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(Long) Weekend Link Roundup (May 26-27, 2012)

May 28, 2012

Memorial_day 2012Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


According to Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks, the real reason Invisible Children's "Covering the Night" event in support of its KONY 2012 campaign "fizzled" is because young people have short attention spans. "Fizzling is a hazard of anything you do that's aimed at people under 30," writes Brooks. "Actually, it's more than a hazard. It's a virtual certainty." Do you agree?


Heather Mansfield, author of Social Media for Social Good and the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog, shares a list of "must-read" reports on the state of nonprofit communications and marketing, online fundraising, and technology.

Corporate Philanthropy

On the Knight Blog, the Knight Foundation’s Elizabeth Miller introduces the Civic 100, a "new national initiative to survey, rank, and recognize corporations that demonstrate leadership and investment in civic engagement." The initiative, writes Miller, is "taking a scientific approach to measuring and evaluating corporate civic engagement" based on companies' leadership commitments, ability to leverage partnerships, and employee engagement efforts. The first "Civic 100" will be issued in November.


In an interview with global health nonprofit PSI's Abel Irena, Saul Morris, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discusses the progress made to date in global child health and the next steps toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Higher Education

Now that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg officially is a billionaire, Brazen Careerist columnist Danny Rubin says it's time for the founder of the world's largest social networking site to give back to the young professionals who, through their participation and crucial feedback, kept "the site rolling in its ...formative stages." Zuckerberg could do that, writes Rubin, by designing, "with his old pals...an online program that helps [recent college grads] pay down [their] student debt in constructive ways." Actually, we think he might be on to something.


In the second of what is projected to be a series of six blog posts, Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan argues that what the world needs today is "a clarifying -- not a blurring -- of what differentiates the sectors." Writes Buchanan:

While it may be the case that some "hybrid" organizations will do tremendous social good, and while it is a historical fact that many companies have had very positive social impact, the rush to embrace boundary-blurring denies the reality that many crucial objectives cannot be accomplished while generating a financial return.


[Indeed,] the laudable push for companies to do more to create positive impact on tough social problems while also pursuing profit should not obscure the need for a strong, independent sector of organizations that are required to think about only mission, not profit. Same caveat, too, with learning across sectors. There is much to learn, in both directions -- nonprofits from companies, companies from nonprofits. But that does not mean we should seek to erase the boundaries or deny the differences in context that require our attention if we are to be effective....

On the Bolder Advocacy blog, Sue Hoechstetter commends the almost ninety individuals who have signed the Giving Pledge but urges mega-wealthy donors and major private foundations to do more to solicit input from the public. "Foundations are wonderful institutions, but like others, have their own individual needs and interests," writes Hoechstetter. "Incorporating more public input into decisions will help foundations be more collaborative and thoughtful in their grantmaking. This is especially true for...foundations [that] will benefit from the infusion of billions and billions of new dollars thanks to the Giving Pledge."

There are a number of "givens" when working in professional philanthropy, writes Bill Somerville, executive director of the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. They include:

  • Be willing to venture, to take risks, but don't gamble.
  • If something fails, it is a learning experience.
  • Get out of the office, do on-site visits.
  • Hunt for and find outstanding people and fund them.
  • Take the initiative, don't wait; make things happen.
  • Exercise modesty in your work.
  • Build trust by being transparent about what you do and how you do it.

For the complete list, visit NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog.

Social Media

Last but not least, CAMFED USA's Kate Kilbourne, in a guest post on Beth's blog, says that after testing a couple of campaigns on the social image-pinning" site Pininterest, she has decided "the platform, at least at this stage, is a better tool for raising awareness than funds."

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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