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Weekend Link Roundup (October 23 - 24, 2010)

October 24, 2010

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

Communications/Marketing

On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen advises nonprofit communicators to use humor when crafting their organization's message. Writes Andresen, "If [Malaria No More] can make a campaign about blood-sucking, life-threatening mosquitoes funny and effective, then the rest of us have no excuse to be just a wee bit more aspirational -- if not amusing -- in our messaging...."

On Thursday, Nancy Schwartz announced the seventeen winners of the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition. Selected from among 70 finalists by more than 6,100 voters, the winning taglines "range from the regional (Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association) to the national (Youth Service America) [to the] global (Episcopal Relief & Development)."

Education

On her Answer Sheet blog, Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss chastises mega-wealthy philanthropists for believing that "the answer" to education reform "is specific and around the corner: a longer school day; a longer school year; charter schools; technology; standardized tests in every subject; assessing teachers by standardized test scores; for-profit education; training new college graduates for five or six weeks as teachers and then sending them into the toughest schools in America." The fact, adds Strauss, is that

there is no strong research to show that any of those elements will do much to help education by themselves, and even together, and some will hurt. Take charter schools, the pet project of many of Wall Street’s wealthy hedge fund founders, who have ignored the largest research study on charters that shows most of them are no better or worse than traditional public schools.

The strong link, born out by research over years, between educational attainment and poverty is ignored by these donors. These financial wizards believe that the public education, the nation’s proudest civic institution, should be run like a business.

...

Parents shouldn’t have [to shop around] to find a school acceptable for their children. Their neighborhood public school should be staffed with effective teachers and funded properly so that their kids can have an opportunity to get a fine education....

Journalism/Media

On the Humanosphere blog, KPLU's Tom Paulson, a Seattle-based reporter with decades of experience on the medicine and global health beats, shares his thoughts about a recently announced partnership between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ABC News aimed at promoting greater coverage of global health issues.

Impact/Effectiveness

Social Citizens' Kristien Ivie explains why nonprofits "need to be able to do both storytelling and impact measurement" when reporting back to donors about how grant funds were used.

Philanthropy

In a recent post on the White Courtesy Telephone blog, Greater New Orleans Foundation president and CEO Albert Ruesga looks at a new report, Do Nothing About Me Without Me, from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the Interaction Institute for Social Change that, says Ruesga, "raises some vexing questions about the proper division of labor between foundations and the communities they aim to serve."

Last week, Blackbaud released the results of its annual Global State of the Nonprofit Industry survey. On her Nonprofits blog at About.com, Joanne Fritz shares four trends captured by the survey.

Social Media

"Even if...'the revolution will not be tweeted'," writes Jane Wales on her Its Your World blog, "social media offer[s] tools, which, when used to [their] full advantage, can promote transparency, collaboration, and a new openness to ideas from unusual sources. Surely, these are values to promote," adds Wales, "especially in the world of social change...."

When it's time to get started with social media, writes Allison Fine, co-author (with Beth Kanter) of the Networked Nonprofit, "do have a conversation with your senior staff and board about the real fears that using social media invokes." Fine offers other social media do's (and a don't) in a recent post on her blog.

On the Case Foundation blog, Emily Yu shares a few examples of how nonprofit organizations are using location-based technology to accomplish their mission while engaging new and/or current supporters.

And Larry Blumenthal -- founder of Open Road Advisors, a consulting firm that helps foundations, nonprofits, and other organizations use the Web and social media effectively -- has compiled a list of the top hundred (and other) foundations that blog. Is your foundation missing from the list? Let Blumenthal know here.

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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