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Weekend Link Roundup (June 11 - 12, 2011)

June 12, 2011

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


At Nancy Schwartz' Getting Attention blog, guest blogger Joan Stewart shares five lessons nonprofit communicators should take away from Congressman Anthony Weiner's sordid social media disaster.


On the Deep Social Impact blog, Joanne Duhl wonders whether a funder that has had a negative experience with an organization and decides not to renew its grant has additional obligations to the grantee in question. Should the funder "reach out to the executive director for a candid conversation about [its] concerns? [Should it] relay [its] concerns to the Board of Directors, who are ultimately responsible for the organization?" Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Nonprofit Management

Over at the Philanthropy Potluck blog, the Minnesota Council on Foundations' Susan Stehling shares findings from a recent GrantCraft survey that asked foundation staff how they "think about time and how they manage it."


Last week, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy launched Philanthropy's Promise, an initiative to encourage the nation's leading foundations to dedicate a majority of their grant dollars to underserved communities and at least 25 percent to strategies that address the root causes of social problems. To date, sixty-four foundations have signed on to the campaign and submitted statements explaining their support for the initiative.

While D.C.-based blogger Brigid Slipka thinks the campaign is an important step on the part of foundations toward shedding their "siloed identity," she doesn't think it meets the definition of "collaboration." To help funders move in that direction, Slipka lists three collaborative activities foundations could engage in now -- data sharing, developing a universal grant application, and joint advocacy -- to advance the campaign's many admirable goals.

Foundations amass a wealth of information about nonprofits and community needs. But how can "we get [them] to share the critical information they collect," Lucy Bernholz asked in remarks she delivered last week at the Personal Democracy Forum and shares in a post on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "This is tricky -- foundations are neither rational market actors nor subject to the pressure of the electoral cycle," writes Bernholz, "We need strategies that mix demand with use with pride plus ambition." To that end, Bernholz offers "three easy things you can do to help unlock foundation information," including:

Ask them for it. You know the old adage, when you want money ask for advice? When you're asking foundations for money, also ask them for the data they have on an issue. As you use online giving platforms ask for data from foundations. If you use a foundation's grants list as a resource in your own giving -- let them know that and share that information online.

Give them permission to share your information. Proactively suggest to foundations that it's OK with you for them to share your proposal with other funders. Encourage them to seek partners on your behalf.

Show them what their data look like. Show them what we know. Here's where we need data hackathons that include foundation data, apps that mix private funding sources with public data streams, and trend analyses...that make sense of the information the funders are sitting on. Go to the Foundation Center's website, which hosts the Glasspockets site with information on the open sharing practices of foundations, and map that data with your public datasets -- show them what is possible....

Social Media

Last but not least, in a recent Fundraising Success magazine article, Heather Mansfield of the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog offers ten common mistakes nonprofits make when using social media.

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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