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25 posts from May 2011

A 'Flip' Chat With...Farra Trompeter, VP of Client Relationships and Strategy, Big Duck

May 09, 2011

(This is the sixth and last video in a series of videos, recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series, that explores how various nonprofits -- and the consultants they hire -- are using "social media for social good." You can check out our previous chats, with the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Brigida here, Small Act's Casey Golden here, Idealist's Julia Smith here, NTEN’s Amy Sample Ward here, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Renee Alexander here.)

As you think about how your organization should use social media, be sure to connect your social media strategy to the organization's mission, says Big Duck vice president of client relationships and strategy Farra Trompeter (@farra) in the final installment of our "social media for social good" series. Among other things, be sure to consider "your [nonprofit's] goals around raising money, creating change, [and] getting people to engage...and participate in programs or become a volunteer."

According to Trompeter, nonprofits should also pay attention to the following:

  • Examine your organization's culture. Can employees watch videos on YouTube, check Facebook, or update Twitter during office hours? If not, you're probably not ready to launch a social media campaign.
  • Check out the competition. What social networking sites are your competitors using? Chances are good your audience is there, too.
  • Assemble a dream team. Identify the people in your organization who are passionate about social media and put them in charge of implementing your social media strategy and tracking the results.
  • Draft a social media policy. Create a set of guidelines for staff to follow that includes advice about how to handle specific situations (e.g., a tweet or Facebook comment that puts your organization in a negative light).
  • Be willing to experiment and fail. Experimenting with different tools is the best way to learn what works and what doesn't. 

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Total running time: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)

Now it's your turn. What would you add to Trompeter's list? And what's the most important lesson your organization has learned about social media?

For more on the "Social Media for Social Good" event, check out these videos.

-- Regina Mahone

Weekend Link Roundup (May 7 - 8, 2011)

May 08, 2011

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

Ballesteros_goodbye Disaster Relief

On her Good Intentions Are Not Enough blog, Saudra Schimmelpfennig shares a list of "dos and don'ts to help you make the best donation decisions after a disaster."


On his personal blog, Charity Navigator president and CEO Ken Berger shares the foreword he penned for the Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox, a new book written by Robert M. Penna that "digs deep and provides us with many jewels that can help nonprofits begin to perform more effectively and hopefully restore our confidence in the sector...."

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, CEP president Phil Buchanan explains why his organization decided to invite Esther Duflo -- "an MIT economist and renowned proponent of 'field experiments'" -- to speak at its upcoming conference. Writes Buchanan:

I know emotions run high in the evaluation community when it comes to these issues, and for good reason. Experimental design has sometimes been promoted as the be-all end-all in ways that can be harmful. After all, whether a particular evaluative approach makes sense depends very much on the context.

However, I believe there is an important place for experimental design. There is a right time and place for the kind of approach Duflo espouses and, in those contexts, her approach to analyzing what works can help, quite literally, to save lives. Many lives....

International Development

After reading Jon Krakauer's Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero Lost His Way, Joanne Duhl writes in a recent post on the Deep Social Impact blog that "it is now clear that much of Mortenson's recounting of his experiences in Afghanistan was created from whole cloth...."

Nonprofit Management

On the Social Standard Innovation Review blog, Kelly Kleiman -- who blogs as The Nonprofiteer -- explains why groups created by business leaders with the specific purpose to "redefine the nonprofit model" do everything but. Writes Kleiman:

Whether the discussion purports to be about Low Profit Limited Liability Corporations (L3Cs) or public benefit corporations or triple bottom lines, the argument is always the same: Nonprofits should just get with the capitalist program, identify lucrative markets, and earn their keep like every other good red-blooded American.

This approach ignores the fact that nonprofit markets usually consist of clients who are not profitable to serve -- because if they were profitable to serve, the for-profit sector would be serving them. The better a nonprofit is at finding and serving its market, the poorer it will be, because though for-profit clients are a profit center, nonprofit clients are a cost center....

In advance of the release of Darian Rodriguez Heyman's Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, Idealist founder and executive director Ami Dar shares a foreword he wrote for the book that includes ten lessons he has learned over the last decade and a half. (To hear more from Dar, check out the "Flip" chat video we did with him last summer.)


