Thursday, June 20, 2013

Picks of the Week: June 9 - 22, 2013

Website of the Week --  Marguerite Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation is dedicated to creating a movement of working families advocating on their own behalf for change. The work of the Foundation is guided by the firm belief that significant positive change is not only possible, but absolutely necessary. Within this framework, the Marguerite Casey Foundation seeks to do the following:
  • Support and nurture strong, vibrant activism within and among families, enabling them to advocate for their own interests and improve the public and private systems that impact their lives.
  • Examine, change and inform the advancement of social and economic policies and practices that promote the development of strong families and strong communities.
  • Encourage the development of a coherent knowledge base for advocates, families and the organizations that serve them.
  • Invest in system change and cross-system change in order to generate greater knowledge and provide effective working models for practice.
Go to:

Publication of the Week -- You and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field's Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs edited by Terrie Temkin
From the publisher: Terrie Temkin guides a star-studded cast of collaborators in creating a board volume that delivers the wisdom of the nonprofit world's leading practitioners, researchers, and provocateurs. This easily-digestible book is a must for board directors and anyone who is interested in effective nonprofit leadership. The focused, short-essay format makes it easy for the reader to absorb the authors' thinking on a variety of topics: some traditional—such as board member roles and responsibilities, recruitment, meeting management, and evaluation—and others not so much. For instance, you'll find articles on coaching for directors, the value of conversation, and several new structures for governance.  YOU and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field’s Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs is a book of how, not what. Eschewing a single perspective of governance, it is suggestive, not prescriptive. And it invites you to be part of the dialogue. It is the first governance book of its kind to:
  • Reexamine nonprofit governance at its essence
  • Challenge dogma about the board versus chief executive roles
  • Let YOU decide if you still agree with the old thinking on governance
  • Take aim at myths about governance that hold organizations back
  • Provide practical, in-the-trenches advice and tips you can use NOW
Whether you are new to the field or have been immersed in it for years, you will find new ideas to help you navigate today's fast-paced, information-saturated reality in which wise practice is rapidly evolving.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week --  Over Emphasis on Overhead Costs Shown to Impede Potential of Global NGOs
Over the past quarter century, nongovernmental organizations have become increasingly essential players in solving global problems. However a fixation on restraining overhead is a funding trend that is affecting NGOs’ ability to solve global problems according to a new Bridgespan study. Generous private funders have fueled the spectacular  growth of global NGOs in recent years. But the money comes with strings that thwart these organizations’ ability to create the platforms for scale needed to solve global problems. This fixation on restraining overhead stems from recent funding trends:
  • Since the mid-1990s, governments, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals have dramatically increased global NGOs’ financial support but restricted this funding primarily to specific programs and projects, shrinking unrestricted funding that supports the organization as a whole.
  • Because they typically view overhead as money poorly spent, funders generally set—or expect—strict limits on how much can be allocated for this purpose.
  • Program- and project-based funding has spawned a patchwork of short-term engagements across countries and continents as NGOs chase donor dollars. This fragmentation further serves to divert attention from investing in essential administrative functions that would improve overall performance.
To download the study, go to:

Resource of the Week –  Operating Reserves Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations
The Operating Reserves Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations is a new resource to help nonprofits through the process of building a reserve policy. The toolkit is the result of a rigorous, multi-year research, writing and review process by the Nonprofit Operating Reserves Initiative Workgroup. In 2009, the workgroup – led by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and the United Way Worldwide – produced a whitepaper that called for organizations to make maintaining an adequate level of operating reserves their top priority. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using Date Functions in Excel 2007/2010
There are many ways to use the Date functions in Excel.  Previous Tech Tips have included:  Calculate a Person's Age in Excel; Calculate Remaining Days in the Year; and Calculate the Days, Months or Years between Dates in Excel.

A lesser known date function is NETWORKDAYS, which returns the number of work days between two dates. For example:
The format for this function is: NETWORKDAYS(start_date,end_date,[holidays]).  Holidays is optional.

The following tutorials can help you learn to use of the Date functions in Excel:
Excel 2007 / 2010 Date Functions: Working with Dates in Excel from
Microsoft Excel 2007 to 2010: The Date Function in Excel from

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