Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Picks of the Week: October 28 - November 3, 2012

Website of the Week -- PerformWell
PerformWell is a collaborative effort initiated by Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions. PerformWell provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human services professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance. Information in PerformWell leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field. By providing information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes, PerformWell helps human services practitioners deliver more effective social programs. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement: Practical Tools for Busy Executives by Susan J. Ellis
From the publisher:  Lay the foundation for achieving impact with volunteer engagement! Move forward from thinking "volunteers are nice to have" to initiating strategic plans for engaging community members as key ingredients in accomplishing your organization's mission. Hit the ground running with step-by-step worksheets, checklists, idea stimulators, real life examples, self-inquiry assessments, and other practical how-to tools to: * Develop a philosophy statement about volunteers and make it a mantra for everyone in the organization * Create a budget for volunteer involvement * Secure funding for volunteer engagement * Write a position description (and pick the right title, salary, and placement) for a director of volunteer involvement * Integrate support for volunteers into every unit and department of your organization * Ask the right questions of your legal counsel and risk manager * Discover how the right volunteer can help you, the executive! * Assess staff training needs for working with volunteers * and much more.
Click to preview this book

Trend of the Week – How Social Media Influences Giving
This infographic at the website of Inspiring Generosity highlights some of the causes and campaigns that have succeeded and the growth social good has seen in recent years. While each campaign utilized online communication differently, they provide a great look into how non-profits can harness social media and use it for widespread change. Here are some key stats from the infographic that highlight the evolution of charitable giving and how online activism is changing the non-profit industry:

  • 80% of Gen Yers have donated financially or with goods/services in past 12 months.
  • Nearly 50% of web users surveyed by the Red Cross said they would use social media in an emergency.
  • 1 in 5 adults have donated to charity online.
  • Prior to 2010, $1 million had been donated to causes through mobile devices. After the earthquake in Haiti, that number jumped to $50 million.
To learn more about the impact social media has had on giving back and the evolution of “social good” since the Haiti Earthquake, check out the infographic at:

Resource of the Week – Tutorials on Social Media
SocialBrite has prepared a collection of online guides on how to use blogs, Facebook, Twitter & more. The tutorials help show nonprofits, cause organizations, businesses and individuals how to effectively use social media, divided by subject area: • Social media, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Video & multimedia, Fundraising, Mobile, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest and more. Also  see the Sharing Center listing of posts on resources, tools and video interviews. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Excel 2010 Sparklines

A new feature in Excel 2010 called Sparklines can help you spot trends in your data. Sparklines are tiny charts that sit on top of a cell. Here’s how to create them:
·         Select an empty cell or group of empty cells where you want to insert Sparklines
·         Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
·         In the Sparklines group, click the type of Sparkline you want to create 
·         In the Data box, enter the range of cells that contain the data to base the Sparklines on

Monday, October 22, 2012

Picks of the Week: October 21 - 27, 2012

Website of the Week -- The Communications Network
Formed nearly 20 years ago as a membership association, the Communications Network today is a stand-alone nonprofit organization that promotes the use of consistent, strategic communications as an integral part of effective philanthropy. The Network connects communications professionals working in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector to each other for guidance and mentoring and regularly sponsors learning and networking opportunities through webinars and the annual conference. Today, the Network’s membership represents a wide range of foundation communications leaders and consultants who work to advance communications strategies and practices in all mediums. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Nonprofit Financial Management: A Practical Guide by Charles K. Coe
From the publisher:  Nonprofits vary from organization to organization, each with its own mission, funding sources, and organizational structure. One denominator is common with all nonprofits: each must have a sound financial management system in order to be accountable to its funders and perform capably. Written in plain English with straightforward guidance, Nonprofit Financial Management: A Practical Guide assists all nonprofits, from the smallest to the largest and most financially sophisticated, to manage their finances responsibly and professionally. Nonprofit Financial Management addresses federal reporting requirements and discusses methods to decrease expenses, ensure accounting control, and increase revenues through professional cash management. It explains how to read financial statements and analyze a nonprofit's financial condition by using the most recent IRS 990 reporting form. It is the first book to cover concisely all of the principal financial management subjects. It covers a full range of financial management topics, including accounting, internal controls, auditing, evaluating financial condition, budgeting, cash management and banking, purchasing and contracting, borrowing, and risk management. Written in an easy-to-read style, this book includes more than 100 exhibits, including thorough lists of best practices for you to keep in mind and include in your own work, covering a variety of real-life situations.
Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Use of Digital Communications on Rise In Foundations
Communications professionals at America’s grantmaking foundations are responding to the digital age, according to a new survey. The survey of 155 foundation communicators shows U.S. foundations are making use of all forms digital communications, especially social media, a top priority. The survey results suggest the growth of social media and other emerging digital technologies is changing the way foundations communicate with target audiences. Almost half of foundation communicators surveyed (47%) said they work for organizations that have blogs and three-quarters (76%) host videos on their websites. On average, respondents estimated that a quarter (24%) of their communications dollars in 2011 would be spent on electronic communications, more than any other tactic, although printed annual reports and other print publications still consume a sizeable share of the communications budget. Increasing capacity for new media and related digital work was cited as a high internal priority by 60 percent of survey participants, more than any other response. The survey also shows that reaching and influencing policy-makers were among the highest communications priorities cited by foundation communicators. Close to half of the respondents (47%) said that influencing public policy-makers was a high-priority objective. In fact, more respondents (55%) rated policy-makers as a “high-priority” target audience than any other group, although community leaders (53%) and current grantees (52%) followed closely. To download the report, go to:

