74 posts categorized "author-Regina Mahone"

Weekend Link Roundup (April 20-21, 2013)

April 21, 2013

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


On her Getting Attention blog, Nancy Schwartz has some recommendations for nonprofit communications officers (here and here) on how to communicate during a time of crisis.

Current Affairs

In the wake of the horrific bombing at this year's Boston Marathon, Philanthropy 411's Kris Putnam-Walkerly has curated a list of resources for anyone interested in learning more about philanthropy's response to the tragedy. As of Friday, the One Fund Boston, which was created by Boston mayor Thomas Menino, had raised more than $10 million to help victims of the attack.

As if the marathon tragedy wasn't enough to rattle Americans, on Wednesday a fertilizer plant in the Texas town of West caught fire and exploded, killing at least fourteen people and injuring hundreds of others. According to ThinkProgress economic policy editor Bryce Covert, the plant hadn't been inspected in five years. Covert goes on to explain that the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "is chronically understaffed, which means that a given plant like West Fertilizer can only expect to get a state inspection once every 67 years on average." And what's more, OSHA is "slated to take a huge cut under the sequester...."

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Weekend Link Roundup (April 13-14, 2013)

April 14, 2013

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


Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks says to forget about donor fatigue; what's really happening is fundraiser fatigue.


This might be "shaping up as the year of crowdfunding medical needs," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "These medical crowdfunding site are fascinating to me. In many ways, they are returning us to the time before national health services and social security, when turning to one's community for financial assistance with medical needs or college costs was the norm."


Over at Forbes, Jessica Joseph, associate director of innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation, explains how social impact bonds "went from concept to execution faster than any other social innovation [in years]."

That may be, writes Kyle McKay, a policy analyst with the Maryland General Assembly, on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. But while SIBs are interesting as "endeavors in financial creativity," their risks for cash-strapped governments and nonprofits may outweigh their benefits.

The Social Progress Index launched this week, and Ben Baumberg, a lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Kent in the UK, has some really interesting thoughts about what the folks behind the index have done well -- and could do better.

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Digital Tools and Apps: A 'Flip' Chat With Harish Bhandari, Robin Hood Foundation

April 12, 2013

(The video below was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Anika Rahman, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.) 

If your organization thinks it doesn't have the time or money to invest in online tools like Twitter, it is "missing the boat," says Harish Bhandari, director of digital engagement and innovation at the Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood and Bhandari saw the benefits of digital media firsthand after Superstorm Sandy smashed into the Jersey shore in late October. After the storm, the New York City-based charity organized a benefit concert to raise funds for relief and recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut -- a concert that, thanks in part to the organization's use of social media to promote it, turned out to be the most successful benefit concert ever.

Indeed, says Bhandari, by not engaging with donors and other audiences online, nonprofits are missing out on connecting with a demographic that is passionate about social change and in a position to be "really loyal" over a long period of time. 

During a sit-down with PND, Bhandari, who spoke at a recent 501 Tech NYC event dedicated to "visual storytelling" (check out Noland Hoshino's recap here), discussed Robin Hood's efforts to engage potential supporters after Sandy, explained Robin Hood's approach to social networking, and shared some thoughts about newer mobile apps like Instagram and Vine.

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Weekend Link Roundup (April 6-7, 2013)

April 07, 2013

April-showers-umbrellaOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Rosenberg Foundation president Tim Silard discusses the foundation's recent decision to increase its payout this year to 6.1 percent to help advance immigration reform. "Our hope," writes Silard, "is that this major step by a mid-sized foundation can go a long way toward encouraging more of us in philanthropy to stretch our funding even further...to respond to this unique window of opportunity."


In a post on the Council on Foundation's Re: Philanthropy blog, Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, reminds us why storytelling matters. Indeed, it is "at the heart of all emotions," writes Soronen. "And nonprofits simply must use communications -- storytelling -- as a very important tactic to steward current donors and secure new funders."


