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Weekend Link Roundup (March 30-31, 2013)

March 31, 2013

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

Black Male Achievement

Here on PhilanTopic, the Open Society Foundation's Shawn Dove, whom we spoke with back in December, announces the launch of BMAfunders.org, a Web portal designed to "facilitate engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among funders, nonprofits, and policy makers working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America."

Communications

In a guest post on Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Communications Blog, Jen Charney, communication manager at the Save the Redwoods League, explains how the organization redesigned its Web site to attract more "uniques" and increase online donations and e-mail subscribers.

Environment

Environmental "cause days" such as Earth Day are great, but what about the other 360+ days of the year, asks Geoff Livingston, author of Welcome to the Fifth Estate, in a recent post on his blog.  "If our culture intends to adapt to climate change," writes Livingston, "our efforts need to increase. First of all, let's not poo-poo the small acts taken. Instead, let's build upon them...."

Impact/Effectiveness

On the Skoll World Forum Up for Debate blog, Darin McKeever, deputy director of the Charitable Sector, Global Policy & Advocacy program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, asks the important question: "How might we accelerate [the] conversation about Big Data into one about Big Information, Big Knowledge, and Big Wisdom?"

Philanthropy

The excellent "forum" feature in the March/April issue of the Boston Review looks at the pros and cons of private philanthropy in America. With a lead essay by Stanford University professor Rob Reich, who argues that private foundations are plutocratic by nature, the package includes essays in response from Paul Brest, Rick Cohen, Pablo Eisenberg, Stanley N. Katz, Larry Kramer, Gara LaMarche, and Robert K. Ross, among others. Highly recommended.

Writing on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz wonders whether proposals submitted to foundation-funded open challenges could serve a larger purpose. "For example, if you were trying to understand the 'state' of community information efforts, would the applications to the Knight News Challenge be a useful source of data in terms of understanding what people out in the world think is important," asks Bernholz. "Do you know anyone who has looked at them as such?"

GiveWell's Holden Karnofsky explains why his organization recommends so few charities, and the concept behind the GiveWell approach. "We recommend few charities by design, because we see ourselves as a 'finder of great giving opportunities’ rather than a 'charity evaluator,'" writes Karnofsky. "In other words, we're not seeking to classify large numbers of charities as 'good' or 'bad'; our mission is solely to identify, and thoroughly investigate, the best."

Social Justice

On the Huffington Post, Janell Ross discusses findings from The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism, a new book written by Rutgers University professor Nancy DiTomaso and published by the Russell Sage Foundation. Based on DiTomaso's research, writes Ross, the book argues that

most white Americans engage, at least a few times per year, in...activities that foster inequality. While they may not deliberately discriminate against black and other non-white job seekers, they take actions that make it more likely that white people will be employed -- without thinking that what they're doing amounts to discrimination....

Social Media

Nonprofits using video to engage their supporters should focus on telling stories about people, not programs, ListenIn Pictures co-founder Annie Escobar argues in a guest post on the Getting Attention blog. "The best use of video is not to inform and educate," writes Escobar. "It's to make your audience feel something and through that emotional response, create a connection to your work."

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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