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Weekend Link Roundup (March 2-3, 2013)

March 03, 2013

Budget-battleOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

African Americans

Washington Post reporter Vanessa Small recaps a recent networking and panel discussion devoted to "young black philanthropy" hosted by boutique marketing firm Friends of Ebonie at National Council of Negro Women headquarters in Washington, D.C. "At one point, the conversation turned to whether wealthy African Americans are doing enough to give back," writes Small, "and by the end of the night, a consensus developed that all African Americans need to do more to hold one another accountable for how they give their time and money."

On one of the last days of Black History Month, a post on the Case Foundation blog celebrated the charity of African Americans:

Giving back and helping others is the fundamental premise of philanthropy and this premise has been a central tenet of African American culture. The distinguished researcher Mary Winters notes in her study on Endowment Building in the African American Community that perhaps out of survival, "Black Americans have been compelled to share and give back from the moment they arrived on the shores of this country. When they have money to give, they give; when there was no money to give, a generous heart, a strong back or a keen mind. As a value, 'giving back' is firmly rooted in black history." Research funded by the Kellogg Foundation supports this belief. The report, Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color, shows that African Americans give 25 percent more of their income [annually] than white Americans. These findings go to show just how deep the spirit of giving runs within the black community....

Communications/Marketing

On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen shares some highlights from a post by Steve Daigneault at M+R Research Labs about what the Obama reelection campaign got right -- and not so right -- in terms of its digital outreach efforts.

Impact/Effectiveness

In a guest post on the GuideStar blog, Social Solutions co-founder and vice president Adrian Bordone discusses the importance of measuring outcomes, as opposed to outputs, when it comes to social change work.

Meanwhile, over at Social Fish, Jamie Nutter, vice president of organizational effectiveness at Management Solutions, argues that actionable data is better than big data -- and learning trumps both.

Looking for some inexpensive (as in free) productivity apps? Google apps -- Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and others -- are now available free of charge to any nonprofit that has joined the Google for Nonprofits program. Not a member? To learn more, click here.

Leadership

On the Harvard Business Review blog, John McKinley writes that when it comes to identifying leaders who can effect lasting social change, what matters most is resilience. According to McKinley, who manages the Acumen Fund's Global Fellows Program, the three key characteristics of resilient leaders are:

  1. Grit: Short-term focus on tasks at hand, a willingness to slog through broken systems with limited resources, and pragmatic problem-solving skills.
  2. Courage: Action in the face of fear and embracing the unknown.
  3. Commitment: Long-term optimism and focus on big-picture goals.

What's more, says McKinley, "resilience can be trained." At Acumen, he writes, "we focus on building not only the fellows' financial and operational skills, but also what we call "moral imagination," which requires balancing opposing values -- humility and audacity -- to see the world as it is and to imagine the world for what it could be.

Philanthropy

In the latest installment of her Making Change podcast, Hildy Gottlieb, author of The Pollyanna Principles, chats with Foundation Center president Brad Smith about why foundations should pay attention to radical thinkers and six factors that are driving social change globally.

On the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s Keeping a Close Eye blog, Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski remind us that foundations have been supporting social justice movements for decades. "The Ford Foundation, for example, was a critical source of funding for groups such as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)," they write. And as the social justice movement presses on, "philanthropy has a special opportunity to strengthen American democracy. All of us in the third sector, especially leaders and supporters of nonprofits on the frontlines of fighting injustice, can keep this momentum going by being effective advocates for social justice giving."

The first issue of Philanthropy Impact magazine, a UK-based quarterly that aims "to make sense of and inspire philanthropy in a domestic and international context," is available has a free download (8 pages, PDF). The issue, which was guest edited by Philanthrocapitalism co-author Michael Green, includes articles on the urgent need for better data to understand and strengthen giving, why narratives matter in philanthropy, and why impact assessment tells us little about whether charities are effective and deserve our support.

Social Change

And on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Kristen Grimm, president of Spitfire Strategies, a PR firm that works exclusively with foundations and nonprofits, identifies seven common blind spots that sneak into change strategies and a four-step process for identifying and eliminating them -- before they sabotage even the most worthy campaigns.

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at [email protected]. And have a good week!

-- The Editors

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