74 posts categorized "author-Regina Mahone"

Weekend Link Roundup (November 3-4, 2012)

November 04, 2012

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

Civil Society

On the NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Niki Jagpal discusses a recent article from the Poverty & Race Research Action Council about the "unsettling statistics on the status of voting rights in our country." According to PRRAC, voter identification laws, early voting restrictions, purging of "legitimate registered voters because of baseless suspicion of their citizenship status," and felon disenfranchisement continue to marginalize low-income individuals, communities of color, younger voters, and the elderly.

Disaster Relief

In the days following the devastating landfall of Superstorm Sandy near Cape May, New Jersey, nonprofit bloggers were busy sharing resources for those interested in contributing to relief and recovery efforts. On her Have Fun, Do Good blog, Britt Bravo has compiled a list of articles and Web sites that suggest ways to donate and volunteer; Idealist's Allison Jones has a few additional suggestions for New Yorkers looking to get involved in relief and recovery efforts; and longtime New Jersey resident Nancy Schwartz suggests three organizations on the ground in that state -- the NYC Rescue Mission, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey -- that are "providing services right now and need your help to keep it up."

Looking at the response to the storm through a tech/data lens, Philanthropy 2173 blogger Lucy Bernholz tracks, in a series of posts, the many ways in which organizations and individuals used information communication technologies during and after the storm, while the Weakonomist looks at how Sandy might affect the economy.

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 27-28, 2012)

October 28, 2012

Hurricane-sandy_satOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Climate Change

Bridgespan Group manager Chris Addy says that if the federal government won't address climate change at the policy level, at-risk communities may need to rely on the generosity of private philanthropies like the San Diego Foundation for support. He goes on to list "five powerful pathways for philanthropic funders to invest in climate adaptation":

  1. support local science and local scientists;
  2. invest in neutral conveners;
  3. build the field of climate adaptation;
  4. re-frame adaptation around equity; and
  5. support advocacy.


On the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog, David Grant, who was president and CEO of the foundation from 1998 to 2010, writes about a board leadership training in which he put off using the "a-word" -- assessment -- and asked the participants to envision what success for their organizations would look like in progressively specific terms. The participants discussed their answers with one another, then repeated the exercise but this time described what success would look like at an even higher level. Grant writes:

I was talking about building an assessment culture. And without using the word "rubric," the teams from each organization had begun to build one, as they discussed...what criteria they would [use to] measure success and began to meld together their visions of what success would look like at various levels. They were beginning to create a clear, specific, shared vision they could plan backwards from -- and one they could use to give and receive feedback in time for the feedback to be useful.

My contention has always been that the word "assessment" needs to be rehabilitated. We have all experienced assessment so many times in our lives...as something that comes at the end and judges our past performance that we have trouble assuming it could be something that happens all along and improves our performance. But it can be. Coaches know that. Teachers of performing arts know that. And leaders of nonprofit organizations can know it, too, once they establish some basic principles and some new habits with their colleagues....

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On 'Networked Nonprofits' and Measurement: A 'Flip' Chat With Beth Kanter

October 23, 2012

(The short videos below were 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 Dr. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Simon Youth Foundation.)

At a recent Foundation Center event, Beth Kanter, the "Queen of Nonprofits," explained to a full house that "if you want to create change, you have to be networked, use data, and [work to] make sense of your data." Indeed, that's the message of her most recent book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, which she co-wrote with Katie Delahaye Paine, the "Goddess of Measurement."

Before the event got under way, I had a chance to chat with Kanter about the new book as well as The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change, the earlier book she co-wrote with Allison Fine. (Click here for our 2010 "Flip" chat with Fine. )

In part one of a two-part conversation, we asked Kanter to describe the hallmarks of a "networked nonprofit" and share the seven steps of measurement for a networked organization. In the video, she also explains why she feels the "measure everything" approach is misguided and what internal advocates for more measurement can do to get their skeptical colleagues on board.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 20-21, 2012)

October 21, 2012

McGovern-72Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


Network for Good's Katya Andresen offers "five tectonic technology shifts changing our world, our work, and our potential," including the "messenger shift," in which one's peers are now the most influential and amplified messengers in a person's life; the "social action shift"; and the "message shift," where a single message for everyone is no longer enough.


