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Weekend Link Roundup (October 13-14, 2012)

October 14, 2012

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


In a guest post on the Communication Network blog, Hattaway Communication's Doug Hattaway shares a couple of insights based on psychology and neuroscience into how people make decisions:

Insight 1: Two mental systems work together to drive decision-making and behavior. Effective communications influence both intuition and cognition -- encouraging instant intuitive judgments and enabling fluent cognitive reasoning.

Insight 2: People are more likely to trust information that they easily understand. "Fluency" theory holds that if people readily comprehend an idea or information, they are more likely to believe it. Being easy-to-understand obviously doesn't mean the information is more reliable, but people are more likely to perceive it as true. Hattaway's advice for nonprofit communicators: "It's smart to dumb things down."

In a post on her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Network for Good's Katya Andresen shares seven tips designed to improve the stories that nonprofits tell about their impact, the people they help, and their generous supporters.

Disaster Relief

Eye-opening article by Deborah Sontag in the New York Times about Yéle Haiti, the charity created by Haitian-American hip hop artist Wyclef Jean in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake to help the people of that impoverished country.


Fasten your seat belts. With funding from the Open Society Foundations, the Reuters Institute for Journalism has released a report, "Ten Years That Shook the Media World," which shows "that even after more than a decade of often dramatic turmoil in the media sector, we are only at the beginning of a longer transitional period."


Over at the Nonprofit Quarterly, Simone Joyaux looks at what has changed -- and mostly what hasn't -- about social justice philanthropy in the eight years since she first addressed the topic in her newsletter.


While open to the "notion that non-charitable tax-exempt organizations should have to pay property taxes," The Nonprofiteer takes issue with the city council in Scranton (PA), which threatened to withhold approval of zoning changes from tax-exempt property owners unless they made "voluntary" payments in lieu of taxation (PILOTS). "Let's not torture the concept of 'voluntary'," she writes, "by suggesting that a payment extorted in return for rezoning is somehow a free-will contribution to the public fisc."

And on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz asks readers to answer the following question: "What would affect donors' behavior more, changes in the tax deductions associated with their giving or rules requiring greater transparency about their giving?" What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Social Entrepreneurship

Earlier in the week, serial social entrepreneur Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, Fresh Start Catering, the Campus Kitchen Project, and CForward, announced that after twenty-five years at the helm of DCCK, he was "moving on." To retirement? Not likely. No, Egger is "returning to the city of my roots -- Los Angeles -- to launch the L.A. Kitchen in 2013." As the always enthusiastic Egger writes on his personal blog, the new endeavor

will roar into an incredible vacuum in America. Our first goal is to recover millions of pounds of California’s abundant fruits and vegetables. The traditional model moves perishable foods through the system (from farm to food bank/kitchens to pantry to people) at a brisk pace to avoid spoilage. We want and use these precious commodities to fuel a job training program that will produce nutritionally dense salads, snacks and vegetarian/vegan meals. But we also want to develop inter-generational volunteer opportunities so that, working side by side, we can prep, package and freeze millions of pounds of produce and fruit, which will allow our partners to distribute portion controlled product that can be used in a more purposeful way, at a more focused pace.

We will also explore social enterprise through a new business we will launch named Strong Food. Like the name says, it isn't about sustenance, it's about helping people stay strong, vital and engaged.

We will also explore large scale urban composting, showing how every part of a plant can be used to build stronger bodies and healthier communities.

Most of all, I want to delve deeply into the issue of aging in America. L.A. Kitchen will be at the very forefront of supporting a new era of inclusion and health for our elders. I don't want to feed to old; I want to help redefine aging in America. And I want to show the role that food and a dynamic nonprofit organization can play in keeping our elders engaged, healthy, vital and active....

We wish Bob the best of luck in these, and all future, endeavors!

Social Media

In the most recent installment of her Social Good podcast series, Allison Fine chats with filmmaker Marc Erlbaum about his use of crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise $150,000 and crowdsource stories about the meaning of life for his next film project.

On LinkedIn, Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, asks for help in developing a mobile strategy for his organization. "We know that mobile is important," writes Best. "We agree that mobile devices are becoming many people's primary way to connect to the Internet. We see that the percentage of site visitors coming to us from mobile devices is steadily increasing. We know we have to do something, but we're not sure what." Has your organization had success with mobile? Share your experience with Best and others in the comments section below.

Women & Girls

Thursday was International Day of the Girl, and, as Beth Kanter notes on her blog, the launch of the "Because I Am a Girl" campaign by the Plan, one of oldest and largest children's development organizations in the world. Why a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of educating girls? Because, as Kanter writes, "Globally, one in three girls around the world is denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, violence and discrimination. Every day, girls are taken out of school, married far too young, and subjected to violence in school. Not only is this unjust, it's also a huge waste of potential with serious global consequences...."

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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