Monday, July 25, 2011

Picks of the Week: July 24 - 30, 2011

Website of the Week – The Communications Network

Formed nearly 20 years ago as a membership association, the Communications Network today is a stand-alone nonprofit organization that promotes the use of consistent, strategic communications as an integral part of effective philanthropy. The Network connects communications professionals working in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector to each other for guidance and mentoring and regularly sponsors learning and networking opportunities through webinars and the annual conference. Today, the Network’s membership represents a wide range of foundation communications leaders and consultants who work to advance communications strategies and practices in all mediums. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes In an Era of Scarcity by Mario Morino

From the publisher: Leap of Reason is the product of decades of hard-won insights from philanthropist Mario Morino, McKinsey & Company, and top social-sector innovators. It is intended to spark the critically important conversations that every nonprofit board and leadership team should have in this new era of austerity. The authors make a convincing case that the nation’s growing fiscal crisis will force all of us in the social sector to be clearer about our aspirations, more intentional in defining our approaches, more rigorous in gauging our progress, more willing to admit mistakes, more capable of quickly adapting and improving—all with an unrelenting focus on improving lives.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Use of Social Media by Foundation Communicators

93 percent of foundation communicators use social networks in their jobs, according to a new survey of the people who handle communications for 155 private and community foundations. As reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, forty-four percent of communications staff members said they spend up to 10 percent of their time “posting content, interacting with audiences through interactive media, adapting content, producing media, and developing new-media campaigns.” About 45 percent of foundation communication officials said they devoted 11 to 50 percent of their time to social media, and 3 percent said they spent more than half of their time on social media. The survey was conducted by the Communications Network, a group that represents grant makers. Other key findings include:

• Web sites and electronic communications accounted for 24 percent of the communications budgets of those surveyed, more than any other category.
• About 29 percent of foundation communications staffs said Twitter was the most effective social-media tool, followed by Facebook (27 percent) and YouTube (10 percent).
• About 18 percent said no social-media tool had been useful.
• Foundation officials believed that the best way to reach current grantees is through group e-mails or newsletters (78 percent), followed by a Web site or blog (77 percent), direct e-mail or phone calls (59 percent), or social media (53 percent).
• More than three-quarters of staff members (76 percent) said their organization was using online video.

To access the full report, go to: (large file).

Resource of the Week – Succession Planning for Nonprofits: Free Tools, Templates and Guides

The transition of a nonprofit’s executive director can have enormous impact on an organization’s sustainability. CompassPoint’s Executive Transitions Program has produced a number of free downloadable resources that will provide your organization some practical guidance to use in succession planning. To access templates, surveys, guides and checklists, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Freeze a Formula into its Current Value

To freeze a formula into its current value:

• Select the formula
• Press F2 (Edit)
• Press F9 (Calc)
• Press Enter

Now you can copy or move the value anywhere you need it. This trick works in all versions of Excel, including 2007 and 2010!

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