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41 posts categorized "Flip Chats"

'Flip' Chat Series Turns Three

June 21, 2013

Three years ago this week, we published our first "Flip" chat, with Idealist.org founder and executive director Ami Dar. Since then, we've posted more than forty-five videos with thought leaders in the social sector. To celebrate that accomplishment -- as well as the fact that our excellent adventures in video blogging have outlasted the Flip cam itself (Cisco bought and then discontinued the product line a few years ago) -- here's a list of the ten most popular "Flip" chats posted here on PhilanTopic.  

Who would you like to see us interview for the series? Drop us a note in the comments section below. And be sure to check out other videos in the series here.

-- Regina Mahone

Foundations and Public Interest Media: A 'Flip' Chat With Vince Stehle, Executive Director, Media Impact Funders

June 12, 2013

(The video below was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the social sector. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our recent chat with Mona Chun, deputy director of the International Human Rights Funders Group.)

"There's a saying: If paying for journalism is a down payment on democracy, it's a bargain," Vince Stehle, executive director of Media Impact Funders, told me during a recent chat. "The cost of corruption and a lack of transparency and accountability in government can really be a costly thing for society in many ways, so whatever we need to pay, whether it's through commercial media or through foundation and individual support for journalism, is a bargain."

The wisdom of Stehle's words has never been more apparent. And yet, with the economy stuck in neutral and cheap digital tools making it easy for anyone to be a publisher, traditional news and media outlets find themselves under increasing pressure to cut costs and "right-size" their operations -- or get out of the way.

Enter nonprofit news organizations. While the number of such organizations has increased over the last few years and the nonprofit model would seem to be more sustainable than the traditional ad-based model, a new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that nonprofit media outlets face considerable challenges of their own -- foremost among them inadequate and uncertain revenue streams. Indeed, the report (26 pages, PDF) found that while 61 percent of the nonprofit news outlets surveyed received a startup grant from a foundation, only 28 percent reported that the funder making the grant had agreed to renew it.

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Advancing Human Rights: A 'Flip' Chat With Mona Chun, Deputy Director, IHRFG

May 07, 2013

(The video below was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Harish Bhandari, director of digital engagement and innovation at the Robin Hood Foundation.)  

Since 2012, the Foundation Center has been working with the International Human Rights Funders Group to develop a framework for assessing the state of human rights grantmaking around the globe. The two organizations recently released some key findings (12 pages, PDF) of their research based on data collected from IHRFG, Ariadne, and the International Network of Women's Funds and an analysis of more than seven hundred funders representing twenty-nine countries. 

Among other things, the analysis found that in 2010 the United States accounted for the largest number of human rights funders -- which may be a reflection of the ability to draw upon a wealth of data on U.S.-based philanthropy through the Foundation Center's database and the lack of a similar resource outside of the U.S. -- followed by Western Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.

The analysis also found that the Ford Foundation was the largest funder of human rights by grant dollars ($159.5 million), while the Open Society Foundations reported the largest number of human rights grants (1,248); that human rights funders awarded a total of $1.2 billion in 2010; and that the largest share (69 percent) of that funding went to U.S.-based organizations, many of which work in other countries, regions, and/or at the global level.

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Digital Tools and Apps: A 'Flip' Chat With Harish Bhandari, Robin Hood Foundation

April 12, 2013

(The video below was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Anika Rahman, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.) 

If your organization thinks it doesn't have the time or money to invest in online tools like Twitter, it is "missing the boat," says Harish Bhandari, director of digital engagement and innovation at the Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood and Bhandari saw the benefits of digital media firsthand after Superstorm Sandy smashed into the Jersey shore in late October. After the storm, the New York City-based charity organized a benefit concert to raise funds for relief and recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut -- a concert that, thanks in part to the organization's use of social media to promote it, turned out to be the most successful benefit concert ever.

Indeed, says Bhandari, by not engaging with donors and other audiences online, nonprofits are missing out on connecting with a demographic that is passionate about social change and in a position to be "really loyal" over a long period of time. 

During a sit-down with PND, Bhandari, who spoke at a recent 501 Tech NYC event dedicated to "visual storytelling" (check out Noland Hoshino's recap here), discussed Robin Hood's efforts to engage potential supporters after Sandy, explained Robin Hood's approach to social networking, and shared some thoughts about newer mobile apps like Instagram and Vine.

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More to Do: A 'Flip' Chat With Anika Rahman, President/CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women

March 27, 2013

While the topics du jour in the women's movement seem to be Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and New York magazine's take on "feminist housewives," there are deeper, more persistent problems in need of attention, from access to health and child care, to low wages and a shortage of quality jobs, to continued assaults on women's reproductive rights and services.