Uncharitable author Dan Pallotta takes a look at some of things Warren Buffett "could have done to achieve massive systemic change with about $1.7 billion annually" -- roughly the amount Buffett has given to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation every year since 2006, when he pledged 85 percent of his wealth to the foundation. "Instead of directing the money to specific causes, Buffett could have revolutionized the system, or the context within which the causes he cares about have to operate," writes Pallotta. "Had he done that, he could have multiplied the impact of his gift by God knows how many times and changed the face of charity as we know it...."


And in honor of Mother's Day, Annie Newman, a communications officer at the Gates Foundation, chats with foundation co-chair Melinda Gates about the progress being made on the maternal health front. Gates also shares "the most important value" passed down by her mother and encourages other mothers around the world to use their "voice to tell governments that it's important to save women's lives."

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

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Renee Alexander, Social Media Manager, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

May 06, 2011

(This is the fifth in a series of videos, recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series, that explores how various nonprofits -- and the consultants they hire -- are using "social media for social good." You can check out our previous chats with the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Brigida here, Small Act's Casey Golden here, Idealist's Julia Smith here, and NTEN’s Amy Sample Ward here.)

What's it like to use social media to raise funds for a nonprofit working overseas? What are some of the issues that these types of nonprofits should be aware of? And how does a traditionally bureaucratic, top-down institution deal with the decentralized nature of social media?

In this installment of our "social media for social good" video series, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's social media manager Renee Alexander (@luckyrenee) addresses all of the above -- and more. Alexander is no stranger to using social media to raise money and awareness for a cause, having recently helped the fund launch Haiti365, a year-long project that invites supporters to take action on behalf of Haiti's children.

(After you watch the short video below, be sure to check out this video from New Marketing TV in which Alexander goes into more detail about Haiti365 and UNICEF USA's social media efforts to help and support victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated coastal areas of northeastern Japan in March -- efforts that included building walls on the last day of this year's South by Southwest conference so that attendees could write or draw messages for children affected by the disaster.)

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Total running time: 5 minutes, 01 seconds)

"No matter where you go there's unique sensitivities....We really have to think before we tweet," said Alexander when asked how the fund deals with the decentralized nature of social media. Although we couldn't agree more, we also understand that mistakes happen, especially in today's fast-paced digital world. Have you ever accidentally published a blog post or tweet that put your organization in a negative light? How did you and your organization handle the situation? What did you learn from the experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more on the "Social Media for Social Good" event, check out these videos.

-- Regina Mahone

Space Matters

May 05, 2011

(Laura Cronin is a regular contributor to PhilanTopic. In her last post, she offered advice about how best to support relief and recovery efforts in Japan.)

Probono_cover Anyone who surfs cable television channels knows that design shows are popular with U.S. viewers. From renovations of luxury villas in exotic locales to expert advice on how to transform a small space on a budget, we've all become armchair consumers of good design.

But where does the design-conscious nonprofit manager go when she suddenly realizes her agency's daycare center walls have been the same muddy chartreuse for two decades? Where can a nonprofit board on a budget find their own design star to turn an empty lot into an outdoor classroom?

Public Architecture, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that bills itself as "a catalyst for public discourse" about issues related to the built environment, is a great place to start. Indeed, says PA founder John Peterson, the talents of the design profession have been "wildly under exploited" when it comes to the public interest.

Public Architecture brokers projects large and small and is committed to the idea that all NGOs should have access to high-quality design services, regardless of the scope or scale of the project. Through its 1% program, the organization links nonprofit organizations in need of design assistance with architecture and design firms that have signed up to donate at least one percent of their time to the public good.

Continue reading »

A 'Flip' Chat With...Amy Sample Ward, Membership Director, NTEN

May 04, 2011

(This is the fourth in a series of videos, recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series, that explores how various nonprofits -- and the consultants they hire -- are using "social media for social good." You can check out our previous chats, with the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Brigida here, Small Act's Casey Golden here, and Idealist's Julia Smith here.)

"You run into trouble if you think social media is just Facebook or Twitter," Amy Sample Ward (@amyrsward), membership director at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), said at the Foundation Center's "Social Media for Social Good" (#SM4SG) event last week. By lumping e-mail, newsletters, and Web sites into the same category, Ward added, nonprofits run the risk of looking at social media as "the solution" rather than as another communications vehicle. 

