Monday, March 26, 2012

Picks of the Week: March 25 - 31, 2012

Website of the Week -- CreateAthon

CreateAthon is a 24-hour, work-around the clock creative blitz during which local advertising agencies generate advertising services for local nonprofits that have little or no marketing budget. Since the program’s expansion from a single market to an international effort in 2001, 40 agencies have joined the CreateAthon network, holding CreateAthon events in their cities. This effort has benefited 833 nonprofit organizations with 1,809 projects valued at $7 million. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results by Jocelyne Daw and Carol Cone

From the publisher: A hands-on guide to help your nonprofit build its brand, raise its profile, strengthen impact and develop deeper relationships with donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding is about the power a constituency-focused, compelling brand can have to revolutionize an organization and the way people view and support it.
• Shows how to optimally define what your organization stands for to differentiate, create value and breakthrough
• Explains how to build loyal communities inside and outside of your
organization to increase social impact
• Features seven principles for transforming a brand from ordinary trademark to strategic advantage
• Includes case studies of eleven breakthrough nonprofit brands and transferable ideas and practices that nonprofits of any size, scope or experience can implement

A practical road map and essential tool for nonprofit leaders, board members, and volunteers, this book reveals the vital principles you need to know to build and manage your organization's most valuable asset – its brand. In today’s highly competitive nonprofit world, building a breakthrough brand is no longer a "nice to do," but the new imperative.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Gaps In Financial Knowledge Challenge Mid-Size Nonprofits

A new survey of financial managers at mid-size nonprofit organizations reveals gaps in their financial knowledge, even as they grapple with economic challenges. The study was conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University to help nonprofits understand and increase their financial knowledge levels and improve their effectiveness. Nonprofits’ knowledge, policies and procedures were studied; some results were positive, while others revealed a clear need for financial education. Nearly half (49 percent) of mid-size nonprofits had less than three months’ worth of cash reserves for operating expenses available. A quarter (26 percent) had four to six months’ worth on hand, while another quarter had more than seven months of operating expenses. Other key findings include:
• Respondents said they were knowledgeable about negotiating with banks or lenders (78 percent), cash flow projections (75 percent) and financial scenario planning (72 percent).
• Only 46 percent reported knowing about debt restructuring.
• Financial literacy increased with the number of courses taken in accounting, economics, operations and financial management, and with the nonprofit’s revenue.
• Boards were involved in accountability (66 percent), but less so in managing investments (38 percent), developing budgets (30 percent) and scenario planning (27 percent).
• Less than 40 percent of nonprofits surveyed had an audit committee.

To access the study, go to:

Resource of the Week – Resources for Responding to Automatic Revocations by IRS

On June 8, 2011, the IRS posted the first Automatic Revocation of Exemption List, naming 279,599 non-profit organizations that had had their exempt status revoked for failure to file required annual returns. The list has been updated several times, and as of November 9, 2011, the IRS had revoked the exempt status of nearly 393,000 non-profit organizations. This unprecedented mass revocation has its roots in laws enacted by Congress as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The first requires small non-profits, previously not required to file, to submit an annual return: Form 990-N, also sometimes referred to as the E-Postcard. The second requires the IRS to revoke the tax exempt status of any organization that fails to file an annual return for three consecutive years. Resources for responding to an automatic revocation by IRS are available at

Tech Tip of the Week -- Automatically Tab from Cell to Cell In Excel 2007/2010

If you have a spreadsheet with several data input cells and would like to automatically jump from cell to cell using your tab key, you can use the Protect feature to accomplish this. In a previous tip we explain how to Protect Cells in Excel 2007/2010.

After you have:
• Unlocked the cells that can be changed and
• Protected the worksheet

You can simply use your tab key to automatically move from cell to cell. This can greatly simplify some types of data input and you'll learn about worksheet protection in the process!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Picks of the Week: March 18 - 24, 2012

Website of the Week -- David Lamb's Prospect Research Page

Lamb, a former development officer at the University of Washington and Santa Clara University, has developed a collection of truly useful Internet sites for researching corporations, foundations, and individual donors. David Lamb's Prospect Research Page includes links to directories of doctors, judges, lawyers, and airplane owners; online news sources; and corporate and public records databases. What's nice about the Prospect Research Page is that Lamb has distilled the vast number of potential sources of information on the Internet into a relatively small selection of annotated sites. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results by Alison Green and Jerry Hauser

