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Weekend Link Roundup (May 5-6, 2012)

May 06, 2012

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


On the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Lisa Ranghelli offers a positive review of Learn Foundation Law, a new online training tool for foundation program officers that was developed by the Gates, Packard, Moore, and Hewlett foundations.

Arts and Culture

On the Minnesota Council on Foundation's Philanthropy Potluck blog, Anne Bauers explains why it's critical for arts organizations to focus on audience-building efforts. Writes Bauers, "The [uncertain economy] challenges arts organizations to make smart and cost-effective decisions about strategies to attract and retain audiences, sustaining practices that work, and modifying or dropping those that don't. It also challenges organizations to change themselves in ways that encourage risk-taking, innovation and learning...."


NTEN's Holly Ross discusses how the organization improved its e-mail open rates by sending mobile-friendly versions of its newsletter to subscribers, many of whom manage their e-mail on smartphones.


Something of a skeptic when it comes to social media as a fundraising tool, Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks looks at a recently published Nonprofit Social Network Report which found that the average cost of a Facebook "like" is $3.50, while the average value of a Facebook "like" over the twelve months following acquisition is $214.81. Among other things, writes Brooks, fundraisers should consider the following questions as they examine their organization's data to determine whether a robust social networking presence is worth the time and effort:

  • Does giving increase after a current donor becomes a Facebook follower?
  • Does donor retention improve among those who "like"?
  • Is the increase in value, if any, enough to make the $3.50 cost a good investment?
  • What types of Facebook engagement creates the best return?

Hosting April's Nonprofit Blog Carnival, the folks at the Rad Campaign share a selection of posts that explore the ins and outs of social fundraising.


Writing on the Huffington Post, Alice Korngold says that given the significant strategic and financial challenges and opportunities confronting nonprofits, nonprofit boards need to rethink the way they function. That process should start with a conversation about the organization's goals over the next several years, followed by a discussion about its revenue model. After that, the board should dive deeper into the expectations of individual board members and develop a system of accountability; determine the proper size and structure of the board; develop a plan for board composition based on board members' expertise, experience, background, and networks; and adopt best practices with respect to leadership succession.

International Affairs/Development

In a post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimists blog, Gerry Power of InterMedia highlights a report that looks at "how we can communicate about aid in a way that people understand and are encouraged to act upon." Key takeways from the report include:

  • Instill a deep understanding and appreciation for the objectives of international development when people are young and where values are nurtured;
  • Do not underestimate the challenge of leveraging public opinion as a means to influence policy; and
  • Facilitate more effective information and data gathering and sharing strategies for government decision makers.


Writing on the Council on Foundations' blog, Michael Moody, the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, suggests that "a theory about philanthropy as essential because of the failure of the other sectors is not so useful. What we need is a theory about philanthropy as essential to the other sectors."

On the Philanthropy 411 blog, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy executive director Rusty Stahl announces the launch of Generating Change, a new initiative that aims to "create deep discussion about the challenges and opportunities for nonprofit talent and leadership development; illuminate new ways funders can address this critical need at all levels; and increase investment in talent and leadership development at the individual, organization, movement, and sector levels."

Social Media

Last but not least, Rosetta Thurman shares a list of things every nonprofit leader should know about social media.

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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