Sunday, March 23, 2014

Picks of the Week: March 23-29, 2014

Website of the Week -- The Case Foundation
The Case Foundation, created by Steve Case and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world. The Foundation creates and supports initiatives that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about. The Case Foundation has led a series of innovative and collaborative initiatives that aim to leverage new technologies to empower and engage citizens in the U.S. and around the globe. Through partnerships with hundreds of nonprofits, private sector and corporate partners, as well as the public sector, these efforts have helped to expand the role of individuals in philanthropy and in giving back to their communities. Recent examples of efforts to expand the role of citizen-centered philanthropy and experimentation with new technologies, such as social media, include America’s Giving Challenge, an online competition conducted in partnership with PARADE and Causes that engaged tens of thousands of Americans to get involved with causes they care about. In 2007, the Make It Your Own Awards called on citizens to connect with others, form solutions and take action on community issues. The website includes links to many resources that will be of use to nonprofits. For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week --  From Passion to Execution: How to Start and Grow an Effective Nonprofit Organization by Lyn Scott 
From the publisher: Transform your vision and passion as you learn how to effectively start, grow, and lead a nonprofit organization with this practical, inspiring guide. From Passion To Execution: How To Start And Grow An Effective Nonprofit Organization combines meaningful, real examples and insights, based on the author's extensive experience, with a high-energy, powerful presentation that equips you with the confidence to follow your dream of starting a nonprofit organization. This reader-friendly book provides specific how-to steps to start a nonprofit organization with a focus on long term sustainability. The author shows you how to set the ground work, from exploring your personal passion and effectively articulating a mission statement to building a solid board. You also learn how to communicate vision, design programs, ignite volunteers, assemble the right business team, craft a strategic plan, seek supporters, and navigate differing personalities as the organization grows. Finally, you learn to assess results and adjust plans to effectively manage and continue to lead a successful organization.

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit HR Trends for 2014
Nonprofits are letting fewer people go and plan to create more positions in the coming year, but they continue to struggle to adopt new and innovative human resources practices, according to the 2014 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, conducted by consulting firm Nonprofit HR. Of the more than 400 groups surveyed, 46 percent reported increased hiring in 2013, the highest total in the last five years. Only 17 percent said they decreased hiring, the third consecutive year that that number has dropped. And, for the first time since the end of the Great Recession, more groups said they plan to hire new staff to support new projects (45 percent) than use current staff (43 percent). A number of staffing challenges still present major hurdles and include:
  • Extended time needed to fill positions, particularly for mid and high level vacancies
  • The lack of formal diversity strategies and formal succession plans
  • One fifth of nonprofits indicate that turnover is their biggest challenge
  • Retention challenges from competitive pay, excessive workloads through to struggles to advance staff

The study also noted that entry and mid-level professionals are the hardest to retain. This is a concern as these are often going to be the front-line/public facing staff who most typically are interacting with the donor audience on an individual basis. To download a summary of the study report, go to:

Resource of the Week –  The Networked Nonprofit
The article by Jane Wei-Skillern and Sonia Marciano appearing the Stanford Social Innovation Review describes a new approach to long term partnership building. The authors suggest, with some compelling examples and arguments, that nonprofits that pursue their missions through networks of long-term, trust-based partnerships achieve more sustainable mission impact than would be possible through traditional approaches to organizational growth. Management wisdom says that nonprofits must be large and in charge to do the most good. But some of the world’s most successful organizations instead stay small, sharing their load with like-minded, long-term partners. The success of these networked nonprofits suggests that organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks. Go to:

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