Jeff Brooks, author of the Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications, explains that fundraising is "a two-way conversation" and if you don't know that, you're missing an opportunity to engage your donors in a real way.

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 30-31, 2013)

March 31, 2013

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

Black Male Achievement

Here on PhilanTopic, the Open Society Foundation's Shawn Dove, whom we spoke with back in December, announces the launch of BMAfunders.org, a Web portal designed to "facilitate engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among funders, nonprofits, and policy makers working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America."


In a guest post on Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Communications Blog, Jen Charney, communication manager at the Save the Redwoods League, explains how the organization redesigned its Web site to attract more "uniques" and increase online donations and e-mail subscribers.


Environmental "cause days" such as Earth Day are great, but what about the other 360+ days of the year, asks Geoff Livingston, author of Welcome to the Fifth Estate, in a recent post on his blog.  "If our culture intends to adapt to climate change," writes Livingston, "our efforts need to increase. First of all, let's not poo-poo the small acts taken. Instead, let's build upon them...."

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More to Do: A 'Flip' Chat With Anika Rahman, President/CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women

March 27, 2013

While the topics du jour in the women's movement seem to be Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and New York magazine's take on "feminist housewives," there are deeper, more persistent problems in need of attention, from access to health and child care, to low wages and a shortage of quality jobs, to continued assaults on women's reproductive rights and services.

Indeed, as the Ms. Foundation for Women says on its Web site, "It's true that women have come a long way since the 1970s, but for every woman who has reached the 'top' (and who still face discrimination, by the way), there are millions of women struggling to earn a living wage, gain access to basic health care, secure affordable child care, and participate in the opportunities that should be available to every person in the U.S."

On a rainy day earlier this month, I spoke with Anika Rahman, the organization's president and CEO, about the many inequities confronting women, especially low-income women and women of color, as well as the organization's new report, More to Do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States (58 pages, PDF).

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Networked Activism: Women's Causes Online

March 25, 2013

(Regina Mahone is a staff writer at PND. In her last post, she shared some takeaways from a new report that looks at homeownership and the racial wealth gap.)

Women-circleEarlier this month, I attended a Philanthropy 3.0 event hosted by the George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University featuring Allison Fine, co-author of the Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change and host of the Chronicle of Philanthropy's Social Good podcast series; Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good; Nancy Schwartzman, director of the award-winning film The Line and founder of The Line Campaign, a movement committed to empowering young leaders to create a world without sexual violence; and Vanessa Valenti, co-founder of the blog Feministing and a partner in the consulting firm Valenti Martin Media. Moderated by Tom Watson, president and founder of consulting firm CauseWired, the event covered a range of topics, including the sustainability of online activism in support of women's causes.

As Valenti noted, online activism in support of women's causes has been around for years, but it's tended to be reactive and not pursued with a long-term strategy in mind. Her consulting firm was created to assist activists in developing infrastructure to support their online efforts.

In contrast, the Mom Bloggers network has always had the infrastructure needed to carry out and promote its work. As James pointed out, however, the network hasn't always focused its efforts on social change. To help women engage with nonprofits the way they do with everyday brands, James launched Mom Bloggers for Social Good, which today boasts more than a thousand mothers in thirty-three countries working to spread "the good news about the amazing work nonprofit organizations and NGOs are doing around the world."

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 23-24, 2013)

March 24, 2013

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

Black Male Achievement

On the GuideStar blog, Zeina Fayyaz, manager of the Social Innovation Forum and Social Innovation Accelerator at Root Cause, announces a call for applications to the 2013-14 Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator. Modeled after the Social Innovation Forum, the accelerator program will provide, over twelve months, capacity-building and coaching support totaling more than $150,000 to five BMA Innovators, along with opportunities to network with funders and the chance to become a national leader in the field of black male achievement.

