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Weekend Link Roundup (April 13-14, 2013)

April 14, 2013

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

Fundraising

Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks says to forget about donor fatigue; what's really happening is fundraiser fatigue.

Health

This might be "shaping up as the year of crowdfunding medical needs," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "These medical crowdfunding site are fascinating to me. In many ways, they are returning us to the time before national health services and social security, when turning to one's community for financial assistance with medical needs or college costs was the norm."

Impact/Effectiveness

Over at Forbes, Jessica Joseph, associate director of innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation, explains how social impact bonds "went from concept to execution faster than any other social innovation [in years]."

That may be, writes Kyle McKay, a policy analyst with the Maryland General Assembly, on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. But while SIBs are interesting as "endeavors in financial creativity," their risks for cash-strapped governments and nonprofits may outweigh their benefits.

The Social Progress Index launched this week, and Ben Baumberg, a lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Kent in the UK, has some really interesting thoughts about what the folks behind the index have done well -- and could do better.

Journalism

The Nonprofit Quarterly's Rick Cohen recaps a panel discussion from the Council on Foundations' annual conference that looked at the future of journalism and why it matters to philanthropy. "[I]f there was an overwhelming message [from] the panel," writes Cohen, "it was [the Center for Investigative Reporting's Robert] Rosenthal's contention that funders have to understand a new generation of journalists motivated by creative ways of storytelling."

Philanthropy

In a nice profile on the Bridgespan Group's Give Smart site, actor, philanthropist, and Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox shares four key lessons he has learned from his philanthropic work: involve beneficiaries in guiding your philanthropy; pinpoint the role your philanthropy can play in adding value to existing efforts; bring expertise in-house and use it to drive change; be pragmatic and urgent in your drive to get results.

Regulation/Oversight

GuideStar president and CEO Jacob Harold says the provision included in the White House's FY2014 budget that all nonprofits file their tax forms digitally and that the government make that data available in structured machine-readable form is a potential game-changer. "The nonprofit sector (and GuideStar in particular) has had to invest immense resources in aggregating, organizing, and presenting financial information from the Form 990," writes Harold. And the changes in the 2014 budget

could free up those resources and let us focus on a set of even more important questions: What are nonprofits accomplishing in their communities? What can we learn from their stakeholders? How can the nonprofit community work with government and business for a better world?"

There's no doubt that if these changes pass, they will erode some parts of GuideStar's business model. That's OK. In fact, that's great. The world is changing quickly, and we're ready for it...."

Social Media

On her About.com blog, Joanne Fritz announces the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards.

And Beth Kanter has some advice for senior nonprofit leaders looking to make time in their busy schedules for online media. Among other things, writes Kanter, they need to get started with small steps, understand the benefits of their efforts to their organizations as well as professionally, and be able to connect any online social activity to what they're already doing.

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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