Monday, June 11, 2012

Picks of the Week: June 10 - 16, 2012

Website of the Week -- IdeaEncore
IdeaEncore is a user generated knowledge management and online file sharing system. IdeaEncore offers free and easy registration, online file sharing, some free file downloads and free file browsing. As a nonprofit resource center, IdeaEncore helps organizations to build their reputation, spread their mission, and create earned income by providing a nonprofit and social enterprise marketplace for document sharing. IdeaEncore's online file downloads and sharing services enable individuals and organizations to publish, browse, share, and retrieve files to better understand what peers in the nonprofit community are doing. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows
From the publisher:  In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth--the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet-- Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001. Meadows' newly released manuscript, Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute's Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life. Some of the biggest problems facing the world--war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation--are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.
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Trend of the Week – Volunteering in America 2011
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) hosts the most comprehensive collection of information on volunteering in the U.S. at its Web site: The site allows civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, and interested individuals to retrieve a wide range of information regarding trends and demographics in volunteering in their regions, states, and nearly 200 metro areas. Volunteering data has been collected every year since 2002. The current summary document highlights some of the key findings from the new data released in 2011. Key findings include:

  • Generation X stepped up their commitment in 2010, giving 2.3 billion hours of service—an increase of almost 110 million hours since 2009. Once
  • stereotyped as skeptical and disengaged, Generation X is showing signs of optimism that they can make a difference in their communities through service as they become more connected to local networks through their careers and their children.
  • Gen X members have more than doubled their volunteer rate between 1989 and the present day (2010). In 1989, 12.3 percent of Generation X members who were between 16 (the minimum age to participate in the survey) and 24 volunteered with an organization. By 2010, the Gen X volunteer rate had risen to 29.2 percent.1
  • The increases in volunteer rates seen among Generation X reflect an observable pattern in volunteering among different age groups that holds true year after year: The volunteer rate tends to be higher in teen years than in early adulthood, when the volunteering rate is typically at its second lowest point after very old age. In the mid- to late twenties, volunteering rates begin to pick up again, growing until they reach a peak around the time of middle age. After middle age, volunteering rates begin to drop as age increases.
For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – Emergency Succession Plan Template
The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has developed an Emergency Succession Plan Template. The purpose of the template is to define the contents of such a plan, and make this essential document easy to adapt and implement. The template includes plans for short-term, long-term and permanent executive director changes. The template includes a specific name or selection criteria would be established to select an acting executive director, a communications plan to notify board members, funders and other key stakeholders. The template also includes a thorough contact inventory. This will allow your organization to take important scattered information and place it all in one document, vital information in case of an emergency. The Center advises that this template should be built and reviewed annually with your organization’s board of directors. Go to:
Tech Tip of the Week -- Use Text-to-Speech in Excel 2007/2010
Text-to-speech was not included in the Excel 2007 Ribbon. To use this feature in Excel 2007/2010 you must first add it to the Quick Access Toolbar.  Here’s how:

·         Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar arrow
·         Click More Commands from the drop-down menu
·         From the Choose commands from list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
·         Scroll down and select the Speak Cells commands you want to use and click Add
·         Click OK when you are finished adding commands to your Quick Access Toolbar

Now you can select a group of cells to read back, click the speak button, and Excel will read your data.  Of course, you need speakers or a headset to hear it!  For more information on using this feature go to Converting text to speech in Excel.

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