Higher Education

Is student debt the new subprime? Writing on the Demos blog, Thomas Hedges thinks it may be. "Education itself, which many considered a right thirty years ago, has become a market product," writes Hedges. "University presidents are, in the end, fundraisers, soliciting large donations and encouraging students to take out loans that will take decades to pay back. The costs of tuition, which are cleverly obscured for low-income students, slam students years after they graduate, once they realize what paying off, say, $30,000 in student debt means." As one 30-year-old woman with $120,000 in student loans tells Hedges: "The grim truth is that universities and student loans are no longer creating the American dream, they are destroying it, one wide-eyed dreamer at a time.”


On the Arabella Advisors blog, Cynthia Muller, director of the firm's impact investing practice, is encouraged by signs that the strategy is gaining traction.

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 16-17, 2013)

March 17, 2013

Egg-on-endOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


Over at Katya Andresen's Non-Profit Marketing blog, Kari Saratovsky and Derrick Feldmann, co-authors of the recently published Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement, explain how developing a platform to engage Millennials can better position an organization for success.


"[M]ost social good organizations...[are] focus[ed] on reproducing the institution, not reusing...data," writes self-described data wonk Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "This needs to change in two ways," adds Bernholz. "First, nonprofits should be using their data for social purposes only....[And, second] when it comes to enterprise level data, the default should be to share all the data you can."

On Arabella Advisor's Greater Good blog, Katrina Briddell and Lauren Marra share five keys to effective donor collaboration.

The Inter-American Development Bank's Lina Salazar Ortegón shares five things investors need to know about impact investing metrics:

  1. Reporting requirements should be simple and in line with the client companies’ operations.
  2. It's necessary to involve both investment officers and investee companies in the measuring and tracking process, training them on the importance of metrics and reporting.
  3. To the extent it contributes to everyone speaking the same language and using the same type of indicators, tracking performance contributes to better communications with stakeholders.
  4. Investments aren't the only thing that need to be tracked. Grant-funded projects with potential to become profitable and sustainable business models also need to be monitored from the start.
  5. Metrics must be negotiated during the due diligence process and be formally included in the loan agreements.

Ortegón invites readers to learn more about the challenges the bank faced, the improvements it made, and the lessons it learned by reading the OMJ IRIS User Case, which was published earlier this year by the Global Impact Investing Network.

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 9-10, 2013)

March 10, 2013

Daylight_savings_2013Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


In a two-part series on her Non-Profit Marketing blog (here and here), Katya Andresen shares highlights of a discussion she had with Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward about the key themes in their recently published book Social Change Anytime Everywhere, including how nonprofits can use online tools to advance their work.

On the Communications Network blog, Courtney Williamson, the network's community manager, shares slides and video from Avoiding the Blind Spot: Telling Your Story With Pictures, a recent network webinar featuring Resource Media's Liz Banse and Scott Miller. Among other things, Banse and Miller outline three principles of good communication: 1) people are visual first, verbal second; 2) people's decisions and actions are based on emotional reaction more than rational thought; and 3) visuals are the most effective communications vehicles for evoking emotion and getting people to take action.

Disaster Relief

On the techPresident blog, Julia Wetherell looks at findings from a new Internews report on the effectiveness of crisis mapping following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan. Among other things, the report found that the crisis map created on the Ushahidi platform was "not as critical to [the humanitarian] response" as previously thought, in part because many victims of the disaster weren't aware of it. "The accessibility of crisis mapping was also dependent on the availability of Internet service," says Wetherell. To address that shortcoming, the report recommends strengthening IT infrastructure, particularly in less connected rural areas, before the next disaster hits.

NPR has a good interview with reporter Jonathan Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.

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Homeownership and the Racial Wealth Gap

March 06, 2013

I'm 29 and still hopeful I'll be a homeowner one day. Both my parents have owned their homes for years, and it has always been clear to me that the financial and social benefits of owning a home outweigh the benefits of paying less in rent and using the extra income for other things. Even though I know, as an African-American woman with some serious student debt living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, that the odds are stacked against me, I've started taking some steps to make homeownership a possibility in the not-too-distant future.