In this installment of our "social media for social good" video series, Ward explains why, in terms of your social media activities, not taking the time "to know where your community is" and approaching social media like any other broadcast channel or marketing vehicle can get your organization into trouble. She also explains why "social CRM" -- the ability to track customer/constituent information and engagement across social media platforms -- will be the next big development in the social media space. (For more on social CRM, check out this post from NTEN executive director Holly Ross.)

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Total running time: 5 minutes, 28 seconds)

How about you? Are you measuring your organization's social media engagement? If so, how are you doing it and what, if any, lessons have you learned? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

And for more about DIY community engagement metrics, check out this post from Amy herself. 

-- Regina Mahone

Terrorism: A PubHub Reading List

The killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, has, for the moment, put the "war on terror" back on the American public's radar and resurfaced difficult questions about U.S.-led anti-terrorism efforts in the Muslim world, "enhanced" interrogation techniques in Guantanamo and elsewhere, and Pakistan's reliability as an ally in the struggle against international terrorism.

Pulled from the Foundation Center's PubHub catalog and the IssueLab archives, the nine reports listed below address various aspects of the global war on terror, including current strategies and tactics in that conflict, their effectiveness, and their long-term implications and consequences, for the United States as well as former detainees.


Terror_osi_trustdeficit As an international coalition struggles to contain a resurgent Taliban and bring a semblance of stability to Afghanistan, U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts in that country have generated mixed reactions among the local population. Indeed, current operations there appear to be sowing distrust and resentment among the very civilians whose support the coalition most needs, a 2010 report from the Open Society Institute argues. The Trust Deficit: The Impact of Local Perceptions on Policy in Afghanistan (25 pages, PDF) examines Afghan civilians' views on the presence of international forces in their country, the spike in civilian casualties and wrongful or abusive detentions of Afghans, and the deteriorating security situation that has shaped those views.

Terror_osi_nightraids Night-time search-and-seizure operations are one of the practices responsible for this "trust deficit," a 2010 report from OSI and the Liaison Office, an Afghan nongovernmental organization, suggests. Based on interviews with Afghan civilians, Strangers at the Door: Night Raids by International Forces Lose Hearts and Minds of Afghans (15 pages, PDF) examines how night raids deeply traumatize local communities, which in turn sours locals' perceptions of the international coalition and precludes meaningful cooperation with coalition forces. Despite recent changes to the way night raids are conducted, the report argues, the continued reliance on the tactic is alienating the Afghan population and undermining the rule of law in Afghanistan.

Terror_osi_confinement Based on interviews with former detainees, the OSI report Confinement Conditions at a U.S. Screening Facility on Bagram Air Base (16 pages, PDF) documents abuses of detainees at the main U.S.-controlled air field in Afghanistan, including sensory/sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and exposure to excessive cold, between 2007 and 2010. The report points to a lack of transparency and denial of access to the International Committee of the Red Cross as serious concerns, and lists a series of actions with respect to the holding and interrogation of detainees the U.S. needs to take to put itself in compliance with international standards.

Terror_osi_gtmoaftermath What about U.S. counterterrorism activities and practices outside Afghanistan?  Guantanamo and Its Aftermath: U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices and Their Impact on Detainees (136 pages, PDF), a 2008 report from the Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley looks at conditions and interrogation practices at the U.S. naval base located at the southeastern end of Cuba, as well as how those conditions affected detainees' subsequent reintegration with their families and communities. Based on interviews with former detainees, attorneys, U.S. officials, and military personnel, the report, which was funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, raises "troubling questions" about "the system created by the Bush administration for the apprehension, detention, and release of suspected members of the Taliban and al Qaeda taken into U.S. custody" since the attacks of September 11 and urges Congress to conduct a nonpartisan investigation into conditions at the base.

Terror_ hrc_retrurninghome The issue of deradicalization and disengagement of former Guantanamo Bay detainees remains an urgent issue, according to Returning Home: Resettlement And Reintegration of Detainees Released From the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (26 pages, PDF), a 2009 study by the Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley. Funded by the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the report calls for the implementation of a resettlement and reintegration policy designed to minimize the social stigma experienced by former detainees, short-term financial assistance and support as well as mental and physical health services for former detainees, and actions to ensure that detainees are reintegrated in partnership with local communities. U.S. support for such programs, the report argues, would enhance our national security, help repair the United States' image abroad, enable former detainees to lead productive lives, and strengthen multilateral cooperation in fighting international terrorism.

