Monday, December 13, 2010

Picks of the Week: December 12 - 18, 2010

Website of the Week – Community Partners

Community Partners was established in 1992 to meet a growing need experienced by civic and social entrepreneurs in Southern California for a structure that freed them from red tape while they pursued the cause that animated them. Conceived as a “foundation for emerging philanthropies”, its "incubator" has grown steadily to include nearly 130 projects led by people who reflect the scope and diversity of the Southern California region and over a dozen strategic initiatives in partnership with funders, networks and established organizations. From initial investments of $250,000, Community Partners has grown into a solid institution managing more than $10 million a year in revenue. For emerging leaders of civic and community projects, Community Partners handles finance, HR, and legal needs; help them develop their idea into a funded project; connect them with their peers and leaders in the community; and equip them with the tools and training to grow an effective, sustainable project. For experienced social innovators and networks of established stakeholder groups, Community Partners provides the knowledge and means to get new ideas and coalitions off the ground in a matter of weeks. For funders, Community Partners provides skilled management of program offices, peer convenings, regranting, and capacity-building programs that strengthen their impact in the community. While the focus is on Southern California, the resources will be very helpful to others. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block

From the publisher: There is a growing movement of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that real satisfaction and the good life are not provided by organizations, institutions, or systems. No number of great CEO’s, central offices, or long range plans produce what a community can produce. People are discovering a new possibility for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves. This possibility is idealistic, and yet it is an ideal within our grasp. It is a possibility that is both idealistic and realistic. Our culture leads us to believe that a satisfying life can be purchased. It tells us that in the place where we live, we don't have the resources to create a good life. This book reminds us that a neighborhood that can raise a child, provide security, sustain our health, secure our income, and care for our vulnerable people is within the power of our community. This book gives voice to our ideal of a beloved community. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that when we join together with our neighbors we are the architects of the future where we want to live. For nearly three decades, John McKnight has conducted research on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organizations, neighborhood policy, and institutional racism. He currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building by incorporating marginalized people. Peter Block is an author, consultant. His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He’s the author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Answer to How is Yes, and Community. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week – Millennial Donor Trends

According to a new study, Millennial Generation donors want to be engaged in a different way than Baby Boomers or Generation X donors; however, contrary to what general perceptions might suggest, that doesn’t mean you’ll connect with them most successfully through social media appeals. For the “2010 Millennial Donor Study,” Achieve and Johnson Grossnickle Associates (JGA) asked more than 2,200 people between the ages of 20 and 40 across the U.S. about their giving habits and engagement preferences. Approximately 75% of the respondents represented Generation Y or Millennial donors. The results of the survey show a generation definitely connected by technology and social media, but more inspired to give and volunteer by personal engagement and human connections. These results would suggest that nonprofit organizations seeking to tap into this new generation of donors will need to redesign their solicitation and engagement processes, treating these new givers more like their older peers in an effort that will not deliver a quick return on investment but will reward the organization over time. Key findings include:

• 91% of Millennial donors are at least somewhat likely to respond to a face-to-face request for money from a nonprofit organization, with 27 percent being highly likely to respond to such a request. Only 8 percent are highly likely to respond to an email request.
• 55.2% of Millennial donors are likely or highly likely to respond to a specific request or particular project. 55.7% are not likely to respond to a general, non-specific ask.
• 71.9% of Millennial donors don’t need to volunteer for an organization before they donate.
• Millennial donors want to know details about the organizations they support: 86.3 percent want updates on programs or services, and 54.6 percent want information about the organization and its financial condition. 68 percent want information about volunteer opportunities.
• 60.5% say they would like access to board and executive leadership, and 53.2% say they have it.
• Asked who could get them to donate to an organization, most Millennial donors say they would be likely or highly likely to give if asked by a family member (74.6%) or a friend (62.8 %). Only 37.8% would be likely or highly likely to give is asked by a coworker.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week – Volunteer Management Blogs

Susan Ellis of Energize, Inc. has compiled an excellent list of blogs on the subject of volunteer management. 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

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