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Weekend Link Roundup (November 12 - 13, 2011)

November 13, 2011

Veterans-dayOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On the Guardian's Global Development blog, Brookings Institution senior fellow Kevin Watkins criticizes Bill Gates for ignoring international education in his speech to world leaders at last week's G20 Summit. "Education in the world's poorest countries does not figure high on Bill Gates's list of development priorities," writes Watkins. "[And]...applying his market-based strategy in the poorest countries is a prescription for social inequality. At risk of over-generosity, we award him a C- on education, with the hope that he will come back next year and do better."


In a recent post on the Nonprofit Finance Fund's Social Currency blog, Andrew Schwalm argues that nonprofit orgnizations which are able to clearly and accurately articulate their financial story and resource needs are in "a better position to make a...case for support." To that end, Schwalm and his NFF colleagues have created a self-assessment worksheet to help nonprofits assess their stengths and weaknesses.


Harvard Business Review blogger Dan Pallotta argues that before an organization can think outside the box, it needs to figure out what kind of box it's in. "Zune was Microsoft trying to think outside the box, which they saw as the lack of a product to compete with the iPod," writes Pallotta. "The doomed MP3 player became a monument to the real box, which was Microsoft's inability to innovate. It was screaming so hard 'Look, we're innovative' that it never had a chance of being anything but the antithesis of innovation...."

In a wide-ranging interview, Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani spoke with Paul Carttar, director of the federal government's Social Innovation Fund, about the nature of the social innovation sector in the U.S., the fund's milestone achievements, its priorities moving forward, and the future of social innovation. You can read part one here; part two is here.

Social Velocity blogger Nell Edgington has an interview with Robert Egger, founder and president of DC Central Kitchen, the country's first "community kitchen," that touches on some of the things nonprofits need to do to demonstrate how they are actually driving change. The tireless Egger has just launched CForward, "a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that champions the economic role of the nonprofit sector and supports candidates who include the sector in their plans to strengthen the economy."


On the Venture Philanthropy Partners site, VPP chairman Mario Morino poses six questions that "every nonprofit board and executive team must ask to prepare for rough financial straits ahead."


Earlier this week, Tactical Philanthropy blogger Sean Stannard-Stockton announced that, after five years, he and his widely read blog will be taking a sabbatical. "I have learned so much from the Tactical Philanthropy community," writes Stannard-Stockton, "and have become only more convinced that the field of philanthropy is rushing forward toward a Second Great Wave of philanthropic activity that is fundamentally different from the philanthropy of the last century." We've been admirers of Sean's work from the beginning and wish him great success in his future endeavors.

Poverty Alleviation

Deep Social Impact blogger Joanne Duhl wonders why Americans have accepted and become complacent about growing poverty in their country, and offers a few suggestions for funders working to improve the lives of those in need.

Social Entrepreneurship

In the Washington Post’s new On Giving section, "Social Entrepreneurship and the Next Generation of Giving" features interviews with Kiva.org's Premal Shah and Ashoka's Bill Drayton about the fundamentals, evolution, diversity, and challenges of social entrepreneurship, including the difficulties of applying universal effectiveness metrics to a diverse range of activities. "[Social entrepreneurs'] goal is to get the system to evolve in the fundamental pattern-change ways that will help the children, the parents, the society -- the whole thing," Drayton says. "They see a problem, and they can't imagine stopping and being happy in life until they've changed the pattern in the field."

Social Media

In conjunction with the launch of Google+ Pages, Social Media for Social Good author Heather Mansfield offers step-by-step instructions for nonprofits looking to establish a presence on the social networking platform.


And on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Meyer Memorial Trust communications director Marie Deatherage explains why her perception of "foundations as moated fortresses that operate by a secret rich-people code" was wrong.

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

-- The Editors

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