Terror_osi_torture Concern about "enhanced" interrogation techniques like waterboarding is the focus of the 2010 Physicians for Human Rights report Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the "Enhanced" Interrogation Program (30 pages, PDF). Funded by the Open Society Institute, the report examines evidence of medical professionals monitoring the interrogations of detainees, analyzing the results, and seeking to apply their observations to subsequent interrogations -- in part, the report suggests, to provide a basis for a "good faith" defense against charges of torture. Unfortunately, the use of health professionals in monitoring harmful interrogation techniques has resulted in a co-opting of health professionals by the national security apparatus, the report argues, and represents a violation of the fundamental medical admonition to "do no harm."

Terror_rand_deradicalizing Deradicalizing Islamist Extremists (244 pages, PDF), a 2010 report from the RAND Corporation (with support from the Smith Richardson Foundation), analyzes the processes through which Islamist extremists become deradicalized; assesses the effectiveness of deradicalization programs in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe; and outlines best practices, implications, and policy recommendations. Among other things, the report argues that such efforts should combine the rehabilitation of detainees through religious dialogue with the creation of disincentives to recidivism as well as support for and monitoring of deradicalized individuals' reintegration into society.

And from our friends at IssueLab, here are two nonprofit research reports on the subject:

Terror_issuelab cato Pakistan and the Future of U.S. Policy, a report from the Cato Institute, argues that America's actions in the war on terror are not accepted by "the majority of Pakistan's population, and officials in Islamabad cannot afford to be perceived as putting America's interests above those of their own people." The report also suggests that because the long-term viability of the nuclear-armed Muslim-majority country depends on the Pakistani public's repudiation of extremism, "our continued presence in Afghanistan is adding more fuel to violent religious radicalism [in Pakistan]" and undermining "our mission in the region."

Terror_issuelab world_security Defense Monitor: Where Is America Going? Five Years After Sept. 11, a 2006 report from the World Security Institute, is a collection of articles released on the fifth anniversary of September 11th. The collection includes: "Where Is America Going? Five Years After Sept. 11"; "In the Name of Fighting Terrorism: The United States Is Still Arming the World"; "The War on Terrorism: Winning the Un-Winnable"; and "Defense Budget Tutorial: So, You Think You Know the Costs of the Wars?"

Do you have a report you'd like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

And don't be shy about weighing in with your own thoughts about the war on terror and the strategies and tactics being used to prosecute that conflict.

-- Kyoko Uchida

A 'Flip' Chat With...Julia Smith, Communications and Media, Idealist

May 03, 2011

(This is the third in a series of videos, recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series, that explores how various nonprofits -- and the consultants they hire -- are using "social media for social good." You can check out our previous chats, with the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Brigida here and Small Act's Casey Golden here.)

Since 1995, Action Without Borders/Idealist.org has offered the nonprofit community a broad range of tools with the aim of helping to "build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives." Led by its founder Ami Dar, the organization has published numerous guides for young nonprofit professionals and sector-switchers and staged countless Graduate Degree Fairs for idealists. But for many, the organization's Web site (now in its third iteration) and online community (complete with job board and blog) has made the biggest impact. (For more on Idealist founder Ami Dar check out our very first "Flip" chat here.)

In this installment of our "social media for social good" video series, Idealist's Julia Smith (@juliacsmith) discusses how the site has evolved into a social media platform. Smith, who helps Idealist with its communications and media strategy, also explains how the organization's engagement efforts online differ from its efforts offline and shares some tips for nonprofits looking to get the most out of their social media activities.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Total running time: 4 minutes, 17 seconds)

In short, Smith's tips include:

  • Don't do all social media;
  • Do engage in some social media (as Network for Good's Katya Andresen explained in a recent blog post);
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes (or share your lessons learned with the rest of us!);
  • Do remember to have fun.

We couldn't agree more.

For more on the "Social Media for Social Good" event, check out these videos.

-- Regina Mahone

The Vital Role of Business in Addressing Societal Challenges

(Robert L. Smith is senior director of corporate responsibility for Eli Lilly and Company and president of the Lilly Foundation).

Lilly_cha_logo Eli Lilly and Company, like many companies, is changing the way we think about corporate responsibility. In the past, we generally focused our efforts on a set of financial obligations, primarily cash and product donations. However, our approach is changing, and for the better.

