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Weekend Link Roundup (February 25-26, 2012)

February 26, 2012

Oscar_statuette2012Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector...


Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks explains why it might be time to think about retiring your nonprofit CEO as organizational spokesperson. According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, for-profit chief executives were trusted by only 50 percent of survey respondents in 2011, and that figure declined by 12 points to 38 percent in 2012. "I don't think nonprofit CEOs have done as much to squander their collective reputation as corporate CEOs have," writes Brooks. "But maybe some of the dirt has rubbed off on our leaders...."


On the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy blog, NCRP executive director Aaron Dorfman announces the release of a new report, Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders (52 pages, PDF), which suggests that foundations "can be more effective and secure more environmental wins by investing heavily in grassroots communities that are disproportionately impacted by environment and climate harms...."


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a nice Q&A with veteran Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karin, whose Moyer Foundation works to help children and teens struggling with the death of someone close or who live with an addicted or co-dependent family member.

Nonprofit Management

In a piece for the Washington Post, Nonprofit Finance Fund CEO Antony Bugg-Levine argues that many nonprofits, particularly frontline agencies such as homeless service providers, health clinics, and domestic violence shelters that provide essential services to the most vulnerable communities, are facing an "existential crisis." And it's not a short-term crisis resulting from cyclical cuts. "Even if the economy recovers," writes Bugg-Levine,

structural demands on public coffers driven by inexorable demographic trends and the inevitable diversion of public resources to pay off deficits will reduce governments’ capacity to fund essential social services for the next few decades at least....

Once we accept this fact, the typical responses -- blaming the government for its stinginess or blaming service providers for their inefficiency -- will be revealed as increasingly inadequate explanations.

Instead of these default responses, we need to consider a fundamental question: "How will we secure a just and vibrant society now that our old models of sustaining essential organizations are disintegrating?"...

In the wake of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure/Planned Parenthood debacle, Albert Ruesga offers some advice to charities on his White Courtesy Telephone blog. The "time for charities to do their soul-searching is now," writes Ruesga. "Once a campaign against your organization goes viral, it's time for you to step up to the microphones and tell the world who you are and where you stand. Faced with the question, What are you about?, in the wake of an unpopular decision, do you have a clear idea what you would say?"

To help nonprofits still waiting for economic recovery to knock on their door, Social Velocity president Nell Edgington offers a list of things nonprofit leaders can do to create a sustainable financial model.

Philanthropy Journal's Todd Cohen looks at how community foundations are adapting their business model to keep pace with the evolving needs of donors. For example, the recent merger of the Boston Foundation and the Philanthropic Initiative, writes Cohen, has created a hybrid model for community foundations that focuses on generating new funds and providing training and resources for donors. TPI president and CEO Ellen Remmer told Cohen that this type of structure "can help ease a natural tension [TPI] identified in the old model in a study ten years ago...."


After sharing findings from a recent Blackbaud report on online giving which found that "when large International Affairs organizations are removed from the analysis," online giving increased 13 percent in 2011, Allison Fine says the data confirms what many have known for years: "[O]nline giving is here to stay, most online giving happens when speed is important (year end and natural disasters), building relationships online (e.g. alumni) is a [key] to increasing giving."


On the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Jacob Harold, philanthropy program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, says that transparency, measurement of multiple bottom lines, proactive engagement with stakeholders, and collaboration "offer a framework for foundations to be more effective while avoiding unproductive government intervention. They are not simple boxes to be checked," adds Harold, "each is an attitude that must be embedded across foundation activities and constantly refreshed...."

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

-- The Editors

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