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Weekend Link Roundup (May 30-31, 2015)

May 31, 2015

Seppblatter_lipssealedAfter a hiatus for college graduations on consecutive weekends, the weekend crew is back with its roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sectorFor more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Civic Tech

In a guest post on Beth Kanter's blog, Anne Whatley, a consultant with Network Impact, shares key takeaways from a new guide that provides metrics and methods for measuring the success of your civic tech initiatives.

Climate Change

"The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It's real and it's relentless." writes Michael Grunwald in Politico. Driven by a team of nearly two hundred litigators and organizers, deep-pocketed donors like Michael Bloomberg, and "unlikely allies from the business world," the Beyond Coal campaign over the past five years "has killed a coal-fired power plant every ten days...[and] quietly transformed the U.S. electric grid and the global climate debate."

Community Improvement/Development

In remarks at the Mackinac Policy Conference of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce last week, Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson outlined six areas where Kresge is likely to make future investments in Detroit.


On the Markets for Good blog, Kelly Brown, director of the D5 Coalition, argues that philanthropy can lean learn lessons from the business sector about the link between diversity and success.


Telling your nonprofit's story so it resonates with donors and other stakeholders is easier than you might think, Network for Good's Iris Sutcliffe writes, if you keep the five Cs in mind.


On the GiveWell blog, Tyler Heishman checks in with that organization's quarterly update on two key (for it) metrics: 1) donations to top charities, and 2) Web traffic.


In America, it's possible to work really hard and still be poor. On the Century Foundation blog, Mike Cassidy explains why the movement to raise the minimum wage is gaining momentum.

International Affairs/Development

"The question as to whether or not data is increasingly interpenetrating our lives is obsolete," writes Thomas Roca on the Devex Impact site. "Data is everywhere: in our daily commute, our credit card transactions, our activities on the Web, our communications, our electricity consumption, and more." The question for development, he continues, is how can data be leveraged to drive accountability, improve coordination of aid efforts, and improve lives?


The theme for June's Nonprofit Blog Carnival, hosted by the folks at Wild Apricot, is "motivation for the nonprofit nation." Submissions, either new or previously published, must be received by the end of the day on Thursday, June 25, 2015, to be included in the roundup that will be published on the 29th. To submit, email your name, the URL of your post, and a two- or three-sentence summary of the post to nonprofitcarnival[at]gmail[dot]com (nonprofitcarnival@gmail.com).


On the Medium platform, Sue Desmond-Hellmann reflects on her first year as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In Fortune, Jen Wieczner writes that the prospect of a big payoff on tax-advantaged investments in for-profit startups has more and more foundations, both public and private, eschewing traditional grantmaking and, instead, adopting "the controversial tactic of investing like venture capitalists."

"Philanthropists usually have a multi-faceted array of motivations to give, including a desire to improve society, give back, honor a faith, build a family legacy, gain public recognition, and reduce taxes," writes Paul Connolly, director of philanthropic advisory services at Bessemer Trust, on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. Indeed, "the tax laws and regulations that currently govern American philanthropy allow for diverse aims and are not expressly designed to maximize social impact." Which is one reason why the way forward for strategic philanthropy requires "a nuanced balance of the technocratic and humanistic" and a creative mining of "the dynamic tensions between objectivity and passion, leadership and responsiveness, and discipline and agility."


In an op-ed in the New York Times, Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan suggests that "lax oversight [of the charitable sector] is out of step with the times and...an invitation to corruption. It also makes it hard." writes Callahan, "to answer the simplest questions about charitable giving, such as what society is getting for the $40 billion in tax breaks that donors receive annually."

Rather than a cause for celebration, news that the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of all fifty states and the District of Columbia last week filed suit accusing four cancer charities of bilking donors of $187 million is a reminder, writes Chronicle of Philanthropy contributor Pablo Eisenberg, that the nonprofit regulatory situation, while patchy at the state level, "is even worse at the federal level, where the IRS has been hamstrung in fulfilling its responsibilities to police the charity world."

And on his Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks explains why the cancer charity scam matters to your organization.

Social Entrepreneurship

What are the keys to sustainable social enterprise? Roger L. Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a co-author of Playing to Win (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), and Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, explain.

That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments box below...

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