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Weekend Link Roundup (November 19 - 20, 2011)

November 20, 2011

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


Writing on the Communications Network blog, Rebecca Reyes, a communications associate at Everyday Democracy, shares an eight-step plan for measuring digital media.

Current Affairs

Have Fun Do Good blogger Britt Bravo, who is based in Oakland, explains why the Occupy Wall Street movement makes her "sad, and a bit tired." Writes Bravo:

The Occupy movement feels like the human race is screaming, "Help! Something is not right! Life is out of balance!" Thing is, there isn't anyone there to hear us, except us.

Only the 99% can help the 99%. Only we can help each other. How are we going to do it?...

In a brilliant post, The Atlantic's Alex Madrigal shares a few thoughts along those lines and, in the process, articulates what may be the best metaphor yet for the Occupy movement: social protest as API.


What does the American dream look like for the current generation of college students? On December 1 in Atlanta, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will host a panel discussion on that topic featuring Bob Herbert, former columnist for the New York Times and now a senior fellow at nonprofit think tank Demos; Deborah Bial, president and founder of the Posse Foundation; and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow, who will moderate. Students from several area colleges and universities -- including Agnes Scott, Clark Atlanta, Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Oglethorpe, and Spelman -- are invited to participate. "The nation's future depends on the next generation gaining full access to the American dream," says Blank Foundation president Penelope McPhee. "A world-class education is the key that unlocks the American dream for millions of young people." The talk will be Webcast live starting at 6:00 p.m. EST.


On the FSG blog, FSG managing director Mark Kramer "suggests that while investing in small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that provide a new solution to a social problem can indeed deliver social impact, "the high transaction costs, limited liquidity, and scarcity of good managers sets a ceiling on [the] ultimate scale of [that] impact." Instead, such investments should be augmented, Kramer argues, with new financial instruments like the $3.5 billion in vaccine bonds issued by the International Finance Facility for Immunisation or social impact bonds. "As the field matures," adds Kramer, "funders will realize that innovative financing structures, rather than individual social enterprises, offer the greatest chance for large-scale leverage."

On the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Paul Connolly, chief client services officer at the TCC Group, suggests that foundations should not only support individual nonprofits but provide funding to foster the development of issue-focused networks.


Rosetta Thurman has some advice for young nonprofit professionals looking to grow their network "the old-fashioned way." For starters, says Thurman, join a professional association, which, among other benefits, will "provide you with a ready-made network as soon as you pay your membership fee."

Nonprofit Management

Kim Cook of the Nonprofit Finance Fund shares some notes from the Theatre Communications Group's fall conference, which was dedicated to issues of governance.


In a post on the Fast Company blog, Nathaniel James, founder of the Awesome Foundation's Seattle chapter, talks with "well-respected philanthropy wonk" Lucy Bernholz about the emergence of the "open philanthropy" movement, which Bernholz describes as a "little revolution" that aims to encourage foundations to embrace transparency and use the "vast repositories of information" at their disposal to help solve stubbornly persistent social problems.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

On Oxfam's From Poverty to Power blog, WaterAid senior policy analyst Daniel Yeo wonders why more NGOs aren't working on water issues. While diarrhea is the biggest child killer in sub-Saharan Africa and preventable diarrhea associated with dirty water and poor sanitation "kills more children than AIDS, malaria, and TB combined," Yeo notes, WASH issues just aren't perceived as being "sexy" or a high priority in developed countries. And that, says Yeo, is a tragedy.

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

-- The Editors

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