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Weekend Link Roundup (December 15-16, 2012)

December 16, 2012

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


On the Keeping a Close Eye blog, Sean Dobson of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy shares some takeaways for grantmakers from Steven Spielberg's new film Lincoln. "Many, if not most, foundations work on issues -- education, health care, environment -- that cry out for systemic solutions that only government can provide," writes Dobson. "But as Spielberg's [movie] shows once again, enacting systemic solutions into law is very difficult in this country. That of course does not mean grantmakers should shy away from the challenge. In fact, if they are serious about achieving their missions, recognition of the challenge should prompt them to fight harder than ever for systemic solutions."

Dobson goes on to identify the different types of grantmaking that would help to meet said challenge:

  • Investing in those who are most in need;
  • Investing in systemic change, not band aids; and
  • Investing for the long haul.


"If you're bad at direct mail, don't think you'll find a refuge from your shortcomings by focusing on social media marketing," writes Jeff Brooks in a post on his Future Fundraising Now blog. "In fact, if your direct mail is ineffective, your social media will likely fail even more spectacularly than your mail does...."

On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen shares findings from three new reports from Network for Good and partners that all came to the same conclusion: "Online giving is significantly up this year."


On the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation blog, Eric Newton explains "why journalists need to get behind the #opendata movement" -- and why they currently aren't paying enough attention to how governments are opening up data. Part of it is cultural, he writes, as journalists are used to governments keeping secrets; journalists also tend to be leery about technology. "But now all reporting is computer-assisted reporting," writes Newton. "Newsies that embrace data, from the Texas Tribune to ProPublica to Washington Post, find rich returns in readership."

Newton's post highlights several data projects and trends reporters should know about, including the Code for America Commons and Community PlanIt, as well as resources and potential partners like the Sunlight Foundation, the Digital Library of America, Knight-Mozilla fellowships, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. Writes Newton:

It's refreshing to see a few groups trying new things, like the Reporters Committee with their mobile app helping people who want access to public meetings or records. But that's not enough. We need to agree that the only real solution to freedom of information is technological. Liberals are a little more liberal with public records. Conservatives are a bit more conservative. Yet neither side releases half of what it should. Government systems need to be redesigned. All public information must be public from the moment it enters the system. Since these are computer systems, that means freedom of information advocates, along with journalists in general, need to be tech savvy....


On the Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington identifies five nonprofit trends to watch in 2013.


Philanthropy 2173's Lucy Bernholz looks back at the ten predictions for the sector she posted in 2010 and scores them based on recent developments.

Social Media

Social media superstar Beth Kanter shares a list of eight books "that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector." Anyone interested in winning a copy of one of the books should leave a comment on Beth's blog before December 18 explaning why they want to read the book.

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

-- The Editors

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