So you can understand my unease after reading the following in a new study from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University about the growing wealth gap in the United States:

While homeownership has played a critical role in the development of wealth for communities of color in this country, the return on investment is far greater for white households, significantly contributing to the expanding racial wealth gap shown in [the figure below]. The paradox is that even as homeownership has been the main avenue to building wealth for African-Americans, it has also increased the wealth disparity between whites and blacks....

As the report, The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide (8 pages, PDF), notes, homes are the largest investment most American families make, and they are by far the biggest item in a family's "wealth portfolio." For African Americans, home equity represents 53 percent of household wealth, while for whites, who typically have a more diversified wealth portfolio, it accounts for just 39 percent. "Yet, for many years," the report's authors write, "redlining, discriminatory mortgage-lending practices, lack of access to credit, and lower incomes have blocked the homeownership path for African Americans while creating and reinforcing communities segregated by race. African Americans, therefore, are more recent homeowners and more likely to have high-risk mortgages, [making them] more vulnerable to foreclosure and volatile housing prices."

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Weekend Link Roundup (March 2-3, 2013)

March 03, 2013

Budget-battleOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

African Americans

Washington Post reporter Vanessa Small recaps a recent networking and panel discussion devoted to "young black philanthropy" hosted by boutique marketing firm Friends of Ebonie at National Council of Negro Women headquarters in Washington, D.C. "At one point, the conversation turned to whether wealthy African Americans are doing enough to give back," writes Small, "and by the end of the night, a consensus developed that all African Americans need to do more to hold one another accountable for how they give their time and money."

On one of the last days of Black History Month, a post on the Case Foundation blog celebrated the charity of African Americans:

Giving back and helping others is the fundamental premise of philanthropy and this premise has been a central tenet of African American culture. The distinguished researcher Mary Winters notes in her study on Endowment Building in the African American Community that perhaps out of survival, "Black Americans have been compelled to share and give back from the moment they arrived on the shores of this country. When they have money to give, they give; when there was no money to give, a generous heart, a strong back or a keen mind. As a value, 'giving back' is firmly rooted in black history." Research funded by the Kellogg Foundation supports this belief. The report, Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color, shows that African Americans give 25 percent more of their income [annually] than white Americans. These findings go to show just how deep the spirit of giving runs within the black community....


On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen shares some highlights from a post by Steve Daigneault at M+R Research Labs about what the Obama reelection campaign got right -- and not so right -- in terms of its digital outreach efforts.

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Weekend Link Roundup (February 23-24, 2013)

February 24, 2013

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


On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, NTEN's Katya Andresen looks at new data from eMarketer.com that confirms what a lot of us already know: Nonprofits have been quick to adopt social media.


"It is imperative that women of color invest in young girls through volunteering and mentoring to ensure the success of our younger generation," writes Shae Harris on the Washington Area Women's Foundation blog. "Use this Black History Month to begin or continue 'paying it forward.' Our girls are counting on you."


In a post on her blog, Beth Kanter, co-author most recently of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, considers the difference between being data informed and data driven. "The term 'data-driven' has been used to describe organizations that rely solely on cold hard data to make decisions. Being data-driven sounds great -- in theory. But, because it doesn't acknowledge the importance of basing decisions on multiple information sources, it can doom an organization to epic failures," Kanter writes. Data informed, on the other hand, "describes agile, responsive, and intelligent businesses that are better able to succeed in a rapidly changing environment....Data-informed cultures are not slaves to their data."

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5 Questions for...Melissa Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, Tides

February 22, 2013

Created in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson, who designated the second week of February as "Negro History Week," Black History Month today serves as a reminder of the challenges and triumphs of the African diaspora in the United States and around the globe.

