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Weekend Link Roundup (March 17-18, 2012)

March 18, 2012

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


See3 Communications chief executive Michael Hoffman offers three reasons why the Kony 2012 video went viral in a post on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's Social Philanthropy blog: the organization behind the video, Invisible Children, got its story out first; it simplified a complex set of issues by making the story about a single individual; and it made you, the person watching the video, the hero of the story.

On her blog, social media expert Allison Fine has a few suggestions for Invisible Children on what it could have done better.

And Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks, while generally complimentary about the video, says there's one thing wrong with it: "The noise it creates in our industry." Adds Brooks: "Whenever a nonprofit pulls off something freakishly successful like this, there's a groundswell: Development directors everywhere are saying 'Get me some o' that Kony 2012'. Before jumping on that bandwagon, Brooks suggests that fundraisers take a few things into consideration -- including the fact that the success of the Kony video will be hard, if not impossible, to replicate.


Last week, the marketing folks at BBH Labs were roundly criticized for their decision to help homeless people in Austin earn a few dollars during the South by Southwest conference by having them serving as mobile "hotspots" for conference-goers on a pay-as-you-wish basis. Not everyone piled on the company for its tone-deafness, however. InvisiblePeople.tv creator Mark Horvath, for one, applauded the company for its innovative approach. Said Horvath:

What BBH Labs did with Homeless Hotspots is a harmless and fun idea that provides a positive interaction between homeless people and the rest of you. Plus, our homeless friends made a few bucks. And even more important -- they were given self-worth. Unless you [have been] on the streets, you have no idea how low one's self-esteem gets. The number-one thing you can give another person is your attention, and the Homeless Hotspot vendors at SXSW got lots of that. Every one I met was smiling ear to ear....


When it comes to diversity training, writes consultant and author (18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done) Peter Bregman, organizations should "stop training people to be more accepting of diversity. It's too conceptual, and it doesn't work." Instead, says Bregman, organizations should "train [employees] to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. People."


In a guest post on Beth's Blog, Greater New Orleans Foundation president and CEO Albert Ruesga, who was in Seattle last week attending the 2012 Grantmakers for Effective Organizations conference, takes a closer look at a report, Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter? (20 pages, PDF), based on a recent GEO survey. According to the report, not much has changed in the field of grantmaking since the last time GEO conducted the survey, in 2008. Indeed, "while the survey holds some interest as a mirror held up to the nature of US grantmaking," writes Ruesga, "foundation staff might use it most effectively to reflect on their own practices." For example, "The survey

can help convince trustees who...still object to the idea of making grants for general operating support. When so many grantmakers have adopted the practice, and for so many good reasons, there's strong motivation for their reexamining the basis of their resistance....

And speaking of Beth's Blog, Beth rounded up more than forty guest bloggers for the GEO conference, including David Colby, vice president for research and evluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Annie Hernandez, program officer at the Lumpkin family Foundation; David Greco, vice president at the Nonprofit Finance Fund; and Gail Berkowitz, director of evaluation at the Mastercard Foundation. Beth will be sharing more guest posts in the next few days, so be sure to check back.

Social Media

In a post on her Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog, Social Media for Social Good author Heather Mansfield explains why every nonprofit organization needs a mobile Web site.


And on the New York Times' DealBook blog, Kevin Roose compares the latest "rich list" -- the new Bloomberg Billionaires Index -- to Forbes magazine's own long-running list of the world's billionaires. While some have criticized the lists, writes Roose, "on the grounds that they glamorize the ultra-rich, treating them like show horses in an era when income disparity has come into the political cross hairs," he believes there's a different question that warrants our attention: "namely, are [the lists] accurate?..."

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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