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Weekend Link Roundup (July 28-29, 2012)

July 29, 2012

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


"If no one can understand us, if we can't even understand ourselves, how are we going to help communities become more informed and engaged?" asks the Knight Foundation's Eric Newton on the Knight blog. What's more, writing more readable press releases doesn't mean issues need to be dumbed down, says Newton. "You have to be smart to convey difficult subjects in clear, understandable prose. If you can do it, your work will be more effective...."


The Fundraising Detective shares some lessons about what the Olympics can teach nonprofits about volunteering, marketing, and fundraising, including how to give volunteers recognition, how to pass the torch, and how to do more than you ever thought possible.


On the Philanthropy UK blog, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors CEO Melissa Berman argues that distinctions "between 'mainstream/traditional' (i.e., white) philanthropy and 'other' philanthropy, that is, the kind of giving practiced by racial, ethnic and tribal communities," are steadily giving way to a new reality, as African-American, Arab- and Asian-American, Latino, and Native American populations become "an increasingly potent force in American philanthropy." Berman then highlights a few observations and themes to buttress her argument:

  • The philanthropic sector faces increasing scrutiny, both from government and activist groups, to demonstrate its responsiveness and accountability to racial and ethnic groups. A legislative proposal in California that would have mandated certain race-based benchmarks and grantmaking ratios, for example, was only narrowly defeated after foundations in the state voluntarily agreed to do more. If the field does not do a better job of addressing these complex issues on its own, writes Berman, it risks being forced to do so by others.
  • The growth of philanthropy in communities of color has paralleled major social movements driven by and affecting those communities. The civil rights movement of the 1960s, for example, was accompanied by a proliferation of African American funds; the Native Peoples movement of the 1970s led to new tribal giving structures; the women's and LGBTQ movements had a similar effect. Indeed, says Berman, one could make the case that any important social agenda must be accompanied by philanthropic activity if it hopes to get traction.
  • There will most certainly be a greater democratization of philanthropy as a result of the growth of giving vehicles formed by donors from various racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Communities of color increasingly command the resources and have the capacity to do their own giving -- i.e., philanthropy is becoming something everyone can (and does) do.
  • As a result, philanthropy is emerging as a critical expression of a community's own self-determination. We are finally realizing that solutions, as well as the resources to implement them, are to be found within communities themselves.

Professional Development

Rosetta Thurman -- she of the many hats, including nonprofit career coach -- has some advice for young nonprofit professionals wondering whether they are on the right career path.

Social Media

In an era of niche social networks, Geoff Livingston, author of Welcome to the Fifth Estate: How to Create and Sustain a Winning Social Media Strategy, has some advice about how and which social networking sites to integrate into your life "for professional success and personal enjoyment."


The term "resilience" is popping up everywhere these days, writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. But with all the change happening in the world and the uncertainty that comes with it, focusing on adaptability and being able to bounce back "are the keys to evolution and survival."

In a post on his blog, digital marketing and communications guru Seth Godin cuts right to the chase: "strategy matters more than ever" -- and not "changing your strategy merely because you're used to the one you have now is a lousy strategy."


Last but not least, the Packard Foundation is using the blog of visiting scholar Beth Kanter to solicit feedback on its Organizational Effectiveness program. In fact, the foundation has been conducting an extensive review of its OE strategy for some months now and has been sharing information about the process and some of the feedback it has received at a dedicate Web site. Now it is asking for comments on a draft "that outlines key elements of our refreshed strategy." For more information and to share your thoughts/concerns, visit the OE strategy refresh planning site.

That's it for this week. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org.

-- The Editors

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