Monday, February 13, 2012

Picks of the Week: February 12 - 18, 2012

Website of the Week -- WhatWorks

The mission of WhatWorks is to guide philanthropy, nonprofits, and communities to higher results, moving the needle on social issues. WhatWorks operates as a network of nonprofit organizations, grant-makers, researchers, and consultants who are interested in investing in what works to achieve what matters. Available resources include: Access to a variety of online resources such as Outcomes Portal, Archived Webcasts, Case Studies, Best Practices, Articles; quarterly Learn What Works e-Newsletter; information about new ways to define, track, achieve, improve, communicate and manage to higher results; webinars and conferences; and much more. Go to: Becoming a member of The Center for What Works is currently free and open to individuals as well as organizations. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Forging Nonprofit Alliances: A Comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Your Mission Through Joint Ventures & Partnerships, Management Service Organizations by Jane Arsenault

From the publisher: One of the first books published on the subject and it remains among the best. In Forging Nonprofit Alliances, Jane Arsenault draws on her years of experience helping nonprofits join forces to show how nonprofits can use consolidation as a strategic tool to enhance rather than undermine mission. By forging alliances, nonprofits of all sizes can ensure the survival of key programs that may be threatened by shifts in funding and can attain necessary resources to pursue new opportunities. In addition, strategic alliances offer the potential to expand the reach and impact of organizations that already have substantial resources. Whether your nonprofit is ready to embark on an alliance, is considering the possibility, or is trying to evaluate your options, this practical, detailed guide gives you the tools needed to understand and simplify this often contentious and intimidating process-and the means to work through it step by step. In this comprehensive guide to enhancing mission, Arsenault explores the various options for consolidation-including joint ventures and partnerships, management service organizations, parent corporations, and mergers. She also details the negotiation process and demonstrates how to design and frame the consolidation process in a positive and constructive way for staff, donors, and constituents. Written for nonprofit managers and boards, Forging Nonprofit Alliances determines which options are right for an organization and clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all members of nonprofit board and staff in planning and implementing an alliance. Arsenault's practical advice, along with worksheets, examples, and sample documents, makes Forging Nonprofit Alliances an invaluable hands-on guide to one of the most difficult challenges facing nonprofits today.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – State of the Nonprofit Industry

Blackbaud has conducted its State of the Nonprofit Industry survey annually for seven of the past eight years. The study asked nonprofit leaders to report on some of the management strategies they’re using, and the degree to which they anticipate changes in their organizations this year and next. According to the latest survey, although the global economic climate remains uncertain, there is once again a growing sense of optimism in the nonprofit sector regarding growth in staffing and earned and charitable income, especially when looking forward to 2012. At the same time, organizations anticipate an increased demand for services and increased expenditures. The majority of organizations expect to see an increased demand for their services in 2011 and 2012, similar to last year’s study. To meet the projected increase in demand for services, organizations are primarily anticipating either constant or growing staffing levels in 2011 and are slightly more optimistic about increased staffing in 2012. The percentage expecting overall staffing increases coincides with the percentage expecting fundraising staff growth. Similar to overall staffing, organizations expect to maintain or increase fundraising staffing levels in 2011 and 2012. For almost all countries, the percentage expecting fundraising staffing to increase is higher in 2012 than 2011. This reconfirms the finding from last year’s survey that fundraising is emerging as a widely-recognized profession around the globe. It is clear that fundraising is no longer someone’s “part-time” responsibility. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – Sample Personnel Policies

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits website includes resources and templates, including sample personnel policies. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Choosing Between Excel and Access for your Database

A question I hear frequently is how to choose between Excel or Access for a database. The following resources should help you answer this important question:

• Microsoft has a free online tutorial Choose between Access and Excel that will help you understand the terminology and make this decision by asking the right questions up front.
Using Access or Excel to manage your data compares the benefits of each program, discusses when to use Access, when to use Excel, and when to use Access and Excel together, also on
• Another Microsoft article Top 10 reasons to use Access with Excel demonstrates how often the best solution is to use the 2 programs together.

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