Resource of the Week – A Short Guide to Consensus Building
Robert's Rules of Order is a fine way to run a formal meeting or a town hall vote, but too rigid for a business meeting where the agenda is to build consensus behind decisions. This is a freely available excerpt from the 1999 book, The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement, by Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer, and posted by the Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School. This chapter, "Short Guide to Consensus Building," provides a no-frills, step-by-step approach to running a creative, productive meeting, down to the level of how to invite participants who might be assuming a legal liability by attending. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Creating a PowerPoint Presentation Using Word 2007/2010

To use a Word document to create a PowerPoint presentation
·        Format the document using Word heading styles
·        PowerPoint uses the heading styles in your Word document to set up the slides in a presentation ̶ each Heading 1 becomes the title of a new slide, and each Heading 2 becomes the first level of text
·        You must apply a heading format to the text you want to include in a slide
·        You can manually insert heading styles or create a document using Word outline

To create a Word Outline
·        Click the View menu
·        Click Outline in the Document Views group
·        Type your outline using Tab to add subheadings (promote)
·        Press Shift Tab to decrease the indent (demote)
·        You can also use the Promote and Demote buttons on the Ribbon
·        Save your outline

To Insert Outline Text from Word into PowerPoint
·        In PowerPoint, click the Outline tab in the left pane
·        Click the Home tab of the Ribbon
·        In the Slides group, click the arrow next to New Slide
·        Click Slides from Outline

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Picks of the Week: October 14 - 20, 2012

Website of the Week -- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is one of the nation’s premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. The Center conducts research and develops policy options to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates. Over the past two decades, the Center has gained a reputation for producing materials that are balanced, authoritative, accessible to non-specialists, and responsive to issues currently before the country. The Center’s materials are used by policymakers and non-profit organizations across the political spectrum, as well as by journalists from a variety of media outlets. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Inspired Philanthropy: Creating a Giving Plan
From the publisher:  If you want to change the world, you'll want to read Inspired Philanthropy. Tracy Gary and Melissa Kohner show you how social change happens. No matter how much or little you have to give, you'll learn how to create a giving plan that will make your charitable giving catalytic. Then, through clear text and substantive exercises, you'll learn how to align your giving with your deepest values-- to help bring about the very changes you want.
Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Foundation Payout Trends
The vast majority of U.S. grantmaking foundations are required by law to distribute 5 percent of their investment assets annually for charitable purposes. While this requirement is commonly known, it is often not well understood. Understanding and Benchmarking Foundation Payout demystifies the concept of payout while addressing common misperceptions. It also delivers first-ever trend information detailing the payout practices of the largest U.S. foundations. Among key findings from the new report: 

·         Most large endowed independent foundations paid out at or above the 5 percent required payout level during the period 2007 to 2009

·         Nearly one-in-five endowed foundations had payout rates at or above 10 percent

·         Few operating characteristics beyond endowment size were associated with consistently higher or lower payout rate practices, and variation was modest

·         Nearly one-in-10 endowed foundations had payout rates of less than 5 percent, generally due

·         to carryover of undistributed income or rapid growth in their assets

·         The decision to have a limited lifespan coincided with much higher payout levels for family foundations

To download the free report summary, go to:


