Monday, January 21, 2013

Picks of the Week: January 20 - 26, 2013

Website of the Week --  Association for Community Organization and Social Administration
ACOSA is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, students and educators. ACOSA will keep you informed of the latest innovations in community and administrative practice as well as provide you with a variety of opportunities for networking and professional advancement. ACOSA sponsors the Journal of Community Practice, the leading peer reviewed journal in this field. Academics and practitioners who are engaged in community practice are invited to submit articles for review and publication in the Journal. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- How to Make Your Board Dramatically More Effective, Starting Today by Gayle L. Gifford
From the publisher:  A high-performing, diligent board that takes its responsibilities seriously is the Holy Grail of nearly every nonprofit in the U.S. Such a board means more money raised, swifter policy decisions, steady governance, and less Advil for the CEO. But can you realistically get there from here? Can you put your average or good board on the road to greatness? Indeed you can, says Gayle Gifford, and you're closer than you think. Gifford's approach is as fresh as a morning-picked berry. She doesn't lecture, doesn't scold, doesn't harangue. Instead she challenges your board to transform itself by answering a series of probing questions. As your board answers (and sometimes debates) each one, they simultaneously take stock of the overall job they're doing - or not doing. All without delay or the help of an expensive board consultant!

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising
The newly released study UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising reveals that many nonprofits are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed. A joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the report found high levels of turnover and lengthy vacancies in development director positions throughout the sector. More significantly, the study reveals deeper issues that contribute to instability in the development director role, including a lack of basic fundraising systems and inadequate attention to fund development among key board and staff leaders. To download the report, go to:

Resource  of the Week – Equitable Development Toolkit
Equitable development is an approach to creating healthy, vibrant, communities of opportunity. Equitable outcomes come about when smart, intentional strategies are put in place to ensure that low-income communities and communities of color participate in and benefit from decisions that shape their neighborhoods and regions. This online toolkit  developed by PolicyLink includes 27 tools to reverse patterns of segregation and disinvestment, prevent displacement, and promote equitable revitalization. To view all tools or by issue area, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Section Breaks in a Word 2007/2010 Document
Section breaks are used to:
·         Change the layout from a single-column to two columns
·         Change the orientation from portrait to landscape
·         Separate chapters/sections of a document to control page numbering
·         Create a different header or footer for a section of your document

To insert a section break:

·         Click where you want to insert a Section Break or select a portion of the document around which to insert a pair of section breaks
·         Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon
·         In the Page Setup group, click Breaks
·         Under Section Breaks, click the desired type

Monday, January 14, 2013

Picks of the Week: January 13 - 19, 2013

Website of the Week --  Center for Community Change
The mission of the Center for Community Change is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to have a significant impact in improving their communities and the policies and institutions that affect their lives. The Center for Community Change strengthens, connects and mobilizes grassroots groups to enhance their leadership, voice and power. The Center believes that vibrant community-based organizations, led by the people most affected by social and economic injustice, are key to putting an end to the failed "on your own" mentality of the right and building a new politics based on community values. Founded in 1968 to honor the life and values of Robert F. Kennedy, the Center is one of the longest-standing champions for low-income people and communities of color. Together, Center staff and dynamic partners confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Raising More with Less: An Essential Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Professionals and Board Members by Amy Eisenstein
From the publisher:  Raising More with Less will take you step-by-step through creating or improving your nonprofit organization’s development program, whether you have no paid fundraising staff members or are fortunate enough to have one full-time staffer or more. It is written for the reader who is in (or will be creating) a small development shop with just one person or only a few to handle fundraising. Amy Eisenstein, MPA, CFRE is also the author of 50 A$ks in 50 Weeks: A Guide to Better Fundraising for Your Small Development Shop and is a contributing author to You and Your Nonprofit: Practical Advice and Tips from the CharityChannel Professional Community. This book is for you if you are any of these:
·         Just starting a career in fundraising.
·         An executive director or CEO of a nonprofit.
·         Responsible for an organization that has limited or no history or experience with fundraising.
·         A board member or other volunteer who has been charged with the responsibility of leading fundraising efforts.
·         Are a seasoned fundraising professional and want to brush up on the basics and get some new ideas.
·         Have become stale and want to become reenergized and reinvigorated about fundraising.