On her BlackGivesBack blog, Tracey Webb announces the most recent winners of the D5 coalition's Insights on Diversity grants.


How is "big data" changing health and health care? Steve Downs, chief technology and information officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, chats with a colleague about the latest trends in the use of health-related data at both the personal and population level and the promise these innovations hold for the future.

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 13-14, 2012)

October 14, 2012

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


In a guest post on the Communication Network blog, Hattaway Communication's Doug Hattaway shares a couple of insights based on psychology and neuroscience into how people make decisions:

Insight 1: Two mental systems work together to drive decision-making and behavior. Effective communications influence both intuition and cognition -- encouraging instant intuitive judgments and enabling fluent cognitive reasoning.

Insight 2: People are more likely to trust information that they easily understand. "Fluency" theory holds that if people readily comprehend an idea or information, they are more likely to believe it. Being easy-to-understand obviously doesn't mean the information is more reliable, but people are more likely to perceive it as true. Hattaway's advice for nonprofit communicators: "It's smart to dumb things down."

In a post on her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Network for Good's Katya Andresen shares seven tips designed to improve the stories that nonprofits tell about their impact, the people they help, and their generous supporters.

Disaster Relief

Eye-opening article by Deborah Sontag in the New York Times about Yéle Haiti, the charity created by Haitian-American hip hop artist Wyclef Jean in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake to help the people of that impoverished country.

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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.

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Weekend Link Roundup (September 29-30, 2012)

September 30, 2012

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


In the Your Money section of the New York Times, Paul Sullivan takes a closer look at the burgeoning field of impact investing and, despite his skepticism, finds some things to applaud.

Beth Kanter highlights what she calls "a terrific round up of posts about 'big data for small nonprofits'" from Web-based software vendor Wild Apricot. At the same time, Kanter warns that jumping into the process of gathering, analyzing, and acting on data can be a waste of time for small nonprofits if they don't first take the time to define success.

On the Philanthropy Potluck blog, Kaitlin Ostlie of the Minnesota Council on Foundations shares a list compiled by Lauren Gilbert of BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) that details the "five hurdles beyond cost that nonprofits must address when going through a rigorous, independent research assessment."


How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar co-author Rosetta Thurman announces the release of her newest manifesto, which, according to Thurman, provides "a simple, accessible framework for thinking more deeply about 'new leadership for a new nonprofit sector.' "

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On Putting Your Data to Work: A 'Flip' Chat With Jake Porway, Founder/Executive Director, DataKind

September 26, 2012

(This video 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 Paull Young, director of digital at charity: water.)

There's no shortage of data in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. Indeed, a growing number of nonprofits are filling virtual filing cabinets with data on their constituents, donors, outputs, and outcomes, while more and more foundations are creating digital records of their program activities and grantees' performance. But what are nonprofits and foundations doing with that data once it has been collected? In most cases, not a whole lot.

At the same time, computer programmers have elevated so-called "hackathons"  and "codefests" into an art form. In rare cases, these events even enable hackers to contribute to the greater good by developing software or a mobile app that can be used to address a social problem. Too often, however, as Jake Porway, founder of DataKind, noted at a recent 501 Tech NYC event, they're just "a bunch of white dudes looking to solve their own problems, like where to find parking or farmers markets." Which is why his organization focuses on connecting programmers and data scientists interested in doing some social good with nonprofit leaders working to address some of the world's most urgent problems.