From the publisher: A nonprofit manager's fundamental job is to get results, sustained over time, rather than boost morale or promote staff development. This is a shift from the tenor of many management books, particularly in the nonprofit world. Managing to Change the World is designed to teach new and experienced nonprofit managers the fundamental skills of effective management, including: Managing specific tasks and broader responsibilities; Setting clear goals and holding people accountable to them; creating a results-oriented culture; hiring, developing, and retaining a staff of superstars. The book offers nonprofit managers a clear guide to the most effective management skills; shows how to address performance problems, dismiss staffers who fall short, and the right way to exercising authority; gives guidance for managing time wisely and offers suggestions for staying in sync with your boss and managing up. This important resource contains 41 resources and downloadable tools that can be implemented immediately.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Charitable Giving Affected by Racial and Age Stereotypes

According to a new report, charitable behavior towards African American children decreases – and negative stereotypical inferences increase – with the age of those children. Using data from an online charity that solicits donations for school projects, we found that proposals accompanied by images of older African American students (Grades 6-12) led to fewer donations than proposals with images of younger African Americans (pre-K-Grade 5), with the opposite pattern for proposals with images of multiples races or of all White students. A laboratory experiment demonstrated that negative stereotypical beliefs about African Americans (e.g., that they are lazy) increased with age more for African American children than for White children, a pattern that predicted decreases in giving. To access the study report, go to:

Resource of the Week – A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions

This practical guide offers best practices that encourage soliciting input from stakeholders early in the evaluation design process to address specific stakeholder interests for improving program effectiveness, influencing policy decisions, and instituting behavioral and organizational change. The guide describes a five-step process for engaging stakeholders in developing evaluation questions, and includes four worksheets to facilitate the planning and implementation of a stakeholder engagement process. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Add a Drop Cap in Word 2010

A drop cap is used to display the first letter of the paragraph in a large font. To add a drop cap to a paragraph in Word 2010:
• Click in the paragraph where you would like to apply a drop cap
• Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
• In the text group, choose Drop Cap
• From the Drop Cap list, click to select the style or choose options for additional choices

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Picks of the Week: March 11 - 17, 2012

Website of the Week -- Social Impact Exchange

The Social Impact Exchange is a community of funders, advisors, wealth managers, intermediaries, nonprofits and researchers interested in funding and developing practices for scaling-up social solutions. The Exchange’s purpose is to establish a marketplace ecosystem that consistently enables effective social interventions to achieve scaled impact. The Exchange has three main functions: Facilitate increased funding of nonprofit scaling initiatives through funder networks and growth capital markets in specific issues and geographies ; Develop and share knowledge, including research, information and education that leads to more effective scaling efforts; Build Field Infrastructure to enable a capital marketplace to emerge, including standards, funding platforms, and distribution channels to efficiently connect funders with growth initiatives. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- POLICY vs. PAPER CLIPS - THIRD EDITION: How Using the Corporate Model Makes a Nonprofit Board More Efficient & Effective by Dr. Eugene H. Fram

From the publisher: POLICY vs. PAPER CLIPS is an unusual how-to book. It is a serious subject – improving nonprofit board governance while enhancing a management focus – but it is written in a highly user friendly way. Two old friends with ties to vastly different nonprofit organizations discuss via email what it takes to adopt the Corporate Model, an approach that can position your nonprofit to meet the demanding realities of the 21st century world. Given today’s difficult times for nonprofits, hardly any can continue to operate as they have in the past. For most, it is no longer possible for a volunteer group of directors to be involved in day-to-day operations of the organization. The Corporate Model establishes a framework for separating policy development from operational activities. When customized appropriately to your own nonprofit, the Model promotes growth. This book shows you how to tap the creative energies of the board of directors to address critical issues about vision, direction, assessment of outcomes; how to adapt to new challenges and how to capture emerging opportunities – while turning over day-to-day operational matters to management. The Corporate Model works best for nonprofits that have an annual budget of about $1 million or more and staffs of about 15 or more. However, anyone associated with a nonprofit group can benefit from reading this book. It provides an essential self-examination that can serve as a catalyst for becoming a more dynamic organization.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Voluntary Turnover Rates To Double in 2012

