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Weekend Link Roundup (July 24 - 25, 2010)

July 25, 2010

Dog_days Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks shares a few tips from the Talance blog on what it takes to design a "terrible nonprofit website."

Governance

Nonprofit Board Crisis blogger Mike Burns weighs in with a positive review of Do Something CEO Nancy Lublin's new book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business. But in a different post he takes issue with the chapter on governance.

Impact/Effectiveness

Guest blogging on the Equity Blog, Harlem Children's Zone president/CEO Geoffrey Canada calls the Brookings Institute report The Harlem Children's Zone, Promise Neighborhoods, and the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education "a wrong-headed take" on the work of his organization. Writes Canada:

The report equates the Harlem Children’s Zone with our Promise Academy public charter school as if they were one and the same. This is inaccurate and misleading. Anyone who has even a basic understanding of our work would realize that the Harlem Children’s Zone is a comprehensive place-based strategy that has a goal of working with all children that reside in our Zone, whether they go to our public charter schools or traditional public schools....

Even while misunderstanding the basic premise of the Harlem Children's Zone, the Whitehurst and Croft analysis has several weaknesses. First, it looks at only one of our charter schools, Promise Academy I. If Whitehurst and Croft had decided to look instead at our other charter school, Promise Academy II, which started with children in kindergarten and first grade, they would have found that Promise Academy II was not in the middle of Bronx and Manhattan charter schools, but in the top quarter. The decision to exclude Promise II students, in our opinion, is a fatal flaw in their report....

Canada goes on to list several other "misrepresentations" in the Whitehurst/Croft report. The entire post is worth a read.

"The nonprofit marketplace doesn't need better disclosure, more transparency, more accountability," writes Sasha Dichter on his blog. "But we need a mental model of what we hope our sector will look like when we're successful if we're ever going to get there. And 'better than where we are now' isn't much of a rallying cry...."

Philanthropy

In conjunction with the XVIII International AIDS Conference last week in Vienna, Bill Gates has issued a call for more effective HIV funding. "Even as we continue to advocate for more funding," writes Gates, "we need to make sure we're getting the most benefit from each dollar of funding and every ounce of effort...."

In a series of posts on the Intrepid Philanthropist blog, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations president/CEO Kathleen Enright shares "unsolicited advice to the Friends of Buffett and Gates (FOBGs) as they consider dipping their toes into the world of big-time philanthropy...."

On her blog, Networked Nonprofit co-author Allison Fine shares some highlights from the Monitor Institute's report What's Next for Philanthropy.

Social Entrepreneurship

Last week, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced the first grants awarded through its Social Innovation Fund. After reviewing the list, Nathaniel Whittemore took to his Social Entrepreneurship blog to ask whether a more appropriate name for the fund might not be the Social "Funding What Works" Fund.

In a related post, Tactical Philanthropy blogger Sean Stannard-Stockton commends CNCS for its choices, saying "the results read like my personal wish list for how I thought they should approach their decision."

Social Media

Frogloop blogger Allyson Kapin shares findings from the NTEN 2010 Nonprofit Benchmarks Report. According to the report, Facebook is the number-one social networking site used by nonprofits, while the number of Twitter users "following" nonprofits has grown more than 620 percent -- from an average of 286 in 2009 to an average of 1,800 in 2010.

Elsewhere, the Nonprofiteer criticizes Chase's Community Giving contest on Facebook for "turning [nonprofits] into marketing satellites of Chase Bank."

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

-- Regina Mahone

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