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Weekend Link Roundup (June 8-9, 2013)

June 09, 2013

RNadal_2013FrenchOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


"The idea behind nonprofit mergers isn't cost savings -- in a high-touch world like ours, there is only so much excess you might be able to trim in a merger," writes Boston Foundation president/CEO Paul Grogan in PhilanTopic. "Rather, it's all about service. Organizations that merge and/or collaborate build capacity to do more of what they do best, and do it even better...."


On the Knight Foundation blog, Elizabeth Miller highlights conversations from the 2013 Grantmakers for Effective Organizations conference about how funders can better communicate what they learn:

Prioritize the audience. Know specifically whom you're trying to reach with your findings so that what you're learning is shared in the right circles.

Market determines method. Understanding who will benefit from these insights may determine the best way to deliver them. Different platforms or social media outlets may be your "friends" in distinct cases.

Enlist the evaluated. Work with grantees to help disseminate the findings.

Reflect and refine. Take time to measure the success of your efforts. Measurement is as important as the planning process in terms of understanding what works. Use specific analytics to determine whether dissemination methods were effective, whether you targeted the right audiences, and how you could improve on the overall strategy next time.

Beth Kanter, co-author of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, shares findings from a recent report on video use among nonprofits by Edelman, See3, and YouTube. Based on a survey of five hundred nonprofits as well as interviews with experts in the field, Into Focus: Benchmarks for Video and a Guide for Creators found that while video is important now and will become even more important for nonprofit groups over the next three years, more than half of respondents said their budgets do not support more video production.


In a video on the Bush Foundation blog, Jennifer Ford Reedy, the Minnesota-based foundation's president, talks about the foundation's new Resident Fellows program, which will offer three-year staff positions to a variety of individuals "in order to inject new ideas into the foundation and provide a launch pad for the fellows' subsequent career opportunities."


In another post on the Knight Foundation blog, Jenna Buehler recaps three tips on learning from failure shared by the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Rafael López, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation's Courtney Bournes, and Knight's own Michael Maness at the GEO conference's opening panel discussion: 1) Confront it; 2) Be a champion for change and ask the hard questions; and 3) Give it time. "[I]t's important to allow time and space for ideas to incubate and grow," said Maness. "Offering context and information on the practice itself can help to warm up leaders prior to the big pitch."

Human/Civil Rights

On the Open Society Foundations blog, Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch and David Holiday look at recent attempts by human rights groups to get governments to adopt drug policy reforms aimed at ending the failed War on Drugs.


Philanthropy 411's Kris Putnam-Walkerly urges funders to think about three questions when evaluating a grantmaking program or initiative:

  1. What do you want to know?
  2. Who needs to know it?
  3. How will the evaluation findings be used?


In a recent article for her On Leadership column at WashingtonPost.com, Jena McGregor wonders why Nancy Brinker is still listed on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Web site as the organization's CEO nearly a year after the cancer charity announced that Brinker intended to step down from the position. The charity, which was widely criticized for its February 2012 decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood affiliates -- a decision which it subsequently reversed -- is in the midst of a "very thorough executive search," Komen spokesperson Andrea Rader told McGregor. Maybe so, but "it may be that much harder to find and attract incoming CEO candidates," writes McGregor, "when they know the founder will be sticking around in a yet-to-be-well-defined role."

Social Media

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is asking for help in naming its new podcast, which is scheduled to launch next month. Hosted by Christine Nieves Rodriguez, program associate of RWJF's Pioneer Initiative, the podcast will "provide listeners with insight about the types of ideas in which the Pioneer team wants to invest,...[and] will include conversations with program officers, grantees, and friends, as well as news about grants and events." Have an idea for a name? Share your suggestions here.

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

--The Editors

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