Indeed, as the Ms. Foundation for Women says on its Web site, "It's true that women have come a long way since the 1970s, but for every woman who has reached the 'top' (and who still face discrimination, by the way), there are millions of women struggling to earn a living wage, gain access to basic health care, secure affordable child care, and participate in the opportunities that should be available to every person in the U.S."

On a rainy day earlier this month, I spoke with Anika Rahman, the organization's president and CEO, about the many inequities confronting women, especially low-income women and women of color, as well as the organization's new report, More to Do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States (58 pages, PDF).

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Improving Your Online Engagement: A 'Flip' Chat With Chris Tuttle

December 14, 2012

(The video below was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Beth Kanter, co-author of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World.) 

At 501 Tech NYC's final event of the year, marketing/communications strategist Chris Tuttle shared twenty-five things that nonprofits can do in the next year to better engage their constituents online. (A "storified" recap of the event can be found here.) Best of all, most of the items on Tuttle's list can be implemented without the help of a Web designer or developer. 

A former Blackbaud consultant who established his own consulting firm in 1999, Tuttle currently works for the Arcus Foundation, a New York City-based philanthropy that seeks to advance LGBT equality and conserve and protect the great apes. 

PND spoke with Tuttle right after Thanksgiving about his work in the nonprofit communications field and the importance of analytics for nonprofits. During our chat, he also explained why social media usage by nonprofits has not peaked and mentioned a few social media tools and sites that nonprofits should pay attention to in 2013. 

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On 'Networked Nonprofits' and Measurement: A 'Flip' Chat With Beth Kanter

October 23, 2012

(The short videos below were recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Dr. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Simon Youth Foundation.)

At a recent Foundation Center event, Beth Kanter, the "Queen of Nonprofits," explained to a full house that "if you want to create change, you have to be networked, use data, and [work to] make sense of your data." Indeed, that's the message of her most recent book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, which she co-wrote with Katie Delahaye Paine, the "Goddess of Measurement."

Before the event got under way, I had a chance to chat with Kanter about the new book as well as The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change, the earlier book she co-wrote with Allison Fine. (Click here for our 2010 "Flip" chat with Fine. )

In part one of a two-part conversation, we asked Kanter to describe the hallmarks of a "networked nonprofit" and share the seven steps of measurement for a networked organization. In the video, she also explains why she feels the "measure everything" approach is misguided and what internal advocates for more measurement can do to get their skeptical colleagues on board.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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A 'Retail' Solution to the Dropout Crisis: A 'Flip' Chat With Dr. Michael Durnil, President/CEO, Simon Youth Foundation

October 17, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Jake Porway, founder and executive director of DataKind.)

In 1983, a blue-ribbon commission tasked with assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the American educational system arrived at the following conclusion: "Knowledge, learning, information, and skilled intelligence are the new raw materials of international commerce and are today spreading throughout the world as vigorously as miracle drugs, synthetic fertilizers, and blue jeans did earlier. If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all -- old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority. Learning is the indispensable investment required for success in the 'information age' we are entering...."

Three decades after A Nation at Risk, the report based on the commission's work, was released to the public, the American educational system is struggling to keep pace with a variety of powerfully disruptive trends, from globalization and rapid technological change, to growing inequality and the country's changing demographics. One thing everyone agrees on, however, is that the system fails far too many kids. How we address that failure and create an educational system that is more equitable, flexible, and affordable is the great challenge of our time. There are no easy answers. But one thing is clear: innovation and experimentation will be on the test.

Recently, PND spoke with Dr. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that works to reduce the school dropout rate and increase college access, about Simon Youth Academies, the foundation's signature program. Located primarily in malls owned by Simon Property Group, Simon Youth Academies are non-traditional high schools that give at-risk students the same education they would receive in a traditional classroom but in a flexible environment.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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On Putting Your Data to Work: A 'Flip' Chat With Jake Porway, Founder/Executive Director, DataKind

September 26, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Paull Young, director of digital at charity: water.)

There's no shortage of data in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. Indeed, a growing number of nonprofits are filling virtual filing cabinets with data on their constituents, donors, outputs, and outcomes, while more and more foundations are creating digital records of their program activities and grantees' performance. But what are nonprofits and foundations doing with that data once it has been collected? In most cases, not a whole lot.

At the same time, computer programmers have elevated so-called "hackathons"  and "codefests" into an art form. In rare cases, these events even enable hackers to contribute to the greater good by developing software or a mobile app that can be used to address a social problem. Too often, however, as Jake Porway, founder of DataKind, noted at a recent 501 Tech NYC event, they're just "a bunch of white dudes looking to solve their own problems, like where to find parking or farmers markets." Which is why his organization focuses on connecting programmers and data scientists interested in doing some social good with nonprofit leaders working to address some of the world's most urgent problems.

