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Weekend Link Roundup (June 23-24, 2012)

June 24, 2012

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


On the Deep Social Impact blog, Maureen O'Brien discusses the unique role each generation has to play in cross-sector collaborations. "Younger generations shouldn't underestimate the valuable knowledge and wisdom of the people who have been in this field for years. It is their work that has brought the sector to where it is today," writes O'Brien. "At the same time, older generations must not dismiss the ideas and innovative potential solutions that their younger colleagues suggest. It is their work that will help scale innovation and move the field to places never before imagined."


On her Nonprofit Communications blog, Kivi Leroux Miller is asking for comments on a chart (thumbnail above) that illustrates a dozen ways in which having a content strategy is immeasurably better than not having a content strategy. Good stuff.

In a two-minute video on the Communications Network blog, Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Public Life Project, shares his thoughts about how the changes wrought by the Internet on society are also causing foundations to rethink and retool how they communicate with external audiences.

Getting Attention's Nancy Schwartz shares findings from a recent Nonprofit Messages Survey which found that "76 percent of nonprofit marketers and fundraisers...say their key messages are irrelevant to the people who need to hear them to be motivated or reminded to act." That's a serious problem, writes Schwartz, but one that can be fixed.


On the Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington follows up on a post from January with "nine more ways board members can raise money without fundraising.

Leadership 2.0

On the Atlantic's Educating the Workforce of Tomorrow blog, Amy Southerland discusses the benefits and pitfalls of managing a virtual team. Among other things, writes Southerland, "virtual teamwork layers new challenges on top of the inherent challenges of teamwork, and the skills required do not come easily or automatically." To hone those skills, Southerland suggests that workers of all ages gain "higher-order digital skills in addition to familiarity with devices and applications" by taking "online courses, including hybrid classes where most of the coursework takes place virtually with less frequent in-person meetings.


In the sixth and final installment of a six-part series, Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan asks: Why do those who work in the nonprofit sector put corporations on a pedestal? Yes, many companies do good every day, writes Buchanan. "But we also need to speak up -- much, much more forcefully --

for the nonprofit sector's distinct role and relevance. For this, too, is a defining strength of our country. We need to point to the historic and present day examples of foundations and nonprofits that make communities stronger, people healthier, and our environment cleaner....

On NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Aaron Dorfman announces the first anniversary of the organization's Philanthropy's Promise campaign, an effort to get as many large foundations as possible to allocate at least 50 percent of their grant dollars to the needs of marginalized groups and at least 25 percent to high-impact strategies such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement. In the past year, a hundred and twenty-five foundations have signed on to the campaign, and in his post Dorfman highlights a few of the public statements they have made in support of the campaign.

On the Open Society Foundations' blog, Elizabeth Eagen, a joint program officer for the Information Program and Human Rights and Governance Grants Program, warns of an increase in physical and digital security threats to nongovernmental organizations and activists. Writes Eagen:

Though there has been a great deal of interest in digital security and secure communications training in the past few years, in fact, the process of uncovering an organization's susceptibility to digital attacks often reveals a whole host of other security and organizational issues. If we treat one type of threat while ignoring others, we miss an opportunity to promote long-lasting and resilient strategies....

While admitting that solutions are few and costly, Eagen calls on funders to keep in mind that "[f]unding and approaches in security need to be both incremental and tailored to work with the work of the institution" and to make all forms of security part of the support they [provide] to NGOs through information sharing; funding practice rather than tools; and being proactive.

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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