Monday, August 27, 2012

Picks of the Week: August 26 - September 1, 2012

Website of the Week -- FSG
FSG is a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in strategy, evaluation, and research. We were founded in 2000 as Foundation Strategy Group. Today, FSG’s international teams work across sectors by partnering with foundations, corporations, nonprofits, and governments in every region of the globe to develop more effective solutions to the world’s most challenging social issues. The  goal is to help organizations and companies – individually and collectively – achieve greater and more effective social change.  Working with many of the world’s leading corporations, nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations, FSG has completed more than 400 consulting engagements around the world. FSG regularly publishes research reports and papers, and influential articles in Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review. FSG is also frequently featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Forbes and NPR, amongst others Be sure to check out the Knowledge Exchange, an interactive hub for ideas, research, and discussions about social impact.  Go to:

Publication of the Week --  The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace by Ed Keller and Brad Fay
From the publisher:  IN 1848 gold was discovered in California, setting off a frenzy that sent men and women from across the American continent flocking to the West Coast in search of fortune. The Gold Rush brought wealth to some, but most left empty-handed. Today, marketing consultants Ed Keller and Brad Fay say social media is unleashing a new kind of frenzy. Blinded by the shiny allure of sites like Facebook and Twitter, companies are spending billions, pinning their hopes on social media marketing without appreciating how social influence truly functions in the marketplace. That’s where Keller and Fay come in. For the past six years, they have undertaken a unique, ongoing study of consumer conversations. The surprising result? Over 90 percent of consumer conversations still take place offline, primarily face to face. The implication is clear: Social media is big and growing, but it is dwarfed by the real world in which people live and interact. Make no mistake. There is a hugely important social wave rolling across the world of business today. New scientific evidence reveals that we humans are fundamentally social beings for whom social influence determines nearly every decision we make. And the greatest impact comes when those conversations happen face to face, as emotions and nonverbal cues are communicated along with words. In The Face-to-Face Book, Keller and Fay offer key insights and recommendations for how businesses, both large and small, can best succeed in today’s socially motivated consumer marketplace by looking at how consumers act in real life as well as online. The authors share their extensive research and the stories of companies—large, such as Apple, General Mills, Kimberly–Clark, and Toyota, as well as innovative small businesses—that have hit pay dirt with a balanced and holistic approach to social marketing.

Trend of the Week – Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers
New research indicates nonprofit mergers can contribute to the stability of the nonprofit environment and that certain factors, when employed in the merger process, add to the mergers' success. Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers, a study of 41 direct service organization mergers in Minnesota, is now available from MAP for Nonprofits and Wilder Research. Findings include:

  • At least one merger partner in the majority of the mergers studied faced some financial problems pre-merger, however, overall the mergers were pursued for a combination of strategic and survival motives.
  • In the short term, the merged organization’s cash position (current ratios) declined, however, the longer-term financial picture (debt ratios) improved.
  • Nonprofit executives play a key merger role. Eighty-five percent of the mergers had an executive champion and 80 percent of the mergers had a departing executive (for example, a planned retirement.) This finding, combined with an expected wave of executive retirements in the next decade, points to a timely opportunity.
  • Strong working relationships between nonprofit executives prior to merger was found to be a predictor of post-merger outcomes in service preservation, improved image and financial sustainability.
  • Strong board involvement prior to merger was another predictor of positive post-merger outcomes, specifically in image or reputation.
  • Communicating with and involving line staff in merger planning and preparations was positively associated with merger outcomes like service quality and expansion, financial stability, organizational reputation and alignment of staffing with needs.
  • Involving funders in the process was found to result in positive outcomes, such as the preservation of services, financial stability and organizational alignment with client needs.