Formerly known as Data Without Borders, DataKind accomplishes its mission through weekend-long "DataDive" events; a DataCorps (i.e., a group of volunteers and/or contract employees who focus on a single project for up to six months at a time); and by providing on-demand/in-house data services.

After the event, I had a chance to chat with Porway about the nonprofit sector's relationship to and use of data and what nonprofits could be doing to make better use of their data. Porway also offered advice for nonprofit leaders who are worried about the steepness of the data learning curve.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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On Building Community Online: A 'Flip' Chat With Paull Young, Director of Digital, charity: water

July 31, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Helena Monteiro, executive director of the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support.)

There are currently 800 million people living without the very thing most of us take for granted: safe, clean drinking water.

Founded by former nightclub promoter Scott Harrison, charity: water has helped bring that precious commodity to two million people in the developing world. How? For starters, it has perfected the art of collaborating with local partners who know the language and customs of the target population and have mastered the logistical challenges of working in local communities.

The New York City-based nonprofit is also brilliant at fundraising and, largely through innovative digital outreach efforts like its birthday campaign, has raised more than $60 million for water projects in the developing world since it was founded in 2006.

What explains charity: water's phenomenal success? According to the organization's director of digital, Paull Young, it boils down to the following:

  1. Be positive. Powerful stories with positive messages are more effective than stories that make people feel guilty.
  2. Don't ask for money. What works with direct mail often doesn't work online. Instead of making an ask every time you communicate with your donors and supporters, give people a chance to learn about the "cool stuff" your organization is up to.
  3. Give. Raise. Influence. Focus on building relationships with your donors and supporters that enable them to see how they can maximize their ability to give, fundraise, and influence others over a period of years.
  4. Do it wrong quickly.
  5. Help donors and supporters see their impact. People are more generous if they understand clearly how their money is being used.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Young before he addressed a 501 Tech NYC event about the organization's birthday campaign, the metrics it uses to evaluate its online fundraising efforts, and a few of the fundraising lessons he and his colleagues have learned over the years.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

 

(Running time: 8 minutes, 8 seconds)

Have a thought or comment you'd like to share? Use the comments section below....

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With Helena Monteiro, Executive Director, Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support

May 11, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Courtney O’Malley, vice president of the Starr Foundation.)

Founded in 2000 by a group of philanthropy support organizations, Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, or WINGS, today comprises a hundred and fifty philanthropic "infrastructure" organizations representing fifty-four countries that work to strengthen philanthropy and a culture of giving through mutual learning and support, knowledge sharing, and professional development. Among other things, the network, which is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosts a global peer-learning event every four years and provides its member organizations with an online community where they can connect and share resources, including research reports, news, and capacity development opportunities.

In partnership with the Foundation Center, WINGS also is working to build a global data platform that provides a comprehensive view of:

  • the size, scope, and characteristics of the infrastructure for philanthropy;
  • global trends in institutional philanthropic giving; and
  • how data can be used to support global philanthropy.

Last week, PND sat down with WINGS executive director Helena Monteiro to discuss the Global Philanthropy Data Project, the challenges associated with developing a standardized global data collection system, and the importance of supporting philanthropic infrastructure.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.) 

(Running time: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)

Have a thought or comment you'd like to share? Use the comments section below....

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With Courtney O'Malley, Vice President, Starr Foundation

April 27, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Jennifer McCrea, a senior research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the originator of the "exponential" approach to fundraising.)

Established by Cornelius Vander Starr, an insurance entrepreneur who founded C.V. Starr & Co. and other companies later combined by his successor, Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, into what became American International Group (AIG), the New York City-based Starr Foundation is one of the biggest foundations you've never heard of. Chaired by Greenberg, the foundation, which earlier this week announced a $50 million gift in support of the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative (Tri-SCI), a project of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College, ranks forty-ninth on the Foundation Center's list of the largest U.S. foundations by asset size and forty-fifth by total giving but keeps a relatively low profile.

Earlier this month, PND sat down with foundation vice president Courtney O'Malley, one of ten full-time staff at the foundation, to talk about the foundation's history and areas of interest, its no-unsolicited-proposals policy, and its approach to transparency.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Running time: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)

 

The Foundation Center has an entire Web site, Glasspockets.org, dedicated to foundation transparency. To learn more about our efforts to bring transparency to the world of philanthropy, check out this Powerpoint presentation narrated by FC president Brad Smith.

