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Weekend Link Roundup (May 12-13, 2012)

May 13, 2012

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


On her About.com blog, Joanne Fritz says nonprofit communicators don't always "make it easy for people like me to share their information" via social media. If they really want to get their message out, adds Fritz, organizations should blog frequently, add images to their posts, use video when possible, encourage retweets on Twitter, and add RSS feeds to their online platforms.


On the AFP blog, Reed Stockton shares findings from a recent study which found that nearly $1.5 billion was raised through some 350 crowdfunding platforms globally in 2011.

On the Minnesota Council on Foundations' Philanthropy Potluck blog, Anne Bauers looks at the Nonprofit Finance Fund's recently released State of the Sector survey, which found, among other things, that many nonprofits are "feeling distant from their funders."

Maybe, as the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Sean Dobson notes, that's because the percentage of foundation grant dollars awarded for general operating support remained stuck at 22 percent in 2009 and 2010. It's a shame, writes Dobson, because in an uncertain economy, general operating support is "an endowment-friendly way [for foundations] to build stronger... grantees." 


Ellen Remmer, president and CEO of the Philanthropic Initiative, explains why a growing number of community foundations are making investments designed to "produce a social (including environmental) and financial return." Writes Remmer:

They believe they can have a deeper and more sustained impact in their communities by adding this tool to the toolbox, particularly for some issue areas such as housing, sustainable economic development, healthy lifestyles (think local food), etc. They are compelled by the opportunity to "recycle" philanthropic dollars and augment the amount of capital committed to social change. And they believe that a broader group of social investors will be attracted to this approach for community improvement than their traditional cadre of donors.

Could community foundations become standard bearers for impact investing? Could they play an educational, brokering or even leadership role for donor investors and the recipient organizations? There are plenty of barriers to realizing the full potential of this evolving form of social investment; but my bet is that community foundations could -- if they choose -- play a key role....

Poverty Alleviation

Over at the Huffington Post's Impact blog, Maurice Lim Miller, founder and CEO of the Family Independence Initiative, reminds us that charity can be a double-edged sword. "The ability to make choices, determine our plan of action, and be in control are essential to achieving mobility and stability in our society," writes Miller. But while

everyone faces problems and needs help at some point, the programs and services for low-income people treat them as unable to make their own choices -- as charity cases. A charity case isn't simply someone who needs resources; the term carries pathos. "Charity case" does not breed confidence, self-respect, or affirm any sense of self-determination. If we really want people who are low-income to have the opportunity to get ahead, we need a new model....

Social Media

Last but not least, Allison Fine suggests in a post on the Harvard Business Review blog that what it means to be "professional" in the workplace has changed. "For most people over forty," writes Fine,

it means wearing a uniform of some kind, talking in a certain language, carrying a briefcase (or more recently a Blackberry or iPhone), and perhaps, most important, keeping one's private life private. Gen Y, or Millennials -- late teens to thirty year-olds -- have a vastly different notion of what it means to present oneself to the world wearing their business hat (so to speak). The huge organizational chasm between Gen Y and Gen X and Boomers is less a technological problem than a psychological one, and it manifests itself in the use of social media....

Is she right? Do older professionals view social media as a threat to professional behavior? Is it changing what it means to be "professional"? Use the comments section to share your thoughts.

And drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org if we missed something. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

-- The Editors

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