Formerly known as Data Without Borders, DataKind accomplishes its mission through weekend-long "DataDive" events; a DataCorps (i.e., a group of volunteers and/or contract employees who focus on a single project for up to six months at a time); and by providing on-demand/in-house data services.

After the event, I had a chance to chat with Porway about the nonprofit sector's relationship to and use of data and what nonprofits could be doing to make better use of their data. Porway also offered advice for nonprofit leaders who are worried about the steepness of the data learning curve.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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Weekend Link Roundup (September 15-16, 2012)

September 16, 2012

Lincoln-McClellan-AntietamOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


Looking to create or strengthen a tagline for your organization? Nonprofit marketing expert Nancy Schwartz has selected sixty-three nonprofit taglines from fourteen hundred submitted to her Getting Attention blog over the summer and is asking readers to help choose the 2012 Nonprofit Tagline Award winners. Voting is open through midnight on October 5, and if you subscribe to the Getting Attention e-update while you're on the site, you'll get a free copy of the 2013 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report (due in late fall).

In a post on the Communications Network blog, Louis Herr says that "limiting Web evaluation to a clickstream product like Google Analytics starves you of critical information." In his post, Herr highlights the argument made by Avinash Kaushik in Web Analytics: An Hour a Day -- to wit, that to be truly actionable, Web analytics should focus on measures of behavior, outcome, and experience, not just page views and click counts.


On the Philanthropy Potluck blog, Lissa Jones, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Minnesota Council on Foundations, discusses the implications of the Millennium Communications Group's Donors of the Future Scan, which identified twelve key trends in giving. Those trends include a giving population that is growing more diverse, increasing pressure on endowed giving, and the growing popularity of "flash" and Internet giving portals.

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Weekend Link Roundup (September 8-9, 2012)

September 09, 2012

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


On his Harvard Business Review blog, Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable and the just released Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself, makes the case for "an Apollo program for American philanthropy and the nonprofit sector." In the book, Pallotta outlines plans for a "national Charity Defense Council" that would provide "five vital grassroots organizing functions" for the sector, including an anti-defamation mechanism and a legal defense fund.


When it comes to nonprofit Web sites, presentation matters. Indeed, writes Katya Andresen on her Non-Profit Marketing Blog, charities "with a branded donation page -- a page that shows off the organization's personality and makes giving tangible for donors -- can see up to seven times more in donation dollars than a nonprofit with a generic, e-commerce page for donations." For more stats about the state of online philanthropy, check out the Q2 update of Network for Good's Digital Giving Index.


At the Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks announces the release of his new book, The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications. As Brooks explains, the book "zeroes in on the hard stuff, the surprising, counterintuitive things that most often trip up fundraisers. You won't find wild-eyed, speculative theories in this book. Just the solid, experiential practices."

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Weekend Link Roundup (September 1-2, 2012)

September 02, 2012

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


Network for Good's Katya Andresen shares a letter from one of her blog readers, who urges development directors to "make sure your donors are really getting the prompt thanks they deserve."

International Development

On the Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimists blog, Ari Katz describes how public libraries are bolstering development efforts in impoverished communities. Among other things, Katz writes, libraries empower women, expand awareness of and solutions to public health problems, and help to bridge the education gap in many developing countries.

Nonprofit Management

On her blog, Beth Kanter announces the forthcoming publication of her second book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, which she co-authored with KD Paine. Among other things, the book presents "a framework called 'Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly' to help nonprofits figure out what...steps they need to take to get to the next level of networked nonprofit practice. It is designed to help them understand and measure the nature of the change process as they move through it." We're looking forward to reading the book and learning more.

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Weekend Link Roundup (August 25-26, 2012)

August 26, 2012

Ts-issac-satelliteOur (slightly delayed) weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Niki Jagpal commends the Kresge Foundation for a recent grant of $500,000 to Princeton-based Climate Central in support of efforts to provide decision makers and the public with information about future coastal flood exposure and sea level rise. "Kresge," writes Jagpal, "is leading the way by example: focusing specifically on socially vulnerable populations is precisely what environment and climate philanthropy expert Sarah Hansen recommends for environment and climate funders in Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders."