Have a thought or comment you'd like to share? Use the comments section below...

-- Mitch Nauffts

On 'Exponential Fundraising': A 'Flip' Chat With Jennifer McCrea, Senior Research Fellow, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations

April 04, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our 'Flip' chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Big Duck principal and founder Sarah Durham.)

On Monday, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative announced findings from its latest report on charitable giving. Among other things, the Nonprofit Fundraising Study, 2011 (47 pages, PDF) found that 53 percent of the 1,602 charities surveyed saw donations increase in 2011, while 70 percent said they expect to see additional growth in 2012. Even so, the economy remains a concern for many nonprofit organizations, with about a third of respondents saying economic issues, nationally and globally, pose the greatest challenge to the success of their fundraising efforts in 2012.

Absent a tooth fairy or mega-millions lottery for charities, fundraisers in the nonprofit sector must use a variety of techniques to boost their organization's income in these uncertain times. Enter "exponential fundraising," an approach coined by Hauser Center senior research fellow Jennifer McCrea that aims to alter the buyer-seller dynamic that often characterizes donor-fundraiser relationships.

"We get very stuck in....this transactional mindset of 'what have you done for me lately', instead of actually having real conversations with people," explains McCrea. "Our work is so much more powerful if we can remove that buyer-seller dynamic and we can actually allow our passion for making a difference together shine through…."

For almost a quarter-century now, McCrea has worked to share her approach to fundraising with others -- most recently through a year-long course she teaches at Harvard's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, as well as on a one-to-one basis with nonprofit leaders from a wide range of fields.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Running time: 6 minutes, 41 seconds)

Do you raise funds for a nonprofit organization or charitable cause? What's working for you in this uncertain post-recessionary environment? And has anyone tried McCrea's "exponential" approach? If so, we'd love to hear what you found worked (and maybe didn't). Use the comments section below....

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Sarah Durham, Principal and Founder, Big Duck

February 13, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our 'Flip' chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Annie E. Casey Foundation president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.)

At a recent Foundation Center event, Big Duck founder Sarah Durham explained that her book Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications was written for small nonprofits that do not have the budget to hire an outside consulting group like her New York City-based communications firm.

Yes, the principles behind effective communications are pretty basic. But because most nonprofit leaders aren't well versed in marketing/communications strategy, they often have trouble following through on them, says Durham. For that reason, Brandraising seeks to show executive directors how to raise funds and increase the visibility of their organizations using approaches developed by some of the most successful fundraisers in the country.

Before the event got under way, I had a chance to chat with Durham about the different levels of "brandraising," the role young staff members can play in the strategic planning process, and how Big Duck measures its impact. On that last point, Durham said her colleagues set measurable goals at the start of each project and then, after implementation, sit down with the client to compare notes and see whether they were on target.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


 

(Running time: 4 minutes, 1 second)

What do you think? Do you agree with Durham that mobile is "the next big thing"? Has your organization started collecting cell phone numbers? Feel free to share you brandraising success stories in the comments section below.

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO, the Annie E. Casey Foundation

November 18, 2011

(This video was recorded as part of our 'Flip' chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with NYU Wagner School of Public Service senior fellow Gara LaMarche.)

Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which for the past sixty-plus years has worked to "foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families." A newly minted member of the Foundation Center’s board of trustees, McCarthy was in town for the November meeting. Before he headed back to Baltimore, we sat down to discuss the latest editon of the foundation's KIDS COUNT Data Book (88 pages, PDF), which reported, among other things, that the child poverty rate in the United States rose some 18 percent from 2000 to 2009 and that, in 2010, one out of every five kids in the U.S. was living in a household whose income was below the federal poverty level.

Research shows that poverty rates are highly correlated with negative outcomes for children. And a new study from Stanford University finds evidence of a widening opportunity gap in the United States. According to that report (33 pages, PDF), the share of Americans living in either the poorest or most affluent neighborhoods more than doubled over the last forty years, from 15 percent in 1970 to 33 percent in 2007, while the share of families in middle-income neighborhoods fell from 65 percent to 44 percent. The findings in both reports suggest a "worsening of trends that have been going on for some time," McCarthy noted during our chat.

As McCarthy suggests in the video below, much more needs to be done to address the root causes of poverty in the U.S., which last year reached the highest level since 1993. At the same time, we need to work towards getting "children on a path towards economic success and...building the kinds of technical skills and intellectual cognitive skills that they need to be successful tomorrow."

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Running time: 8 minutes, 3 seconds)

Do you agree with McCarthy's take on the Occupy Wall Street movement? And what advice would you give to funders seeking to address poverty in the United States? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

-- Regina Mahone

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