Trend of the Week – Real Time Charitable Giving
Charitable donations from mobile phones have grown more common in recent years. Two thirds (64%) of American adults now use text messaging, and 9% have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone. And these text donors are emerging as a new cohort of charitable givers. The first-ever, in-depth study on mobile donors—which analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign after the 2010 earthquake—finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks. Three quarters of these donors (73%) contributed using their phones on the same day they heard about the campaign, and a similar number (76%) say that they typically make text message donations without conducting much in-depth research beforehand. Yet while their initial contribution often involved little deliberation, 43% of these donors encouraged their friends or family members to give to the campaign as well. In addition, a majority of those surveyed (56%) have continued to give to more recent disaster relief efforts—such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan—using their mobile phones. These are among the findings of a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society, in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the mGive Foundation. To access the study, go to:

Resource of the Week – Nonprofit Organization Board and Staff Training for Nonprofit and Faith-Based Organizations
This comprehensive curriculum, developed by the Southern Rural Development Center, addresses the higher standards of responsibility and accountability of nonprofit boards. It  outlines the typical duties and responsibilities of officers of the organization, board members, organization staff and individuals responsible for volunteer supervision and more. The curriculum also addresses the importance of and methods for building positive board-staff, board-board chair, board-chair and staff and staff-volunteer relations. It touches on guidelines for dealing with fragmented boards and apathetic boards. The curriculum also includes workshop materials. To download the 348 page curriculum, go to:

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, January 7, 2013

Picks of the Week: January 6 - 12, 2013

Website of the Week --  Leading Transitions
Leading Transitions, a consulting firm founded and led by Mindy Lubar Price, strengthens non-profit organizations through assessment, education and empowerment of leadership during periods of transition and change. Leading Transitions uses time-tested, healthy principles to work with executive directors, boards of directors and senior staff to increase their operating capacities. Committed to the future vitality of nonprofit organizations, Leading Transitions recognizes the inherent challenges in leadership succession, fund development and executive support. The practice has been refined to provide the flexibility necessary to adapt to the intricacies and dynamics of any non-profit organization. At the site, the newest and most exciting resources you will find are the Succession Planning Toolkits presented at the Executive Transition Initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Succession Planning Conference. There is a summary booklet that covers all types of nonprofit succession planning and three toolkits on each specific type: 
·        Departure Defined Succession Planning -- Provides a roadmap through an upcoming and anticipated executive transition in an organization.
·        Emergency Succession Planning -- Provides the information and tools needed to create an emergency succession plan that is unique to a specific organization's needs.
·        Strategic Leadership Succession Planning -- Provides a road through the ongoing and evolving succession planning and leadership development needs in an organization.

To visit the website and access the toolkits, go to:

Publication of the Week -- Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work by Leslie A. Perlow
From the publisher:  Does it have to be this way? Can’t resist checking your smartphone or mobile device? Sure, all this connectivity keeps you in touch with your team and the office—but at what cost? In Sleeping with Your Smartphone, Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow reveals how you can disconnect and become more productive in the process. In fact, she shows that you can devote more time to your personal life and accomplish more at work. The good news is that this doesn’t require a grand organizational makeover or buy-in from the CEO. All it takes is collaboration between you and your team—working together and making small, doable changes. 

Trend of the Week – Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies
A survey of a wide-ranging mix of U.S.-based arts organizations shows that the internet, social media, and mobile connectivity now permeate their operations and have changed the way they stage performances, mount and showcase their exhibits, engage their audiences, sell tickets, and raise funds. These organizations are even finding that technology has changed the very definition of art: 77% of respondents agree with the statement that the internet has “played a major role in broadening the boundaries of what is considered art.” Some 1,244 arts organizations that have received funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in recent years took this survey. Key findings include: 
·        81% of the organizations in this survey say the internet and digital technologies are “very  important” for promoting the arts
·        78% say these technologies are “very important” for increasing audience engagement
·        50% “strongly agree” with the statement that the internet “has increased engagement in
·        the arts by providing a public platform through which more people can share their work”
·        65% say digital technologies are “very important” for fundraising
·        A majority of these organizations also agree that the internet is “very important” in
·        increasing organizational efficiency (63%), and for their engaging in arts advocacy (55%).

The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. To read or download the full report, go to:

Resource of the Week –  Diversity Data Resources
The Diversity Data project, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, provides metropolitan-area level data regarding a number of indicators of diversity, opportunity, quality of life and health for various racial and ethnic population groups. This resource is available to a wide variety of potential users interested in describing, profiling and ranking U.S. metros in terms of quality of life. The indicators provide a scorecard on diversity and opportunity, and allow researchers, policymakers and community advocates to compare metro areas and to help them advocate for policy action and social change. The choice of indicators was grounded in recent work on urban inequality and health inequality, which points to the significance of racial/ethnic disparities in health, educational, employment and housing opportunities across metro areas.  The Diversity Data project challenges urban researchers, policymakers and activists to define quality of life and health broadly -- to include opportunities for good schools, housing, jobs, wages, health and social services, and safe neighborhoods -- to compare achievement across metros, and to make continuous changes to keep metropolitan life healthy for all populations. Public policies may enhance or harm the well-being of diverse populations. Important policy areas include neighborhood integration, residential mobility, anti-discrimination in housing, urban renewal, school quality and economic opportunities. To access this resource, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Templates for Office

Trying to set up records for the coming year? Microsoft offers free templates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office programs, which can help you organize your business and your home. Click to download templates