Resource of the Week – Essential Guide to End-of-Year Fundraising
The Essential Guide to End of Year Fundraising e-book is available as a free download The book takes basic fundraising principles to the next level with practical advice and effective tips for using online resources to enhance any end-of-year giving campaign. Employing email, social media and other online tactics, nonprofit organizations can gain insight on:
·         Making the ask with direct, powerful content
·         Three key dates for reaching supporters
·         Integrating messages across multiple channels
·         The importance of repetition in messaging and response

Aquick read with easy to understand language and advice you can start using immediately, The Essential Guide to End of Year Fundraising will help your campaign be a success. To download the guide, go to: You will be asked to provide contact information.
Tech Tip of the Week -- Calculate the Days, Months or Years between Dates in Excel
Use the DatedIf function to calculate the interval between dates in Excel. Here's how:

 Enter the function into a cell

 =DATEDIF ( start_date , end_date, unit )

 For example, to calculate the number of months between two dates, if the start date is in cell D2 and the end date is in cell E2 you could enter this formula into cell F2:

To learn more about this function, go to to the Microsoft website  or watch a YouTube video . This tip works in Excel 2007 and 2010, as well as earlier versions.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Picks of the Week: October 7-13, 2012

Website of the Week -- The Bridgespan Group Re-Launched
The Bridgespan Group has announced the re-launch of its Web site,. The site will feature the same top quality strategy content as always but will be adding more on leadership and philanthropy, increasing our interactive capabilities, hosting more events and increasing associated blog output. Bridgespan is combining two of its sites, and, to provide more of a “one stop shop” so that sector leaders have access our job board, case studies, white papers, diagnostic tools and to talent, and more leadership development content all in one place. The site also serves as a resource for members of the media covering these issue. The Bridgespan Group ( is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. Services include strategy consulting, executive search, and leadership development, philanthropy advising, and developing and sharing practical insights Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Fundraising and the Next Generation, + Website: Tools for Engaging the Next Generation of Philanthropists by Emily Davis
From the publisher:  Fundraising and the Next Generation brings readers up to date on cases, research, opportunities, and challenges regarding philanthropy's next generation. Readers will learn practical strategies for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of Gen X and Y philanthropists using new technologies and traditional tools. Fundraising and the Next Generation covers the behaviors, key characteristics, and approaches for working with philanthropists under the age of forty. In addition, other age cohorts will be discussed to provide perspective, comparison, and related strategies.  
·         Includes step-by-step tools for setting up next gen technology in your organization and engaging Gen X and Y as donors
·         Features a glossary of social media terms, a list of academic resources for development and professional advancement, and an assessment toolkit
·         Defines the key characteristics of the four current generations, their habits for charitable giving, and how every development office can successfully engage them in philanthropy
·         Provides a website with additional information beyond the book

Savvy fundraising leaders understand that successful and sustained philanthropy is not just an issue for today. Long-term planning and diversified strategies allow fundraisers to access every prospective contribution possible. Timely and relevant, Fundraising and the Next Generation brings readers up to date on cases, research, opportunities, and challenges regarding philanthropy's next generation.
Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Report Calls for Renewed Focus on African American Men and Boys
Pointing to structural inequities in education, health systems, housing, employment and criminal justice, a new report from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations calls for a renewed commitment to African American men and boys on the part of philanthropy. Last year, Soros and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg each pledged $30 million to fund a New York City-based program aimed at improving life outcomes for men of color. Soros used the report’s release as an occasion to call other philanthropists to join him in similar funding strategies, such as the California Community Foundation’s focus on African American youth in the juvenile delinquency system. Key findings of the report, “Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys,” include: 
·         Foundation funding explicitly designated to benefit black men and boys held steady in recent years, rising modestly from $22 million in 2008 to nearly $29 million in 2010.
·         Education was the top priority of grants explicitly in support of black males, receiving 40 percent of grant dollars.
·         Most foundation dollars explicitly targeting black men and boys provided program support (87 percent).
·         Recipient organizations in the South received the largest share (32 percent) of foundation dollars explicitly intended to benefit black males. The Northeast received 30 percent of funding.

