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Weekend Link Roundup (March 16-17, 2013)

March 17, 2013

Egg-on-endOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

Over at Katya Andresen's Non-Profit Marketing blog, Kari Saratovsky and Derrick Feldmann, co-authors of the recently published Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement, explain how developing a platform to engage Millennials can better position an organization for success.

Impact/Effectiveness

"[M]ost social good organizations...[are] focus[ed] on reproducing the institution, not reusing...data," writes self-described data wonk Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "This needs to change in two ways," adds Bernholz. "First, nonprofits should be using their data for social purposes only....[And, second] when it comes to enterprise level data, the default should be to share all the data you can."

On Arabella Advisor's Greater Good blog, Katrina Briddell and Lauren Marra share five keys to effective donor collaboration.

The Inter-American Development Bank's Lina Salazar Ortegón shares five things investors need to know about impact investing metrics:

  1. Reporting requirements should be simple and in line with the client companies’ operations.
  2. It's necessary to involve both investment officers and investee companies in the measuring and tracking process, training them on the importance of metrics and reporting.
  3. To the extent it contributes to everyone speaking the same language and using the same type of indicators, tracking performance contributes to better communications with stakeholders.
  4. Investments aren't the only thing that need to be tracked. Grant-funded projects with potential to become profitable and sustainable business models also need to be monitored from the start.
  5. Metrics must be negotiated during the due diligence process and be formally included in the loan agreements.

Ortegón invites readers to learn more about the challenges the bank faced, the improvements it made, and the lessons it learned by reading the OMJ IRIS User Case, which was published earlier this year by the Global Impact Investing Network.

On the PBS Newshour site, Newshour economics correspondent Paul Solman talks with Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin about social impact bonds and how one such instrument is being used to address (and hopefully break) the cycle of recidivism in New York City.

Innovation

To help you and your organization circumvent the "idea-killing apparatus" that exists in almost every nonprofit, ace consultant David LaPiana shares half a dozen "lifesaving suggestions" designed to keep new ideas alive.

Journalism/Media

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Elizabeth Miller shares some advice from a South by Southwest panel discussion for new journalists looking to establish themselves in the rapidly changing field:

  1. Don't be a jack of all trades. Go deep with one tech skill.
  2. Be passionate.
  3. Use academic opportunities to experiment.
  4. Never underestimate the value of being able to construct a sentence.
  5. Learn to code. (And even if you aren't willing to learn how, get up to speed with the possibilities of what good code can do.)
  6. Don't be afraid to measure success (or failure).

Philanthropy

Based on the findings of a paper titled the Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure, the Kauffman Foundation's Mindee Forman highlights some of the factors that contribute to a successful crowdfunding campaign, including the size of an organization's network, whether the campaign has a strong geographic tie-in, and duration of the campaign. (Shorter is better.)

Social Justice

"How can grantmakers boost the impact of their contributions to a more just society?" Niki Jagpal asks on the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping a Close Eye blog. "The answer might well lie in fusing strategy and justice in the ecosystem of the nonprofit sector. Consider the interconnectedness of the issues that funders are addressing and it becomes clear that our sector functions much like any system such as the human body: if one part of it changes, the entire system is affected...."

Social Media

In the last post in a series about her experience at this year's South by Southwest conference, Beth Kanter offers some metrics and measurement advice to nonprofits, including "don’t be a zombie repeating the mistakes of the past" and analyze your data using various methods.

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

-- The Editors

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