Resource of the Week – Free Business E-Books from, founded in Denmark in 1988, publishes education related books for business professionals and students. In 2005 the company made a strategic leap and became the first book publishing company in the world to focus 100% on free eBooks. The books are about 50 pages long and they are tailored to be read in two or three hours, which is the available time a reader has on a flight, a train journey, an evening in a hotel or at home after the kids are put to bed. The books have a hands-on approach: you can read them today and use them tomorrow. The books, like many print an online publications, contain some display advertising  To access the 500+ business book collection, go to: 

Tech Tip of the Week -- Display the First Name in Excel
Have you ever received an Excel list of names with the first and last name in a single cell?  If you would like to display just the first name, try this:

For example, if your list (for example "NAMES") is in Column A, type this formula in column B (in our example "FIRST NAME"): =LEFT(A2,FIND(" ",A2)-1)

Copy this formula down to each row containing the names. But remember, the first names in column B are still a formula and can’t easily be moved or copied.  You may want to copy the cells containing this formula back to their original position using Paste Special to convert the formula into a value: 

·         Select the column by clicking the column name  
·         Choose Copy 
·         Right click and choose Paste Special from the short-cut menu 
·         Choose Values and click OK 

This tip works in Excel 2007 and 2010. You can also use Text to Columns  to accomplish this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Picks of the Week: August 19 - 25, 2012

Website of the Week -- DIY Committee Guide
This remarkable website is full of useful resources.. The DIY Committee Guide website is structured around the Code of Good Governance for the Voluntary and Community Sector This site was originally developed in 2005 by the Volunteer Development Agency (now Volunteer Now) in Northern Ireland in partnership with 14 other organizations.  It provides a central point of access to a wide range of practical, user-friendly resources developed by groups across the nonprofit sector in Northern Ireland and beyond. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement by Susan J. Ellis
From the publisher:  A bestseller since 1986, this fully revised third edition of FROM THE TOP DOWN has been updated to reflect many changes and trends in the world and in volunteerism. It points the way to success with volunteers by showing how to: *Articulate a vision and strategy for volunteer involvement *Make the most of the connection between money donors and time donors *Avoid tension between volunteers and employees *Tap new community resources, from pro bono service to voluntourism *Budget for and creatively fund volunteer efforts *Find the best person to lead volunteer participation *Manage risk, legal, and insurance issues realistically *Distinguish between the wage replacement cost of volunteer time and its true value *Demonstrate executive commitment on a daily basis Whether an organization is just starting out with a new volunteer initiative or has many years of experience with a well-developed corps of volunteers, FROM THE TOP DOWN provides thought-provoking and thoughtful advice to achieve the maximum impact from the participation of volunteers.

Click topreview this book on

Trend of the Week – Location of High Performing Nonprofits in America
Where are the most high-performing charities in America? Charity Navigator’s 2012 Metro Market Study reveals the regional differences in the performance of the nation’s largest charities. Not all U.S. cities have equally high performing charities, according to a study by Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. The study revealed that large charities in markets such as Portland, Milwaukee and Kansas City have a greater commitment to ethical best practices than those in Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. It is the only comprehensive report on the performance – both financial health and accountability & transparency – of the 30 largest philanthropic marketplaces in America. For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – Leadership Development Toolkit: Creating Your Nonprofit’s Plan A
The Bridgespan Group has prepared a guide to leadership development at nonprofits, Plan A: How Successful Nonprofits Develop Their Future Leaders. This kit features a growing list of materials through which you can explore the topic. The goal is to help you create a proactive, systematic approach to leadership development that can be considered within your nonprofit’s day-to-day operations. To access the leadership development kit, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- PowerPoint 2010: Presentations that Pop
This manual is just one of many excellent resources which can be downloaded for free from Tufts University Information Technology Training and DocumentationDepartment  Following are the topics covered:

·        Use the Slide Master to manage the different aspects of multiple slides in a single presentation
·        Insert (embed or link) charts into a presentation
·        Add a video to a presentation
·        Embed a video from a web site such as YouTube into a presentation
·        Add a sound file to a presentation
·        Share slides between presentations
·        Use built-in PowerPoint tools to position elements on a slide
·        Create hyperlinks in a presentation
·        Create a custom slide show
·        Apply techniques to enhance your presentation skills
·        Annotate slides during a presentation

To download this document, go to Presentations that Pop.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Picks of the Week: August 5 - 18, 2012