To download the report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Guiding Principles and Practices for Nonprofits
Over the last several years, state associations of nonprofit organizations have embarked on a thoughtful process of identifying and recording the principles by which nonprofits in their state should operate. Some state associations have adapted principles developed in other states for use by the nonprofits in their own states. Others have developed not only principles of practice, but also workbooks for use in introducing and raising awareness among board and staff members about their state’s principles.  While there is no single standard of “best practices” that applies to all nonprofit organizations, these state by state efforts offer important resources to most nonprofits, regardless of location. The National Council of Nonprofits has gathered together in one place  such efforts by 19 state associations.  Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using the Windows SkyDrive in Office 2010
An amazing tool in Office 2010 is the SkyDrive. With the SkyDrive you can store documents in a central location -- the cloud --  and access them from wherever you are. To use the SkyDrive with Office 2010 you need a Windows Live ID. To Save a Document to the SkyDrive in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint:
·         Open the file you want to save
·         Click the File tab on the Ribbon
·         Click Save & Send in the left pane
·         Click Save to Web
·         Click Sign In, enter your Windows Live ID and password
·         Click OK

Your document is now saved to the SkyDrive and you can view and edit it from wherever you are or give others permission to view or edit it. This article from Microsoft Using Office Web Apps in SkyDrive can help you get started! Previous versions of Office require you to download an Add-in before you can use the SkyDrive feature.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Picks of the Week: September 30 - October 6, 2012

Website of the Week -- FIELD at the Aspen Institute
FIELD's mission is to identify, develop and disseminate best practices in the microenterprise field, and to educate funders, policy makers and others about microenterprise as an anti-poverty strategy. FIELD is a project of the Economic Opportunities Program (EOP), which is a policy program housed at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. EOP focuses on advancing strategies that connect the poor and underemployed to the mainstream economy.  FIELD was created in 1998 to build on the momentum generated by the Self-Employment Learning Project (SELP), an evaluation and public education program that was the leading information resource on microenterprise in the U.S. at that time. Given those origins, many of SELP's senior staff and consultants played critical roles in the creation of FIELD, and remain in key positions today. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week --  Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine
From the publisher:  Having a social media measurement plan and approach can no longer be an after-thought. It is a requirement of success. As nonprofits refine their social media practice, their boards are expecting reports showing results. As funders provide dollars to support programs that include social media, they too want to see results. This book offers the tools and strategies needed for nonprofits that need reliable and measurable data from their social media efforts. Using these tools will not only improve a nonprofit's decision making process but will produce results-driven metrics for staff and stakeholders.

·         A hands-on resource for nonprofit professionals who must be able to accurately measure the results of their social media ventures
·         Written by popular nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter and measurement expert Katie Delahaye Paine
·         Filled with tools, strategies, and illustrative examples that are highly accessible for nonprofit professionals

This important resource will give savvy nonprofit professionals the information needed to produce measurable results for their social media. 
Click to preview this book

Trend of the Week – Nonprofits and Cloud Computing
In 2012, TechSoup Global and its network of partners conducted a survey of NGOs, nonprofits, and charities around the world. The goal of the survey was to better understand the current state of their tech infrastructure and their future plans for adopting cloud technologies. More than 10,500 responses from 88 countries were received. The key results of the 2012 TechSoup Global Cloud Computing Survey include: 

·         90% of respondents worldwide are using at least one cloud computing application.
·         53% report plans to move a “significant portion” of their IT to the cloud within three years.
·         60% say lack of knowledge is the greatest barrier to greater use of the cloud.
·         79% say the greatest advantage is easier software or hardware administration.
·         47% say cost-related changes and ease of setup would be the greatest motivators for moving their IT to the cloud.
·         NGOs in Egypt, Mexico, India, and South Africa have the most accelerated timetables for moving their IT to the cloud.

For more information, go to:

Resource of the Week – More Money for More Good - Free Nonprofit Fundraising Guidebook
To raise more money, nonprofits need to tell donors how the organizations’ work is making a difference, counsels a new fundraising guide. The guides More Money for More Good gives nonprofits concrete ways to put Money for Good II findings into action and raise more money. The manual is based on a study that found donors would be willing to shift $15-billion in giving to high-performing nonprofits if they had easy access to good information about the organizations’ work. The study, conducted by GuideStar, the nonprofit online publisher of data on charities, and Hope Consulting, was based on surveys of more than 5,000 donors, 875 donor advisers, and 725 foundation officials.  To download the free guide, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Free Microsoft Office Tutorials
The Goodwill Community Foundation, a program of Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC, Inc.®,  has made available “online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life.” 
Their free courses include interactive lessons and videos and are an excellent way to learn Microsoft Office as well as some other important topics such as Mobile Apps and Google Docs. Check it out: