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Weekend Link Roundup (July 5-6, 2014)

July 06, 2014

Iced tea_arrangementWe were out of pocket last week, so we've included a few items we missed in this week's roundup of noteworthy items from and about the nonprofit sector....

Black Male Achievement

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter argues in a post on the HuffPo's Black Voices blog that three myths are hurting young black men and boys:

  1. Myth: America has progressed enough as a nation that black men and boys have an equal opportunity to be successful.
  2. Myth: Black-on-black violence only affects the black community.
  3. Myth: Helping young black men succeed is not government's problem.

Communications/Marketing

On the Philanthropy Front and Center - Cleveland blog, guest blogger Brian Sooy, president of design and communications firm Aespire, considers four dimensions of communications that have the potential for strengthening the culture of any mission-driven organization.

Data

Jeff Edmondson, managing director of the Strive Network, Ben Hecht, president/CEO of Living Cities, and Willa Seldon, a partner with the Bridgespan Group, weigh in with a nice HuffPo piece on the transformative power of data.

Data may have the power to transform, but in a follow-up to a post on the Markets for Good blog he penned about the death of evaluation, Andrew Means, associate director of the Center for Data Science & Public Policy at the University of Chicago, suggests that nonprofits still have a long way to go in learning how to use it to improve their effectiveness and impact.

Can data sometimes do more harm than good? Absolutely, says Robert J. Moore, chief executive of RJMetrics, on the New York Times' You're the Boss blog. In particular, writes Moore, there are three situations in which he has learned to second-guess the data-driven approach: when the costs are too high; when the results won't change your mind; and when following the data means betraying your vision.

Economy

Very good post by John Hagel, co-chair of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation, in response to Harvard historian Jill Lepore's recent New Yorker article dismissing Clayton Christensen and his theory of disruptive innovation. It's a bit of a long read, but Hagel's main thesis is that two forces – economic liberalization and exponentially improving technology –are "systematically and substantially" reducing barriers to entry and movement on a global scale while causing businesses and institutions to "fundamentally re-think" their models and arrangements. "Bottom line," writes Hagel, "[these two forces] are catalyzing more opportunity for players to adopt new approaches that can be highly disruptive...[and] increasing both the motivation and ability of players to pursue these disruptive
approaches...."

Fundraising

Inspired by Claire Axelrad's "obituary" for the donor pyramid, Andrea Kihlstedt, co-founder of Capital Campaign Magic, writes on the GuideStar blog that the donor pyramid "is alive and well in capital campaign fundraising where it got its start....[and]...continues to have important applications in all fundraising campaigns...."

Higher Education

Are high levels of student loan debt a problem for the economy? Maybe not as much as we think, writes Dave Leonhardt on the New York Times' Upshot blog. The "vastly bigger problem," according to Brookings fellows Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos, are "the hundreds of thousands of people who emerge from college with a modest amount of debt yet no degree. For them, college is akin to a house that they had to make the down payment on but can’t live in...."

International Affairs/Development

On the Humanosphere blog, Tom Murphy, a Boston-based reporter, shares findings from a study by Howard Friedman that looked at the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) between 1992 and 2008. Among other things, the study found that there was no acceleration in achieving the MDG goals after 2000, whereas one-third of the countries measured had showed aceleration before 2001. Friedman is careful to say, Murphy notes, that it

is possible the goals helped to sustain the progress that countries were making. His findings indicate that the MDGs were more likely a reflection of what was already happening, rather than the aspirational goals that they are touted to have been....

Philanthropy

In a post on the Council on Foundations blog, Laura Tomasko shares five things foundations and philanthropic leaders need to know about the future of impact investing.

Science/Tech

"By 2025, every human on the planet will be online," writes Jeff Jarvis, a professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism in a Wall Street Journal article that looks at four threats the Internet faces over the next decade. And that promises to be a boon for humanity, says Jarvis:

The collision of ideas through the sharing network will lead to explosive innovation and creativity. We are just at the precipice of collaborative tools today. By 2025, we should have around 8.1 billion people online. Just imagine all those billions of people and ideas sharing and collaborating. Please don’t let me get hit by a bus. I want to live to experience this period which people will later call the Age of Collaboration....

Social Good

And writing on Nell Edgington's Social Velocity blog, DC Central Kitchen founder Robert Egger urges millennials and boomers "to avoid the inter-generational battle that many talking heads would stoke so that we can take advantage of what will be, in my opinion, one of the greatest opportunities to change the world in centuries...."

That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments box below....

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