"Despite [Woodson's] original intentions and the federal expansion of the week into a month, critics rightly argue that African Americans and other people of color are still viewed as the exception to the majority white rule, and that this marginalization continues to be pervasive," argues Tides CEO Melissa Bradley on the organization's What's Possible blog. "We must fully embrace that this 'exception' of race is the rule -- as data shows -- and more justly distribute resources and elevate opportunities to pursue true equity."

Bradley joined the San Francisco-based organization as CEO in 2010 and, over the last few years, has helped boost its capacity to facilitate African-American donor engagement and support of African-American communities through a variety of programs. One such program, 21CF Powered by Tides, engages philanthropists and community leaders to address the opportunities and challenges facing African Americans and "new majority communities" globally.

Recently, PND interviewed Bradley about the program, Tides' work in the impact investing space, and philanthropy's support for human rights/racial justice initiatives.

Melissa Bradley, CEO, TidesPhilanthropy News Digest: Tell us about the Twenty-First Century Foundation Powered by Tides program. How did it come about? And how does it support Tides' stated goal of "scaling the growth of African American donors and supporting new majority communities that are lacking financial and social capital"?

Melissa Bradley: Before moving back to Washington, D.C., in 2004, I lived in Harlem, where I became very familiar with the Twenty-First Century Foundation, which at the time was working independently to encourage strategic giving for change in the African-American community, as well as many of its grantees in the neighborhood. I even volunteered at one of them. So I was a longstanding supporter of and contributor to the organization before it joined the Tides Network last year.

Like many other intermediary foundations focused on addressing the needs of one group or subset of the general population, 21CF’s business model was contingent on large private foundations giving smaller public foundations money that they would then re-grant. Once 21CF realized there was a disconnect between the availability of funds and its growth prospects, we started talking about how Tides could be of help.

For us, the merger was more about being able to preserve the history and relationships 21CF had forged, both within the African-American community and also beyond California. I think the majority of people assume that most of Tides' work is done in California. But we actually have a national presence, including an office and building that we co-own in New York City, as well as an office in Washington, D.C. So the merger was an opportunity for us to expand our geographic footprint among donors and doers in New York and around the country.

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Weekend Link Roundup (February 16-17, 2013)

February 17, 2013

Presidents-Day2013Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Arts and Culture

On the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, James Irvine Foundation president and CEO Jim Canales discusses the foundation's new arts strategy, which has received both positive and negative feedback from the nonprofit community. "I admire those who have stepped forward to criticize aspects of our strategy, whether they believe it is wrong on its merits or they view it as yet another example of 'strategic philanthropy' gone awry, where we are dictating and imposing our solutions upon the field," writes Canales. "That is certainly not out intention.

What is different for us in our new Arts strategy is that rather than continuing with a broad-based approach that funded projects across multiple objectives, we made the strategic decision to direct our finite resources in a way that, in our view, will best position the arts field for future viability and success. In doing so, we are openly expressing a point of view about how we think the field must evolve to ensure its dynamism and relevance. Yet, we are very clear about our willingness to learn with our partners in this effort, to refine our approach accordingly, and to help to advance the field's understanding of the many ways to engage a broader cross-section of Californians (in our case) in the arts....

So, please keep the ideas, observations and critiques coming. It's the best way to ensure we can achieve the end we all agree upon: a vibrant, relevant and successful arts field....


The Mertz Gilmore Foundation and NYU Wagner's Research Center for Leadership in Action have issued a new report, Beyond Foundation Funding: Revenue-Generating Strategies for Sustainable Social Change (84 pages, PDF), that's designed to aid social change organizations, funders, and technical assistance providers in discussing and implementing different fundraising and revenue-generating practices.

Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks has a few choice words for fundraising consultants who show up at sector conferences with slick PowerPoint presentations designed to shame attendees into contracting their services, but who never, ever reveal whether the campaigns they are so proud of creating actually worked or not.

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Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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