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Weekend Link Roundup (January 23-24, 2010)

January 24, 2010

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

Communications/Marketing

In a recent post, Getting Attention blogger Nancy Schwartz explains how nonprofit communicators can measure the impact of their media relations activities.

On her nonprofit marketing blog, Katya Andresen offers a glowing review of Seth Godin's new book, Linchpin, and shares a few takeaways on the importance of being indispensable not only to your organization but to your customers and donors as well.

Disaster Relief

"A quick glance at any number of newspapers this week [can]...challenge the [argument] that" there are too many nonprofits, writes Nonprofit Board Crisis blogger Mike Burns. For example, the New Tork Times profiled a handful of health organizations using methods "that had not been developed by the long-standing nonprofits with similar missions." Adds Burns: "As much as I firmly believe that there are many opportunities for partnerships, alliances and mergers, I am reminded that innovation often comes from newer and/or smaller groups. The donor sector must find a way to accommodate and support both for the betterment of society...."

On the Nonprofit Charitable Orgs blog at About.com, Joanne Fritz offers four reasons why the American Red Cross was able to raise such a substantial amount of money via its text-to-give campaign following the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Yelé Haiti, a charity created by Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean, received some negative attention after the Smoking Gun blog reported that the org "has a lackluster history of accounting for its finances." On Friday, Jean said the organization had hired a new accounting firm after he acknowledged that mistakes had been made. You can watch the musician defend his charity in this video on YouTube.

On the Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz lists a few examples of "crowd-sourced tool developments" created in response to the earthquake in Haiti and suggests that "As we think ahead to the next disaster we need to keep in mind that well-directed crowds are likely to be an important part of the relief infrastructure."

In a related post, Allison Fine writes that, given the increasingly important role nonprofits and NGOs are playing in disaster relief efforts, it is time for the nonprofit sector, perhaps led by Independent Sector, to develop a Nonprofit National Disaster Gameplan.

Fundraising

"If you want more donors," writes Jeff Brooks on the Future Fundraising Now blog, "and especially if you want more from donors -- you're going to have to give more to donors. More choices, more say in how their money goes to work, more reporting back on what they've accomplished through you, more programs that make their hearts soar...." Good advice, as always, from Brooks.

Impact/Effectiveness

"The main reason the dialogue on social outcomes is off track," writes Venture Philanthropy Partners chairman Mario Morino on the SSIR blog, "is because we have failed to keep our eyes fixed on the ends we are trying to advance...[namely] helping nonprofits create greater benefits for the people and causes they serve."

On the Open Society Institute-Baltimore's Audacious Ideas blog, 501(c) Solutions president Nancy Hall argues that there should be a "moratorium on starting nonprofits" in the region, not least because new nonprofits rarely are a good use of grant dollars. Adds Hall: "There are too many unmet needs to tolerate the squandering of time and dollars on unproven charities and ineffective and inefficient organizations...."

Philanthropy

Guest blogging on Beth's Blog, marketing and digital strategist Anne Mai Bertelsen offers an insider's perspective on the debate over the value of online contests created to advance a good cause. Writes Bertelsen, "Those of us who have planned, executed, and evaluated these types of contests for good on behalf of major brands have done so with the best intentions, and not to 'cause wash' -- i.e., buy good brand karma under the guise of philanthropy...." What do you think about the proliferation and value of these kinds of online contests? Enquiring minds want to know...

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org.

-- Regina Mahone

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