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Weekend Link Roundup (September 8-9, 2012)

September 09, 2012

Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On his Harvard Business Review blog, Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable and the just released Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself, makes the case for "an Apollo program for American philanthropy and the nonprofit sector." In the book, Pallotta outlines plans for a "national Charity Defense Council" that would provide "five vital grassroots organizing functions" for the sector, including an anti-defamation mechanism and a legal defense fund.


When it comes to nonprofit Web sites, presentation matters. Indeed, writes Katya Andresen on her Non-Profit Marketing Blog, charities "with a branded donation page -- a page that shows off the organization's personality and makes giving tangible for donors -- can see up to seven times more in donation dollars than a nonprofit with a generic, e-commerce page for donations." For more stats about the state of online philanthropy, check out the Q2 update of Network for Good's Digital Giving Index.


At the Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks announces the release of his new book, The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications. As Brooks explains, the book "zeroes in on the hard stuff, the surprising, counterintuitive things that most often trip up fundraisers. You won't find wild-eyed, speculative theories in this book. Just the solid, experiential practices."


On the Nieman Journalism Lab blog, Justin Ellis shares some findings from a recent Knight Foundation report that looks at the 2009 Knight News Challenge winners. Of the nine winners, the most highly rated projects as the year began were DocumentCloud, the Jefferson Institute's Data Visualization tools, and Ushahidi. Four projects -- CMS Upload Utility, Councilpedia, MediaBugs, and City Circles (formerly The Daily Phoenix) -- have dramatically scaled back their activity or "closed up shop altogether."


UK-based Alliance magazine has unveiled its September issue, which includes a special feature focused on data and philanthropy with articles and commentary from Foundation Center president Brad Smith; Larry McGill, the center's vice president for research; philanthropy "data wonk" extraordinaire Lucy Bernholz; and many others.

In the Nonprofit Quarterly, Prentice Zinn, a director of GMA Foundations, a philanthropic services organization located in Boston, argues that the focus in philanthropy on "measuring outcomes and documenting impact [that] has been gaining momentum since the late 1960s" may not be all it's cracked up to be. Writes Zinn:

I am beginning to believe that the notion of so-called "strategic philanthropy," in all of its beguiling and shape-shifting forms, is a very powerful accomplice in transforming the funding ecology and structure of the nonprofit sector. Quite simply, it shifts the onus for creativity and decision making to those who have control of the finances and narrows, in many cases, the number of groups with whom philanthropists have to reciprocally communicate as they "focus" ever more acutely not just on the outcomes they hope for but on their preferred strategy for production of those outcomes. And this smaller number of grantees become the anointed -- the chosen....

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Social Media

On Razoo's Inspiring Generosity blog, John Haydon discusses how Julie Nations, the executive director of the Ellie Fund, a small breast cancer charity in Massachusetts with only one other full-time staff member, planned and implemented a successful social media campaign that raised $53,089 and won the Twive and Receive competition.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0's Heather Mansfiled shares a list of "Must-Read Reports for Nonprofits." PhilanTopic readers are welcome to add their suggestions in the comment section below.

And Company K Media's Kerri Karvetski shares a list of thirty popular hashtags designed to make your experience on Twitter more fun and rewarding.

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at And have a great week!

-- The Editors


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