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Weekend Link Roundup (October 10 - 11, 2009)

October 11, 2009

Chain-links Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Corporate Philanthropy

Blogging at BlackGivesBack, Tracey Webb shares a recent item about the newly renovated Betsy Hotel answering President Obama's call to service by appointing Dr. Deborah Briggs as its first vice president for philanthropy. The hotel's "community-conscious" efforts will include backing education, medical research, nonprofit sustainability, the arts, culture, and African Relief initiatives. And let's not forget: next month the Betsy will host the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

Blogging at Reimagining CSR, Jessica Stannard-Friel spotlights the Boston College Center on Corporate Citizenship's report State of Corporate Citizenship 2009: Weathering the Storm. After sharing some of key findings from the report, Stannard-Friel suggests that the "recession might be a good thing for the field of CSR," in that "as companies are faced with both increased social needs and decreased resources...[one can hope] they will learn to build programs that are truly win-win."


Jeff Brooks, newly minted creative director at TrueSense Marketing, has moved his fundraising how-tos and marketing advice to a new domain: Future Fundraising Now. (H/t: Give and Take)


In the latest installment of her series celebrating Hispanic leaders in the nonprofit sector, Rosetta Thurman interviews Danielle Reyes, program officer at the Eugene & Agnes Meyer Foundation.

Nonprofit Management

On her Nonprofit Leadership 601 blog, Heather Carpenter shares her takeaways from the recent Nonprofit HR Conference on the future of recruitment and hiring in the sector.


Lucy Bernholz kicked off a fascinating crowdsourcing exercise on her Philanthropy 2173 blog last week by posting a map of the landscape of donors and do-ers and then inviting readers to submit comments and/or visual representations of their own. The results -- here, here, and here -- are really interesting. Be sure to check them out.

Gift Hub blogger Phil Cubeta compares the gift economy -- "the kindness done years ago that can be called upon in one's own hour of need" -- to the strategic grantmaking economy and concludes that "we need more of the true gift economy if we are to recover our humanity."

On the Foundation Center’s Philanthropy Front and Center–Atlanta blog, Stephen Sherman takes a closer look at the new Bridgespan Group study Nonprofits in America: Overcoming the Resource Gap, and shares strategies and recommendations from the report on how to help rural nonprofits succeed.

Are you thinking about participating in the second iteration of America's Giving Challenge, a month-long competition sponsored by the Case Foundation, in partnership with Causes on Facebook and PARADE Publications, designed to raise awareness of and increase interest in online giving? Before jumping in, read Katya Andresen's thoughtful list of reasons why you should and how to get involved.

Social Entrepreneurship

Twitter has added a number of social entrepreneurs to its list of suggested users -- and that, says Sean Stannard-Stockton on the Tactical Philanthropy blog, has nudged "evolving social capital markets into the mainstream." Peter Panepento, the Chronicle of Philanthropy's Web editor, wants to know which "tweeps" from the nonprofit world are missing from the list.

Being included in the “suggested users” list is "more valuable...than if [Twitter] had donated...$1,000,000 [to these social innovators]," says Nathaniel Whittemore on the Social Entrepreneurship blog. Do you agree? And how much would you pay to get your name on Twitter's suggested user list?


In preparation for the 2009 NMC Symposium for the Future, Beth Kanter has been asked to gaze into her crystal ball and answer these questions:

  • What role will social media play in the future for the nonprofit social change sector?
  • What do nonprofits need to do to thrive?
  • Is this a shiny future or a dire future?
  • What will be different about nonprofits in the future?

Conversations about the future of the sector, social change, and technology are taking place all over the Internet, and Kanter pulls a number of them together. Her conclusions?

  • To date, nonprofits have failed to maximize the potential of technology as a powerful force to effect transformational social change, to improve people's lives, and to mobilize their collective power. How, she then asks, can we assist organizations in moving from using technology to increase their internal productivity to using it to fuel social change?
  • The transformative power of technology has been successfully leveraged in the business community and has produced "game changing" models such as eBay and Google. How can we support innovation, invention, and adoption of transformative technology for the public good?
  • The barriers preventing the nonprofit community from harnessing the power of technology include lack of understanding and know-how, privacy concerns, institutional resistance, and real or perceived start-up costs. How can we overcome these, and other, barriers to widespread technology adoption?

What does your crystal ball say about the future of the sector, social change, and technology? Share your comments with Kanter and her readers here. Or leave them below....

Social Media

At the Have Fun Do Good blog, Britt Bravo lists ten questions your organization should ask as it jumps into the world of social media:

  1. What is the goal we're trying to achieve by using social media?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What are people already saying about our cause or organization?
  4. How much time do we have to spend on social media?
  5. How much money do we have to spend on social media?
  6. What skills do we have?
  7. What social media tool(s) should we use?
  8. How will we measure success?
  9. What is our growth plan and/or exit strategy?
  10. How can we have fun using social media?

As a recent article in the New York Times explains, the Federal Trade Commission has announced it will release a new set of regulations, effective December 1, that would require bloggers who review products to disclose any conflicts of interest they may have, "including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers...." On his Buzz Machine blog, Jeff Jarvis wonders whether the FTC has taken things too far. Writes Jarvis:

There are so many bad assumptions inherent in the FTC's rules:

First, Pay Per Post et al, as I realized late to the game, are not aimed at fooling consumers. Who would read the boring, sycophantic drivel its people write? No, they are aimed at fooling Google and its algorithms. It's human spam. And it's Google's job to regulate that.

Second, the FTC assumes -– as media people do -– that the Internet is a medium. It’s not. It’s a place where people talk. Most people who blog, as Pew found in a survey a few years ago, don’t think they are doing anything remotely connected to journalism. I imagine that virtually no one on Facebook thinks they’re making media. They’re connecting. They’re talking. So for the FTC to go after bloggers and social media -- as they explicitly do -- is the same as sending a government goon into Denny’s to listen to the conversations in the corner booth and demand that you disclose that your Uncle Vinnie owns the pizzeria whose product you just endorsed....

Insanity and inanity. And danger.


Last but not least, the Chronicle of Philanthropy has launched the VolunTV Challenge, a competition designed to engage readers in creating story lines for their favorite TV shows that highlight real-life volunteers and volunteerism. A grand-prize and two silver-prize winners will receive a donation in their name to a charity of their choosing. Entries must be submitted by October 26. For more information, visit the VolunTV challenge site. (H/t: Allison Fine)

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at [email protected]. And have a great week!

-- Regina Mahone

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