Website of the Week -- LawForChange
LawForChange is a unique legal resource for people and organizations dedicated to improving lives and bringing about positive social change. This site combines in one place a broad menu of legal information prepared by leading law firms and lawyers and specifically tailored to the needs of social sector organizations in the United States. Its intended audience includes social entrepreneurs and innovators, social enterprises, charities, community organizations, philanthropies, faith-based organizations and all manner of nonprofit organizations. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Nonprofit Asset Management: Effective Investment Strategies and Oversight by Matthew Rice, Robert A. DiMeo and Matthew Porter
From the publisher:  Nonprofit Asset Management is a timely guide for managing endowment, foundation, and other nonprofit assets. Taking you through each phase of the process to create an elegant and simple framework for the prudent oversight of assets, this book covers setting investment objectives; investment policy; asset allocation strategies; investment manager selection; alternative asset classes; and how to establish an effective oversight system to ensure the program stays on track.

  • Takes you through each phase of the process to create an elegant and simple framework for the prudent oversight of nonprofit assets
  • A practical guide for fiduciaries of endowment, foundation, and other nonprofit funds
  • Offers step-by-step guidance for the effective investment management of assets
Created as a practical guide for fiduciaries of nonprofit funds—board members and internal business managers—Nonprofit Asset Management is a much-needed, step-by-step guide to the effective investment management of nonprofit assets.
Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Major Trends Impacting Nonprofits
In a recent conference presentation in St. Louis, Professor Robert Reich, associate professor of political science at Stanford University, summarized major trends continuing to impact nonprofits. Five macro trends include:

  • Local, state and federal deficits, which can lead to decreased support for some organizations dependent on government funding
  • Comprehensive tax reform, which may depress individuals' incentive to donate since the deduction for charitable contributions might not mean as much.
  • Post-Citizens United world in which some nonprofits are becoming political agents, alienating some donors. Politicized nonprofit organizations can be seen as interest groups, and that can taint the trust of donors.
  • Dysfunctional federal political system, which Reich said "needed no explanation."
  • Blurring of the boundaries between nonprofits and for-profit organizations as nonprofits act like for-profits, and for-profit organizations adopt social missions like nonprofits.
Reich also discussed five more micro trends he believes might affect nonprofit organizations.

  • New modes of giving, especially online giving. Reich said the biggest days for online giving are Dec. 30-31 as the tax year closes.
  • Impact investing: By making seed investments in new start up for-profit organizations that support nonprofit causes, nonprofits can attempt to attract investors and donors.
  • Focus on measurable outcomes: Organizations should track what they are doing so donors know where their money has made the most impact. This will keep donors because they are promised outcomes from their donations.
  • New organizational forms that combine traits from for-profit organizations and nonprofit organizations. An organization uses business tools to create revenue, but it is not required to make a profit for shareholders so it can freely provide social services.
  • Inequality can both increase demand for services but also create a potential source of new donors. Reich said more Americans have the resources to become donors..
Go to:!/content/26140/changes_in_charitable_giving

Resource of the Week – Basics in Internal Organizational Communications
This section of the Free Management Library is geared to provide practical suggestions for nonprofit leaders and managers to ensure sufficient communications within their nonprofits. Topics include: common causes of problems in internal communications; key principles to effective internal communications; basic structures/policies to support effective internal communications; supervisor and employee communications; develop a basic communications plan. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Combining Text from Two Cells in Excel
In Microsoft Excel you can combine the text in two or more cells into a single text string by using “concatenation”.  The result is displayed in the cell where you type the formula.

For example, If you have a worksheet that contains the First name in cell A1 and the Last name in cell B1, enter the following expression in cell C1 to create a text string that displays the values of the First and Last names separated by a space:  =A1&" "&B1

Be sure to put a space between the double quotes in the expression. Copy this formula down to each row containing the names. Then copy the cells containing this formula back to their original position using Paste Special to convert the formula into a value:

·         Select the column by clicking the column name
·         Choose Copy
·         Right click and choose Paste Special from the short-cut menu
·         Choose Values and click OK

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