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Weekend Link Roundup (December 8-9, 2012)

December 09, 2012

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

Arts and Culture

On its Web site, the James Irvine Foundation unveils a snazzy new infographic format to share what it has learned about arts and arts organizations in California through the work of its Arts Innovation Fund.

Climate Change

In an impassioned post on the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping A Close Eye blog, Lisa Ranghelli urges foundation leaders to get involved in the fight against a warming planet.

Fundraising

On his Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks, author of the Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications, provides a timely reminder to fundraisers to "keep calm."

Impact/Effectiveness

On the Philanthropy Potluck blog, Minnesota Council on Foundations research manager Anne Bauers shares findings from NTEN's The State of Nonprofit Data report, which found that a lack of expertise, issues of time and prioritization, and challenges with technology, among other things, are holding many organizations back from tracking and using data more effectively.

To help organizations looking to close their data skills gap, Beth Kanter, co-author (with KD Paine) of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, shares some data visualization resources that she's come across recently.

Journalism/Media

On the Knight Foundation blog, Benoit Wirz shares some takeaways -- and questions -- from the recent NewsFoo conference, which brought together leaders in the digital news space to discuss problems and potential solutions for news organizations struggling to make the transition to digital:

1) Building credibility (and engagement) in digital news. Most news publications are not as transparent about their reporters' biases and sources as they could be, and many don't report retroactively on whether pundits/sources got things right or wrong. How can news organizations move toward embedding more credibility into their operations?

2) Improving content recommendations. Today, news consumers learn about content largely through algorithms based on relevance, social recommendations, or as a result of editorial selection. What other ways can news organizations enable the discovery of content?

3) Freeing news content from news sites. News sites capture just 1.1 percent of the total page views on the Web (and even less on mobile). Thus, if content continues to be restricted to news sites, digital ad revenue will remain modest. Can news gathering and reporting operations develop a standard to allow news to be distributed as easily across the Web and mobile platforms as ads are while preserving some benefit for content creators?

4) Scaling media-focused social enterprises (while safeguarding mission). Media companies have traditionally had a source of revenue (advertising) that is not directly tied to content or customers. New socially focused media companies likePolicyMic, Upworthy, and Zeega are trying to build business models that, in addition to ad revenue, include other sources of revenue (e.g., lead generation, content creation). How best to balance these and other potential revenue streams against the needs of the people whose lives they are trying to change?

5) Making data visualization work on mobile. Data visualizations are thirty times as likely to be shared as traditional text articles. Can the industry develop standards to maximize the impact of data visualizations on mobile devices?

Philanthropy

On the New York Times' Opinionator blog, journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg (The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism) looks at some of the reasons why people give to charity and concludes that, regardless of motivation, "perhaps the most relevant point for most people is that whatever cause moves us, we should be looking for effectiveness."

Philanthropy 2173 blogger Lucy Bernholz taps "MOOC" -- Massive, Open, Online Course -- as the ninth philanthropy buzzword of 2012 and says that if any reader of the blog can guess the tenth and final buzzword of 2012, she’ll send him/her a free copy of Blueprint 2013, Lucy's annual look at the trends shaping the philanthropic and social change landscape.

In a guest post on the Forbes.com site, Bridgespan chair and co-founder Tom Tierney discusses the implications of the recent embrace of charitable giving by the mega-wealthy. "While politics contrives to divide us, our fundamental generosity -- our willingness to lend a hand -- offers extraordinary opportunities for all of us to help improve our society," writes Tierney. "Taken together, we have the potential to shape America's golden age of philanthropy. We must leave divisiveness behind, respond to our country's true needs, and strive to collaborate -- to give generously and give smart."

In a letter posted to the Council on Foundations Web site, the organization's new CEO, Vikki Spruill, offers a first look at the council's new direction, which includes an ambition to "operate as the hub of the largest, most connected philanthropic network in the
world...."

Technology

Getting into the holiday spirit, the Sunlight Foundation, which works to leverage the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, has come up with the perfect gift for the open data developer: a Sunlight API key and twelve ways to take advantage of the API offerings on the Sunlight Web site.

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

--The Editors

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