Monday, July 29, 2013

Picks of the Week: July 28 - August 10, 2013

Website of the Week -- Giving Institute
The mission of the Giving Institute, formerly the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (AAFRC) is to educate and engage members in the ethical delivery of fundraising counsel and related services to non-profits through research, advocacy, and best practices. The Institute developed the Standards of Practice and Professional Code of Ethics, widely accepted as a model for professional ethics in the field. Since 1935, the Giving Institute and its 34 member firms have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence, and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, Giving Institute member firms embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. Today the Institute also publishes Giving USA, the annual yearbook on American philanthropy, and supports research and education. Giving Institute continues to provide financial support, expertise, and leadership to the Foundation and works in partnership with it to advance philanthropy and promote ethics in the fundraising profession. Go to:
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Publication of the Week --  With Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give by Ken Stern
From the publisher: Vast and largely unexamined, the world of American charities accounts for fully 10 percent of economic activity in this country, yet operates with little accountability, no real barriers to entry, and a stunning lack of evidence of effectiveness. In With Charity for All, Ken Stern reveals a problem hidden in plain sight and prescribes a whole new way for Americans to make a difference. Each year, two thirds of American households donate to charities, with charitable revenues exceeding one trillion dollars. Yet while the mutual fund industry employs more than 150,000 people to rate and evaluate for-profit companies, nothing remotely comparable exists to monitor the nonprofit world. Instead, each individual is on his or her own, writing checks for a cause and going on faith. Ken Stern, former head of NPR and a long-time nonprofit executive, set out to investigate the vast world of U.S. charities and discovered a sector hobbled by deep structural flaws. Unlike private corporations that respond to market signals and go out of business when they fail, nonprofit organizations have a very low barrier to entry (the IRS approves 99.5 percent of applications) and once established rarely die. From water charities aimed at improving life in Africa to drug education programs run by police officers in thousands of U.S. schools, and including American charitable icons such as the Red Cross, Stern tells devastating stories of organizations that raise and spend millions of dollars without ever cracking the problems they set out to solve. But he also discovered some good news: a growing movement toward accountability and effectiveness in the nonprofit world. With Charity for All is compulsively readable, driven in its early pages by the plight of millions of Americans donating to good causes to no good end, and in its last chapters by an inspiring prescription for individual giving and widespread reform.

Click to previewthis book on

Trend of the Week --  Human Rights Funding Trends
Every year foundations around the world are funding efforts to ensure that the rights of all people are honored and protected. Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking, prepared by the Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group, identifies foundations in 29 countries funding human rights work in every region of the world. Their support totaled $1.2 billion in 2010, reached more than 6,800 unique organizations, and funded activities such as ensuring the right to peaceful assembly and to education. The first research report of its kind, Advancing Human Rights provides crucial baseline numbers against which to track future trends — including the impact of new grantmakers entering the field. This multi-year partnership between the Foundation Center and IHRFG is enriched by collaboration with Ariadne (European Human Rights Funders Network) and the International Network of Women’s Funds. Such efforts align with the Foundation Center’s stated priorities to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic and to communicate philanthropy’s contribution to making a better world. Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking can be downloaded for free at

Resource of the Week –  Cracking the Network Code
As grantmakers and nonprofits are looking for ways to collaborate more effectively, many are experimenting working with and through networks to achieve greater impact. Because networks are by definition loosely controlled and emergent, understanding how to effectively build and sustain them requires new skills and knowledge. This new publication from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations sets out to crack the code behind the network mystique. It describes a method to working more efficiently and effectively through networks, and a critical first step for grantmakers and nonprofits alike is adopting a network mindset, which may require dramatic shifts in attitude and behavior for many. "Cracking the Network Code" outlines four principles that comprise the network mindset, illustrates the principles with a range of examples of networks that have achieved real results, and offers practical questions and recommendations to help leaders achieve the benefits and avoid common pitfalls of working through networks. This important resource is based in part on the path breaking article "The Networked Nonprofit" appearing in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2008. While is focused on the role of grantmakers, it offers important guidance for the leaders of nonprofit organizations themselves. To download the guide, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- COUNTIFS in Excel 2007/2010
We've had the COUNTIF function in Excel for a while. This function allows you to count records in a list that match a single criteria. What's completely new with Excel 20072010 is COUNTIFS which allows you to count records based on multiple criteria.  Sure, there were other ways of doing this before, but none as easy as the COUNTIFS function.  Here's the syntax:

Makes it really simple to count records in a range that match the criteria you enter in the formula. If you need a little more help, check out this article on the Microsoft web site:  Use the COUNTIFSfunction in Excel 2007 to analyze data.

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