We know that the business of helping people become healthy involves more than medicine. Other factors such as access to care, education, and economic opportunity play important parts. It's vital that we as a company understand how these factors affect outcomes in human terms. Our greatest opportunities are global, and to seize these opportunities, we must see them. This means we must leave our offices, our labs, and our comfort zones.

On March 31, Lilly -- along with our charitable nonprofit partner, Cross Cultural Solutions -- announced that during 2011 we will send two hundred Lilly employees on company-paid, two-week international volunteer assignments. More than eighteen hundred of our people applied for the program, which we are calling "Connecting Hearts Abroad" (CHA). The first two hundred Lilly Ambassadors selected for this honor are from thirty-eight countries and represent all ranks and functions in our company. Throughout the year, they will be deployed in teams of eight or nine people to locations where care is greatly needed in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia.

CHA represents how Lilly is developing a broader commitment to corporate responsibility. The world's major societal challenges -- poverty, hunger, inconsistent access to quality education and health care, as well as environmental degradation -- are directly affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. They also indirectly affect us all. Along with governments, NGOs, and others, the business community -- particularly multinational corporations -- can and must play a more active and productive role in helping to address these remarkably complex problems. The reasons go beyond being the "right thing to do." If we go about our work in the right way, corporate responsibility can be the profitable thing to do, as well.

This notion of working toward meaningful win/win solutions has been a hot topic in the corporate responsibility arena. For example, Harvard's Michael Porter and Mark Kramer made a compelling case for creating shared value in the January/February 2011 edition of the Harvard Business Review. Specifically, they suggest that when companies strategically identify the intersection of social needs with their business opportunities and capabilities, new ideas and innovation can emerge. The result: companies will make greater and more enduring contributions to society and improve their bottom lines. Put another way, they write: "Shared value focuses companies on the right kinds of profits --profits that create social benefits rather than diminish them." They argue that this could be the future of capitalism.

For Lilly, a shared value approach motivates us to rigorously evaluate how our company can improve the health of people who are currently underserved. Specifically, given our expertise in non-communicable diseases -- especially diabetes -- we believe that, over time, we can help generate meaningful answers to these complex and burgeoning health challenges, which affect millions of people living in low-income, resource-constrained environments.

The center of gravity for our early efforts has been our core corporate responsibility team. However, to create significant shared value, we need to integrate this thinking deeply into the central energies of our company. We must convince a critical mass of people to view improving health for the underserved as more than just a philanthropic endeavor. More specifically, we need all of our people to consider the possibilities -- for both Lilly and patients -- to systematically employ our remarkable business capabilities in supporting those who are struggling to access improved health.

This brings me back to our Connecting Hearts Abroad Program. CHA combines our passion for innovation and caring, which leads to obvious benefits for our company. Our participating ambassadors have the opportunity to help those in need. Despite what many write and say about large corporations, it is an incontrovertible fact that organizations like Lilly consist of smart, dedicated, decent people who have a desire to serve their communities and our global society. For us, CHA provides a wonderful way for many of our people to give back. And, by extension, CHA is a powerful tool that can help us recruit, retain, and engage an even greater workforce with broad perspective about our part in the global health community.

The most compelling opportunity for CHA is the role it might play in generating new, innovative ideas that can improve human health. Our two hundred ambassadors (and the thousands more who engage with them on our internal social media platform) will learn a great deal, not only about new cultures but also the systemic challenges associated with improving health in underserved areas. In many ways, our work to integrate "shared value" concepts into our business is predicated on an increasing number of our people having a deeper appreciation of these profound health needs. By gaining this firsthand exposure, employees can draw upon a new source of intellectual and emotional fuel to generate new ideas—ideas that could make a positive difference for both patients and our company.

All of this reminds me yet again what an exciting time it is to be thinking about the evolving role of business in a global society. Those of us accountable for corporate responsibility and corporate foundations are in a unique position to lead an important set of changes. It's rarely a straight path, but if we are successful, we will have helped our companies and, most importantly, played a role in making the world a better place.

-- Robert L. Smith

A 'Flip' Chat With...Casey Golden, founder and CEO, Small Act

May 02, 2011

(This is the second in a series of videos, recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series, that explores how various nonprofits -- and the consultants they hire -- are using "social media for social good." You can check out our previous chat, with National Wildlife Federation digital marketing manager Danielle Brigida here.)

