foundation giving remains at its highest level on record. Similar to other types of foundations, a number of corporate foundations made exceptional efforts to minimize cuts in giving during the economic crisis. A number of corporate foundations build up their endowments during more prosperous years so that they can draw on those resources to stabilize giving during downturns. Productivity gains have also helped the corporate sector to return to profitability more quickly than could have been anticipated at the outset of the financial crisis. Looking ahead, just over half (52 percent) of corporate foundations responding to the Foundation Center’s annual forecasting survey expect to increase their giving in 2011. To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Independent Sector has developed the Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a tool designed to help the nonprofit community meet its commitment to examine and improve their governance practices. Independent Sector developed the Workbook in partnership with BoardSource, the leading national resource on nonprofit governance. It expands and elucidates the Panel's Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations, 33 recommendations that thousands of organizations have already used to strengthen their practices. The Workbook distills the core concepts in each of the principles and suggests points for board and staff to discuss about their current practices. Progress worksheets accompanying each of the four sections assist nonprofits and foundations in making plans and recording their progress. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Calculate the Days, Months or Years between Dates in Excel

Use the DatedIf function to calculate the interval between dates in Excel. Here's how:

Enter the function into a cell =DATEDIF ( start_date , end_date, unit )

For example, to calculate the number of months between two dates, if the start date is in cell D2 and the end date is in cell E2 you could enter this formula into cell F2:

To learn more about this function, go to to the Microsoft website or watch a YouTube video. This tip works in Excel 2007 and 2010, as well as earlier versions.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Picks of the Week: May 1 - 7, 2011

Website of the Week – Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research

The mission of the Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research is to educate leaders and advance best practices in the nonprofit and philanthropic community through academic excellence, applied learning, and research that examines issues of strategic importance to the sector. The Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research is part of the Department of Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego which offers: an M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a Specialization in Nonprofit/Philanthropic Leadership and Management. The Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research houses the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research and the Nonprofit Governance Symposium. The Institute houses a best practice library of applied projects that were completed by students in the masters program for, and in collaboration with, a variety of nonprofit organizations. Our online library will continue to grow as students create or revise corporate by-laws, personnel policies, volunteer manuals, board manuals, fundraising plans, financial management systems plans and information technology plans. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World by Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte

From the publisher: “Has there ever been a better reason to shop?” asks an ad for the Product RED American Express card, telling members who use the card that buying “cappuccinos or cashmere” will help to fight AIDS in Africa. Cofounded in 2006 by the rock star Bono, Product RED has been a particularly successful example of a new trend in celebrity-driven international aid and development, one explicitly linked to commerce, not philanthropy. In Brand Aid, Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte offer a deeply informed and stinging critique of “compassionate consumption.” Campaigns like Product RED and its precursors, such as Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong and the pink-ribbon project in support of breast cancer research, advance the expansion of consumption far more than they meet the needs of the people they ostensibly serve. At the same time, such campaigns sell both the suffering of Africans with AIDS (in the case of Product RED) and the power of the average consumer to ameliorate it through familiar and highly effective media representations. Using Product RED as its focal point, this book explores how corporations like American Express, Armani, Gap, and Hallmark promote compassionate consumption to improve their ethical profile and value without significantly altering their business model, protecting themselves from the threat to their bottom lines posed by a genuinely engaged consumer activism. Coupled with the phenomenon of celebrity activism and expertise as embodied by Bono, Richey and Ponte argue that this “causumerism” represents a deeply troubling shift in relief efforts, effectively delinking the relationship between capitalist production and global poverty. Click to preview this look on

Trend of the Week – Latest Nonprofit Employment Trends

According to the Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey, a national study of nonprofit employment practices, new jobs are coming online at nonprofits as hiring freezes are finally being lifted. The national Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey™ was conducted through a partnership between Nonprofit HR Solutions and the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research. Key findings include:

• Although the HR function is viewed as critical within many organizations, it still remains a low priority for most organizations. Eighty-four percent of nonprofit respondents agreed that the HR function is critical to their organization’s ability to fulfill its mission, yet few prioritize the HR function within their organizations. The majority of respondent organizations (52 percent) do not have a dedicated HR professional and 55 percent rely upon existing staff to handle new programs and or initiatives.
• Nearly a quarter of nonprofits lost staff in 2010. However 60 percent of those organizations indicated that they intend to hire or are considering the creation of new positions in 2011. This finding was consistent irrespective of the size of the organization.
• When nonprofits lay off staff, 81 percent report using existing staff to fulfill the duties of the eliminated position. This is a worrisome trend as it could lead to burnout and premature turnover.
• Turnover remains low. Economic improvements are not being realized as quickly as anticipated. Findings from this year’s survey revealed that turnover remains low within nonprofit organizations. Turnover rates for respondent organizations were calculated at 13 percent compared to last year’s rate of 21 percent. This low turnover rate is an indication that the economy might not be improving as quickly for nonprofits as it is for other sectors.
• It’s still “who you know” when it comes to nonprofit recruitment. Nonprofits primarily use in person networking and newspapers to recruit job candidates. This is surprising considering the rapid growth and affordability of social networking tools over the past few years. This practice also has the potential to negatively impact diversity efforts

To download a free copy of the report, registration is required. Go to:

Resource of the Week – NTEN: Change (A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders)

Through in-depth articles, case-studies, best practices, leader profiles, and discussions, NTEN's quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders provides the guidance and practical considerations necessary for making sound investments and decisions that will help your organization achieve its mission. Thanks to the generous support of Google, NTEN is proud to offer NTEN: Change to the nonprofit community for free! You'll be able to download the journal, view it on your computer, or even access it from your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. To subscribe, 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
• A menu of worksheet tabs pops up
• Left click the worksheet you want to view

This tip works in Excel 2007 and 2010, as well as earlier versions.