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Weekend Link Roundup (March 26-27, 2011)

March 27, 2011

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

Arts and Culture

In a post on his Createquity blog, Ian David Moss deconstructs the recent controversy sparked by NEA chair Rocco Landesman’s comments about supply and demand in the arts. The "phenomenon of oversupply...is far, far bigger than the nonprofit arts sector," writes Moss.

It affects industries ranging from video games to smartphone application stores, Facebook, cable TV, and yes, blogs. In many ways, it is existential in scope: our brains and lifespans are not built to withstand this onslaught of choices. The supply of artists, arts organizations, and even capital may increase with relative ease, but the supply of time in the day, last I checked, remains pretty constant.

So to me, the conversation we should be having is not about reducing supply. Instead it is about defining the responsibilities of cultural institutions to provide stewardship for a world in which supply of creative content is exploding and will never shrink. In this era of infinite choice, there is a desperate need for guidance as to how we should allocate the precious few hours that we have to experience something that will feed our souls, make us think differently, or incur a hearty laugh. In other words: for curation. We need someone to listen to, watch, and view all of the chaff so that we can confine our own time to the wheat....

Communications/Marketing

On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen shares findings from a recent study which found that when it comes to social media adoption, the top 200 charities outpace both Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 companies.

To help nonprofit communicators working at emergency response organizations formulate a better ask in the wake of a disaster, Getting Attention's Nancy Schwartz offers some advice on her blog.

Disaster Relief

More than two weeks have passed since a violent earthquake and massive tsunami devastated large areas of northeastern Japan. On the GiveWell blog, Holden Karnofsky updates and clarifies the GiveWell position vis-a-vis to donating to relief and recovery efforts in Japan, especially in light of a bulletin issued this week by the Japanese Red Cross which states that the relief organization, "with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has determined that external assistance is not required, and is therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors at this time."

Governance

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy executive director Aaron Dorfman explains why the size and diversity of a foundation's board matters on the organization's Keeping a Close Eye blog.

Impact/Effectiveness

In the second part of a two-part series on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Commonwealth Fund executive vice president and COO John Craig offers a few guidelines for revising the 990-PF form that, says Craig, "would strengthen the sector's own self-regulatory efforts to ensure effective use of the nation's philanthropic resources."

GuideStar president and CEO Bob Ottenhoff proposes three ideas to help high-performing organizations better prepare for "black swans" -– "high-impact, hard to predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology."

Leadership

On the Philanthropy Potluck blog, Chuck Peterson, vice president of member relations at the Minnesota Council on Foundations, celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Rosetta Thurman explains why nonprofit leaders should not be encouraged to vie for mangement roles like the folks on NBC's hit TV show The Apprentice. Writes Thurman, "Organizations have an enormous opportunity (especially nonprofits) to reframe how they define and reward leadership among staff. If people are only rewarded when they earn promotions, it's much more likely that there will be competition to be the 'top dog.'"

Microfinance

Nice Q&A in the Wall Street Journal with Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus about the Nobel laureate's rift with the government of Bangladesh, what it means for Grameen's future, and the status of succession plans at the bank.

Regulation/Oversight

On the Harvard Business Review blog, Uncharitable author Dan Pallotta gives six reasons why a bill proposed by Oregon's attorney general that would strip the tax-deductibility of donations made to organizations spending less than 30 percent of their annual budget on services over a three-year period should be withdrawn.

Social Entrepreneurship

The Case Foundation's Allie Burns rounds up news from and blog coverage of the recently concluded South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference, including a video in which Skimbaco's Katja Presnal chats with PepsiCo social media and digital director Bonin Bough and Fast Company senior innovation editor Ellen McGirt about the most exciting things to emerge at the conference.

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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