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Weekend Link Roundup (July 16 - 17, 2011)

July 17, 2011

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

Capacity Building

At Beth's Blog, Paul Connolly of the TCC Group argues that "fortifying nonprofits' fundraising capability" is not a "no-brainer." In fact, new research conducted by the TCC Group on the Packard Foundation's nonprofit capacity-building efforts suggests that while "fundraising capacity is essential...it needs to happen in conjunction with solid leadership and organizational learning."


On the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Nathan Henderson-James, online director at the Leadership Center for the Common Good, commends the Freedom from Fear Award program for its use of social media tools like Twitter to crowd-source nominations for the award. "Not only does this approach have the ability to help expand the potential grant pool beyond those with the most 'insider' knowledge," writes Henderson-James, "[but] it also has the ability to reach potentially deserving grantees from traditionally underserved communities, because those communities tend to be among the most voracious users of social media."


"Never accept a gift that costs your nonprofit more than it's worth," writes Stephen L. Goldstein on the Fundraising Guru blog. "A gift of a collection of ancient coins to a historical museum may be interesting, but impractical to receive because of prohibitive insurance costs. Sometimes, you must say 'No.'"

On her About.com blog, Joanne Fritz shares findings from the most recent installment of Blackbaud's Index of Charitable Giving, which found that "charitable organizations experienced an uptick in donations in May to the tune of 11.3 percent."


On his Nonprofit Board Crisis blog, Mike Burns shares a few thoughts about effective nonprofit board governance.

Amy Ellsworth and Lisa Spalding of the Philanthropic Initiative wonder what a new foundation board member is to do when he/she observes "a number of bad behaviors that have become normalized." "How do you approach a difficult subject? How do you determine the best people to talk to?" ask Ellsworth and Spalding. Have you ever been around a situation like the one they describe? What's your advice? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Guest blogging on the Tactical Philanthropy blog, Jacob Harold of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation reflects on the challenges and opportunities facing program officers, many of whom are well positioned to facilitate collaboration among nonprofits working to address the same problem.

In a three-part series on the Philanthropy Potluck blog, the Minnesota Council on Foundation's Chris Murakami Noonan shares insights from program officers at MCF member organizations, including some of their pet peeves with respect to the grant application process, tips on how to get on a PO's good side, and general advice for development officers.

On Kris Putnam-Walkerley's Philanthropy 411 blog, Richard Woo of the Russell Family Foundation explains why it's important for foundations to frame their "grants, programs, and initiatives" around "the relevance of those offerings and the nature of our relationship with the community." Writes Woo:

What if we offered a grant and no one wanted it?

We must emphasize our relationships even as we deliver grants, programs, and initiatives. When we pay as much attention to authentic relationship development as we do to program development -- there is a greater chance of becoming relevant. Relationships are boundless, programs are finite.


On the Idealist.org blog, Jeremy MacKechnie lists a number of new Web sites that have adopted the Groupon model to promote social good.

While tools like Visual.ly make it easy for organizations to "show" their data, "You still need to know what kind of data representation (picture) helps make what kind of point," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "No doubt about it, a picture is worth 1000 words. Especially if it shows us something we can't see in the raw numbers or raw words, shows relationships we wouldn't otherwise find, or sparks new questions. If not, it's just a cool picture."

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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