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Weekend Link Roundup (April 2-3, 2011)

April 03, 2011

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

Nonprofit Management

Uncharitable author Dan Pallotta shares six tips on how to avoid neglecting the last 1 percent of a project when doing so has the potential to destroy 100 percent of an organization's effort.

Host of this month's Nonprofit Blog Carnival, Katya Andresen offers a selection of posts that highlight "the good, the bad and the ugly" of the nonprofit world.

Rosetta Thurman suggests in a recent post on her blog that the "traditional...compete-for-money-or-close-our-doors...organizations led by 60-year-old white men are...becoming unsustainable in a rapidly changing world." Adds Thurman, "We've got to learn from what's working in other sectors, incorporate new approaches in our work, partner with those who are making an impact, and focus on getting even better at what we do."

Philanthropy

Responding to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune which reported that a number of local foundations had been asked, and agreed, to pay for Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's transition, the Nonprofiteer writes that she "doesn't blame the foundations for ponying up," though she wishes they hadn't. Part of a foundation's job is to influence public policy and make change, she adds, "and the mayor's office is an important route (sometimes the only route) to doing so. But the Emanuel administration-in-waiting should never have asked...the request makes it appear that access to city government is restricted to those who tithe."

On the Opinionator blog, New York Times Magazine contributor Tina Rosenberg explains the difference between "old-school fundraisers" and new crowdfunding sites that collect donations for various charities and causes. Writes Rosenberg:

It's true that some crowdfunding is the online equivalent of what's been going on in the real world for decades. There are numerous giving sites that try to take advantage of donors' contacts -- online contacts, but the idea is traditional....

Other crowdfunding sites, however, offer something new. Scroll through these sites and you will find catalogs of dozens or even hundreds of small projects, each with its own mini-site, for potential donors to consider....

There are some perils here. People give to Save the Children or Environmental Defense for a reason -- we can be confident these proven organizations know what they are doing. Giving to Joe's Social Change is a gamble. A good number of the projects you can find on crowdfunding sites seem more like whims than serious efforts, and many others look like well-meaning but inefficient efforts to duplicate work established groups are already doing....

Social Entrepreneurship

Philanthropy 2173 blogger Lucy Bernholz, a participant in this year's Skoll World Forum, advises social entrepreneurs to follow the advice of Water for People's Ned Breslin and listen "to the roar of the crowd." Writes Bernholz, "Social entrepreneurs need to listen to what they hear if they ask for it. The only thing worse than never listening is giving a voter, an activist, a dad, a schoolkid, a consumer, a mom a chance to voice their opinion and then ignoring it...."

Technology

In a post on the Tactical Philanthropy blog, ZeroDivide CEO Tessie Guillermo shares findings from Amplifying Social Impact in a Connected Age, a new report that looks at the "gap between the demand for and supply of technology funding, particularly as it relates to the application of technology for program impact."

On the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Diana Jue takes a look at the dissemination problems that keep new poverty-reducing technologies from reaching their target audience.

Transparency

And National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy executive director Aaron Dorfman applauds the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation for its "commitment to transparency," as evidenced by its newest publication, Helping People and Places Move Out of Poverty: Progress and Learning 2010 (46 pages, PDF).

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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