According to a new study, nonprofits expect their voluntary turnover rates to double in 2012 to 14% from 7%. And, since the same survey indicates that three-quarters of nonprofits say they do not have a formal strategy for retaining staff, some nonprofits, for whatever reason, may be sailing into danger when the economy picks up steam. Not only may they see their top talent walking out the front door, but they may be faced with skills and competency gaps particularly at the entry to mid-level career mark. Many nonprofits cannot afford this type of talent shift as it can affect the organization's mission. Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey, conducted annually by Nonprofit HR Solutions, found that most nonprofit organizations (87%) do not anticipate their overall turnover rate to increase this year when compared to last year, however more organizations expect turnover through retirements and voluntary resignations to increase. The survey shows that last year, only 1% of organizations anticipated turnover to increase due to retirements compared to 13% of organizations surveyed this year. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 360 Degree Evaluations

This article by CompassPoint staff members Michelle Gislason and Marissa Tirona in The Nonprofit Quarterly thoroughly discusses the features, pros, and cons of a 360° performance evaluation process. With careful planning and forethought, this tool can surface powerful insights on an employee's work patterns that can serve as a springboard for personal development and new organizational contributions. See if it's right for your organization. To access the resource, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Run PowerPoint 2010 Slide Show in a Window

Have you ever wanted to be able to run a PowerPoint slideshow in a window? This can be done by adding a button to the Quick Access Toolbar. Here’s how:

• Click the File tab on the Ribbon
• Click the Options button at the bottom
• Click Quick Access Toolbar in the left pane
• Under Choose commands from, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
• Scroll down and select Slide Show in a Window
• Click Add to add this button to the Quick Access Toolbar
• Click OK

To run a slideshow in a window simply click "easel stand" button on the Quick Access Toolbar in the upper left of the screen.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Picks of the Week: March 4-10, 2012

Picks of the Week: March 4-10, 2012

Website of the Week -- Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) conducts and disseminates research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. In addition, CNP conducts research on and analyzes trends in the operations and finances of U.S. charitable organizations through data developed and maintained by its National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) and other sources. NCCS serves as a comprehensive source for information regarding U.S. nonprofits through its extensive databases of information collected by the Internal Revenue Service and others. The data provided by NCCS provides the foundation for the many research projects at CNP. NCCS is also actively involved in improving the quality of nonprofit sector data by, among other initiatives, encouraging and supporting the use of electronic filing of required IRS forms for nonprofits. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- How Good Board Members Become Great Fundraisers by Bill Young

From the publisher: How Good Board Members Become Great Fundraisers If you are a veteran Board member or volunteer or ready to join a Board of Directors for a nonprofit, Bill Young's book conveys a proven system created over 15 years that will help you transform from a good Board member to a great fundraiser. Steeped in real-world fundraising experience, Bill has logged over 5,000 consulting and volunteer hours with several nonprofit Boards. His book, simple and to-the-point, helps you understand what can inhibit fundraising efforts and guides you through seven innovative strategies with specific steps. How Good Board Members Become Great Fundraisers is a new and innovative approach for nonprofit Board members challenged with raising funds in the marketplace where less money is available and limited time to devote to fundraising.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – More Children Living in High Poverty Areas

A new report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, using the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, indicates that after declining between 1990 and 2000, both the percent and the number of children living in high-poverty areas increased over the last decade. The 2006-10 five-year estimates produced by the American Community Survey replaced the decennial census for many data points and are the most recent data available to estimate concentrated poverty at the census-tract level. Estimates from 2006 through 2010 suggest that 7,879,000 children lived in areas of concentrated poverty. The percent of children living in these areas increased from 9 to 11 percent over the past decade. While two-thirds of children living in areas of concentrated poverty are in large cities, millions live outside urban areas in suburbs and rural communities. Overall, children living in rural areas (10 percent) and large cities (22 percent) are considerably more likely than those in suburbs (4 percent) to live in a community of concentrated poverty. Among the country’s 50 largest cities, Detroit (67 percent), Cleveland (57 percent), Miami (49 percent), Milwaukee (48 percent), Fresno (43 percent), and Atlanta (43 percent) have the highest rates of children living in areas of concentrated poverty. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – 25 Tips for Optimizing Online Communication with Volunteers

Energize, Inc. has compiled "25 Tips for Optimizing Online Communication with Volunteers" into a 5-page booklet. It is available as a free download at:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Clear Recent Documents List in Word 2010

• Click the File tab on the Ribbon
• Click Options in the left pane
• Click Advanced
• Scroll down to the Display section
• Change “Show this number of Recent Documents” to 0

If you want to turn the feature back on at any time, go back to this menu and choose a new number of files to display.