Philanthropy 411's Kris Putnam-Walkerly shares a post from Trista Harris, executive director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, in which Harris explains what an informational interview is for those "too embarrassed to ask."

Social Entrepreneurship

In a post on his Harvard Business Review blog, Uncharitable author Dan Pallotta discusses how he went from building Pallotta TeamWorks, one of the most successful charity event businesses in the country, to losing everything -- including four hundred full-time employees and sixteen U.S. offices -- after his biggest client jumped ship.

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Weekend Link Roundup (August 18-19, 2012)

August 19, 2012

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


On the Communications Network blog, Courtney Williamson talks to Allyson Burns, vice president for communications at the Case Foundation, about the foundation's Be Fearless Campaign. The initiative, which aims to "[encourage] all organizations trying to improve people’s lives 'to take risks' in how they approach their work," was inspired by a request from Case Foundation CEO and co-founder Jean Case for "a new messaging strategy that reflected how the foundation’s work has evolved since its inception." With the help of branding firm BBMG, Burns says, the foundation identified two themes, experimentation and partnership, that became the linchpin of the new strategy. "It doesn't mean we're always fearless," says Burns, "but I'm trying to do better every day."

On her Non-Profit Marketing Blog, Katya Andresen introduces a mini-guide created by her organization, Network for Good, that walks readers through the basics of e-mail engagement.


On the GiveWell Blog, Holden Karnofsky explains how GiveWell differentiates between strong and weak evidence when it evaluates charities. "By 'evidence,'" writes Karnofsky, "we generally mean observations that are more easily reconciled with the charity's claims about the world and its impact than with our skeptical default/'prior' assumption." General properties that make for strong evidence, Karnofsky adds, include relevant reported effects, attribution, representativeness, and consonance with other observations.

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Weekend Link Roundup (August 11-12, 2012)

August 12, 2012

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


Welcome to the Fifth Estate author Geoff Livingston has a list of tips for artists and writers seeking to brand and market themselves. The list includes:

  • Focus on actions.
  • Go beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Monitor social media conversations.
  • Let your fans embrace your experience.

Disaster Relief

GiveWell's Holden Karnofsky shares findings from a recent evaluation of charities working to help people in Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern part of the country in 2011. After reviewing reports about their activities over the past twelve months, Karnofsky concludes that he and his partners "stand by the conclusions we reached last year: that the relief and recovery effort did not have room for more funding, that those interested in emergency relief should have donated to Doctors Without Borders, and that those determined to help Japan specifically should have donated to the Japanese Red Cross."

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Weekend Link Roundup (August 4-5, 2012)

August 05, 2012

London2012_goldOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


In a guest post on the Communications Network blog, Dan Cohen and Edit Ruano offer five ideas for livening up your summer communications efforts.

  1. Brainstorm with staff on how to engage your audience/community, and then delegate the implementation of those ideas to tap into staff creativity.
  2. Program e-blasts; content could include previews of the work planned for the fall or reflections on your organization's previous accomplishments.
  3. Write (or coordinate with grantees to write) op-eds about your organization's work before heading out on vacation.
  4. Develop a schedule of pre-programmed social media content: at least one Facebook post and two or three tweets per week recommended.
  5. Host a get-together with potential partner organizations and individuals to strengthen your networks and bring a fresh perspective to the work you do.

Kivi Leroux Miller highlights the evolution of one nonprofit's annual reports -- from more than twenty pages of financial details to four pages of accomplishments. In 2009 "[i]t was a lot more 'here's all the stuff we've done' vs 'here's what we accomplished,'" Katie Bryan, of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, told Miller. In contrast, in 2011 "[w]e started out with the top accomplishments we had to share, then filled in images...and then worked the theme and letter around those."

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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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