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Weekend Link Roundup (October 6-7, 2012)

October 07, 2012

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


With the airing of the PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide earlier this week, Mashable reporter Zoe Fox was moved to wonder whether the documentary, which is based on the book of the same name written by New York Times reporter Nick Kristoff and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, can "be a wake up call for [women's] issues" in the same way that nonprofit Invisible Children's thirty-minute Kony 2012 Internet video brought widespread attention in March to the depredations of Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.


In a post on her Getting Attention blog, Nancy Schwartz offers nine lessons that nonprofit communicators can learn from the first presidential debate of 2012. They include:

  • Focus on the concrete, not the abstract.
  • Communicate with confidence.
  • Stay positive.
  • Take off the gloves, when required.

What's the difference between good writing and great writing? Chris Howard, the president of Hampden-Sydney College, and Elizabeth J. Deis and Lowell T. Frye, Hampden-Sydney professors of rhetoric and humanities, explain all in this short but sweet piece on The Atlantic Web site.


The Digital Citizenship team at the Knight Foundation has posted a thoughtful overview of the difficulties and opportunies inherent in measuring social impact that includes a number of recommendations (h/t @marikalynch):

  • Standardize metrics for assessing the impact of technology for engagement projects, including measures of online engagement, offline engagement and social capital.
  • Create metrics specific to the programmatic outcomes sought.
  • Adopt common survey tools and Web analytics.
  • Explore approaches for transcending Web site stats by measuring the impact new platforms have on offline behavior.
  • Include qualitative data in the assessment to better understand the results.
  • Empower communities to co-design and contribute to impact assessments.

In the first installment of a four-part series at the Stanford Social Innovation Review site, the Rockefeller Foundation's Margot Brandenburg explains how "three distinct but complementary tools" -- IRIS, PULSE, and GIIRS -- are helping to define and bring clarity to the burgeoning field of impact investing.

And on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz weighs in with additional thoughts about data and the social sector. (You can read part one here.)


Writing on the White Courtesy Telephone blog, Greater New Orleans Foundation president and CEO Albert Ruesga offers six tongue-in-cheek predictions about the future of the foundation field.

Social Good

Back from last week's Clinton Global Initiative event in New York City, Solutions Journalism Network co-founder Courtney Martin, in a post on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, argues that when it comes to "real, radical cultural change...rich people are both part of the problem and fundamental to the solution." Writes Martin:

While the fervor for good ideas and effective solutions is palpable at gatherings like [CGI], too often there is an absence of self-scrutiny. I have frequently witnessed wealthy donors ask what others might do differently to make the world a better place -- how, for example, can we get poor mothers to cook healthier food for their kids or speak and read more to their babies? But rarely have I witnessed them consider what role they might play beyond their pocketbooks -- how, for example, might rich parents be perpetuating inequality by paying high-end SAT tutors for their teenagers?...

Social Media

In time for next week's Social Media for Nonprofits conference, Ritu Sharma shares "three of the simplest, most practical [social media] tips" past participants have come to live by: timing is everything, ask questions, and become a content curator.

And on the Duck Call blog, Big Duck's Meghan Teich shares "ideas you can implement right now [to deepen your engagement] on five of the most popular [social media] channels."

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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