As keynote speaker Casey Golden -- founder and CEO of Small Act, a firm that helps nonprofits and businesses nurture their key online relationships through software and consulting -- explained at the Foundation Center's "Social Media for Social Good" (#SM4SG) event last week, social media represents the next stage in a communications revolution. Indeed, said Golden, social media is changing the way corporations communicate with customers and the way nonprofits engage their constituents. Never before has there been a communications medium "where you can actually build relationships" and "find advocates within your" network to keep your message going. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to be strategic in their approach to social media and to learn how to measure the right things.

That was just one of many takeaways from Golden's presentation and the panel discussion that followed, which included Julia Smith of Idealist, Farra Trompeter of Big Duck, Amy Sample Ward of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), and Renee Alexander of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. (For more information about the event, check out this post from the folks at Nonprofit Bridge.)

In this installment of our "social media for social good" video series, Golden, an entrepreneur since the age of 11, discusses why it's important for nonprofits to embrace social media and shares what he believes will be the next big thing in the space.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Total running time: 3 minutes, 59 seconds)

What do you think? What would you add to Golden's list of tips for resource-constrained nonprofits looking be more effective at social media? (Golden suggested nonprofits be consistent in the amount of time they spend online and how they distribute social media responsibilities.) Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more on the "Social Media for Social Good" event, check out these videos.

-- Regina Mahone

Weekend Link Roundup (April 30 - May 1, 2011)

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

Corporate Philanthropy

Network for Good's Katya Andresen recaps an event held nearly two weeks ago on cross-sector collaboration, which, she writes, is "experiencing a renaissance and replacing antiquated [corporate social responsibility] paradigms."

Allison Fine shares a few takeaways from Wired Workforce (29 pages, PDF), a new white paper written by Howard Greenstein of NYU's Heyman Center on Philanthropy and Tom Watson of CauseWired that looks at corporate social responsibility in a digital world. "What I found most interesting about this report is what the authors call the rise of 'citizen employees,'" writes Fine, "[e]mployees using their passion, voices, votes, dollars to not only support causes but push their companies to be engaged and philanthropic...."

Disaster Relief

Joanne Fritz offers some tips on helping survivors of last week's violent tornadoes and thunderstorms, which killed nearly three hundred people and caused severe property damage in Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and other parts of the South.


On his Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks explains why "the path to [fundraising] success is not imitating disaster fundraising."

International Development

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Central Asia Institute -- the charity founded by Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson -- Philanthropy Action's Laura Starita weighs in on the challenges of international development work. Writes Starita:

Since its inception, development has thrived on Big Ideas, those major actions or programs that, in theory, will bring wholesale change for people living in poverty. Poor countries lack infrastructure, so let's build a national network of roads. The poor need education, so let’s build schoolhouses.

Billions have been spent on such large-scale projects, but quite often, when their creators go back, they do not see major changes in income from market access, or major improvements in education levels for having that building (regardless of who built it). That is because Big Ideas often fail to account for the small changes in behavior necessary from the human beings that live near the roads or the schools. The roads are useless if they do not lead to buyers and the schoolhouses are not much good if the teacher never shows up. But would Three Cups of Tea and the Central Asia Institute Greg Mortenson runs have inspired so many devoted readers, and donors if they had imagined their money would be used on an idea as small as getting teachers to show up (an act that most westerners take for granted -- it's their job, after all) rather than on one as large, solid and tangible as building a school...?


On his Tactical Philanthropy blog, Sean Stannard-Stockton takes a look at how philanthropy is being moved "from the 'should' category (you 'should' work out, eat healthy, call your mom and give to charity) to the 'want' category (you 'want' to have fun, feel good about yourself, eat yummy food)."

Social Innovation

In his new Public Measures blog on the Chronicle of Philanthropy site, Patrick Lester, senior vice president for public policy at the Alliance for Children and Families and United Neighborhood Centers of America, takes a closer look at how the eleven organizations that won a total of $50 million in the first round of grants awarded by the federal government's Social Innovation Fund, have been distributing the money.

Social Media

In a recent post, Beth Kanter explains how to write an elevator pitch that can be used for your organization's Twitter bio. Among other things, she suggests following this template:


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

-- Regina Mahone

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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