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Weekend Link Roundup (January 15 - 16, 2011)

January 16, 2011

Martin-luther-king-jr Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen explains why, in a 2.0 world, the terms audience, cultivation, and message strategy "don’t reflect how [nonprofits] should be doing business."

Disaster Relief

Last week saw the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed over 200,000 and left a million more homeless in Haiti. To mark the occasion, a number of bloggers weighed in with their thoughts and reflections. In a post on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz looks at a new report from the Knight Foundation which examined the roles of media and communications in responding to the disaster and offers some second thoughts of her own on the role of mobile text giving in the wake of the disaster.

On the GiveWell blog, Holden Karnofsky explains what charities have and have not accomplished in Haiti in the twelve months since the quake, while on the Charity Navigator blog Sandra Miniutti shares a few comments from disaster relief organizations that were made during a recent roundtable discussion "about what went right, what went wrong....and what’s next for their charity in Haiti."


In conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy wonder whether philanthropy is commendable? "For us," they write

this is what it really comes down to: how does philanthropy measure up during these challenging times? Are we good philanthropic neighbors? Is institutional philanthropy the priest or the Levite or the Samaritan? Are grantmakers truly willing to take risks to help a brother or sister in need? Is philanthropy more than merely commendable? Do we possess the dangerous altruism of the good Samaritan and of the man whose legacy we celebrate this holiday?

Poverty Alleviation

The already heated debate around microcredit and the proper role of for-profit lenders in the space got even hotter this weekend. On Saturday, in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Grameen Bank founder and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus argued that in its quest for profits, the industry had lost its way. In a post on his Philanthrocapitalism blog, Matthew Bishop quickly rode to the defense of for-profit microlenders, taking Yunus to task for suggesting, among other things, that they were "loan sharks" and comparing the Nobel Prize winner to the mythical Greek titan Cronus, who devoured his own children rather than let them take his place in the heavens. Bishop's post, in turn, drew a sharp reponse from Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon, who used words like "peculiar" and "disengenuous" to characterize Bishop's arguments. You can bet we'll be hearing a lot more on this topic in the months to come.

On the Case Foundation blog, Josh Tabb shares a video in which Invisible.tv founder Mark Horvath explains how he uses technology to give the homeless a voice.

Social Media

And on the Frogloop blog, Rad Campaign co-founder Allyson Kapin argues that social media is a bubble about to burst. Writes Kapin:

In the past four years, we have witnessed social media transition from a social space to a medium that often feels like a competitive public relations arena filled with “influencers” who have so-called Klout and strategists who have made money on empty promises.

"To be honest, it's so crowded and very few people are listening to the open stream anymore. That was quite different when we originally launched TweetsGiving," said [Stacey] Monk [co-founder, Epic Change].

So the next time someone tells your nonprofit that social media is the bees knees, ask them to show you social media's ROI - aka it's direct impact on nonprofits. Ask them to show you the increase in memberships and donations across the nonprofit sector and the evidence that more people are calling or meeting with their members of Congress to lobby for legislation. Ask for proof that the needle is being moved.

Social media as a fundraising, list building, and organizing tool has been inflated for four years. How much longer can nonprofits afford to significantly over-invest in it, before the bubble bursts?

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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Posted by Allyson  |   January 16, 2011 at 07:44 PM

Thanks for the shout out Regina.

Posted by Katya  |   January 18, 2011 at 07:24 AM

Thanks for the link - and for hte great roundup overall!

Posted by Yna  |   January 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Thanks for including Niki and Kevin's blog post for MLK Day!

Posted by Regina Mahone  |   January 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Our pleasure, Allyson.

Posted by Regina Mahone  |   January 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

No problem, Katya. Thanks for dropping by - we appreciate your feedback!

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