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.

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