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Labor Day Weekend Link Roundup (September 1-2, 2013)

September 01, 2013

Laborday2013A special holiday weekend roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Civil Rights

On its NOW blog, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a look at the persistant disparities in employment, educational achievement, and upward mobility between Afrian Americans and whites as illustrarted by several recently released reports.

Before the fiftieth anniversary becomes a footnote, be sure to take a look at the ten-part Washington Monthly series on race in America that we re-posted here on PhilanTopic in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's events.

Communications/Marketing

From the folks at Optimind Technology, here's a great infographic with thirty digital marketing statistics you can't afford to ignore.

Impact/Effectiveness

Writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, William Burckart, managing director of Impact Economy's North America unit and a contributing author to the forthcoming New Frontiers of Philanthropy (Lester M. Salamon, ed., Oxford University Press), argues that impact investing, one of the buzziest memes in philanthropy at the moment, "is not well understood outside of a relatively small group of early adopters, and even this band of innovators harbors multiple, sometimes-incompatible interpretations of the concept." What's more, writes Burckart, although this "form of foundation investing has long been approved by government regulators," outside of a handful of foundations -- Ford, F.B. Heron, Kellogg, Mary Reynolds Babcock, K.L. Felicitas -- "it is an idea that has never gotten much traction."

Philanthropy

After years of watching and participating in philanthropic contests, challenge competitions, and award programs, Kevin Starr, managing director of the Mulago Foundation and the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program, has concluded that they "do more harm than good." Yes, he says, writing in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, "this lumps together way too many disparate things; yes, there are exceptions to everything I say...; and yes, it deserves a more nuanced discussion." But here, in summary form, are his reasons for saying so:

  1. They waste huge amounts of time.
  2. There is way too much emphasis on innovation and not nearly enough on implementation.
  3. They get too much wrong and too little right.
  4. They serve as a distraction from the social sector's big problem.

Starr offers a thoughtful articulation of each of these arguments and then follows with a few draft guidelines that he believes would improve both the optics and impact of contests. If you care about this stuff, be sure to read his post in its entirety.

In a featured article from the Nonprofit Quarterly's summer 2013 edition, NPQ editor-in-chief Ruth McCambridge considers the implications of the slowest post-recession recovery in charitable giving in memory and what it means for the changing landscape of philanthropy.

Writing in Alliance magazine, Gina Anderson, the Philanthropy Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales, shares some key findings from a high-level analysis of some 4,119 grants totaling AUD$207.3 million awarded by twelve leading Australian philanthropic foundations.

On our sister Transparency Talk blog, Leila Walsh, director of communications for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, explains how the "Reporting Commitment," a Foundation Center-sponsored initiative aimed at developing more timely, accurate, and precise reporting on the flow of philanthropic dollars, leverages the foundation's -- and philanthropy's efforts -- to solve pressing social problems.

Social Media

Still trying to figure out how to use Instagram, the wildly popular photo/video-sharing app, to advance your organization's mission? Or how and when to use Vine, the mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos? With the caveat avoid “Shiny Object Syndrome," Beth Kanter shares a guest post by Madeleine Hammond, a marketing executive at Skeleton Productions, a UK-based video production agency, in which Hammond rounds up seven nonprofit Vine videos that will get you thinking

That's it for this week. Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org if we missed something. Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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