In Louisville we are preparing for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (and the Oaks, and the Steamboat Race and many more). In fact, we’ve been celebrating for more than a week already. Louisville has indeed found a great excuse for a two-week celebration in the two-minute Derby. Having a full two-weeks of activities (including a marathon and half-marathon) reminds me that we in the non-profit world are in a marathon rather than a sprint. The causes and challenges that we are facing need us to be ready for the long-haul. This includes pacing ourselves, setting reasonable goals and celebrating along the way. This week find a reason to celebrate – whether it be a project that has been completed, a major gift that has been received or a client success story.
In the meantime, here are this week’s headlines. Happy reading!
An Unprecedented Challenge Gives Philanthropy a Chance to End Bad Habits (April 23, 2009, Chronicle of Philanthropy) These are unprecedented times in philanthropy. The economic difficulties facing our country are beginning to overwhelm and strain nonprofit organizations in profound ways, at the very time when the endowments of foundations have eroded significantly. Philanthropy must seize this moment of crisis and convert it to a moment of opportunity for social missions that motivate us. We must indeed marshal our best thinking to capitalize on this unprecedented moment, but as we do so, let's also remember that we will be judged not only by what we do in response but also by how we do it. And indeed, if we can look back at this moment as the time when philanthropy collectively and aggressively turned away from the occupational hazards of insularity, complacency, and arrogance, that will be a lasting legacy. http://philanthropy.com/free/articles/v21/i13/13003901.htm
Nonprofits Missing Out on Pro Bono, Volunteer Opportunities, Survey Finds (April 14, 2009, Deloitte Press Release) Nonprofits and corporations are overlooking an opportunity to leverage pro bono and skilled volunteer support to offset a decline in corporate giving dollars, a new survey from New York City-based Deloitte finds. Nearly all nonprofits surveyed (97 percent) did not know who in a company to approach with pro bono requests, while 95 percent did not know which companies to appeal to with such a request. "The current economic crisis and the new administration's national call for service underscores the need for corporations and nonprofits alike to broaden their definition of corporate giving," said Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg. "Nonprofits and corporations are encouraged to think of pro bono and skill-based volunteerism as a valuable form of currency." http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/press_release/0,1014,sid%253D2255%2526cid%253D256074,00.html
Nearly Two-Thirds of Foundations Expect to Reduce Grantmaking in 2009 (4/20/09, Foundation Center) According to a new research advisory from the Foundation Center, nearly two-thirds of foundations expect to reduce the number or the size of grants they award in 2009. More than half of respondents are reacting to the economic crisis by engaging in more non-grantmaking activities, with two-thirds of those foundations planning to pursue collaborations and partnerships in 2009 and about a third indicating that they will initiate more convenings. At least 20 percent of funders said they expect to engage in more foundation staff-led activities, provide more technical assistance, offer more bridge/emergency financing, or engage in more advocacy. http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/15017827/story
TIPS AND RESOURCES
The Resource Center, a website of the Corporation for National and Community Service, is the repository of over 8,000 nodes of training tools, publications, and effective practices to support volunteer programs, nonprofits, and people involved with the AmeriCorps family of programs. The Resource Center–free and accessible to all audience–boasts a 3,000-item lending library as well as a calendar of events of interest to national service programs and nonprofits. http://nationalserviceresources.org/
Who Is the Hero in Your Nonprofit's Story? (April 16, 2009, techsoup) It's easy to forget that new media or old media, the fundamentals of solid storytelling are the same. Crafting a compelling story takes skill and care, no matter how you're distributing it. http://blog.techsoup.org/node/782
Where's Your Organization's Social Media Policy? (April 23, 2009, Getting Attention Blog) Social media is a free-flowing, wide-open phenomenon that needs to be handled and handled well. So frame its use for your staff, volunteers and base. The clearer you are, the more likely it is that your org will make an impact with these tools -- whether you're just monitoring conversation about your org via Google Alerts, have a two-pronged approach with Facebook fan and cause pages or are experimenting on several fronts. http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2009/04/whats-your-organizations-social-media-policy.html
Charities see potential, risk with social networks (Apr 24, 2009, Associated Press Writer) Meredith Bowen was getting tired of requests from Facebook friends to exchange make-believe pansies, daffodils and tiny cartoon characters for her "(Lil) Green Patch," a virtual garden that sprouted on her social-networking page about a year ago. She was ready to delete it, until she learned The Nature Conservancy was getting a portion of the ad revenue generated by the game. "I've saved like 133 square feet of rainforest," the 31-year-old Holt resident said. Bowen illustrates both the potential upside and downside for charitable causes hoping to cash in on the popularity of social-networking sites such as Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace. With millions of users worldwide, the sites would seem fertile ground for fundraising experiments — especially ones where users aren't asked to make direct contributions. http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090424/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_social_fundraising_online
'Civic Generation' Rolls up Sleeves in Record Numbers (April 13, 2009, USA Today) Jobs are scarce. Money is tight. A speedy economic recovery seems unlikely. Yet none of that has stopped the Millennial Generation from helping others. Young adults who grew up in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks and saw the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina are volunteering at home and abroad in record numbers. The generation that learned in school to serve as well as to read and write, the Millennials were the first global Internet explorers even as they pioneered social networking for favorite causes at home. http://www.usatoday.com/news/sharing/2009-04-13-millenial_N.htm?csp=34
Engaging Your Board in Sustainable Fundraising (April 21, 2009, AFP) Most board members don’t want to be fundraisers—rather they want to be board members who are successful at fundraising, says Dave Sternberg of Achieve LLC. He offers tips on cultivating board members’ fundraising skills: (1) Encourage board members to play an active role (i.e. hosting an event in their home for long-time donors or top prospects, calling donors to say thank you, or writing personal letters to peers asking for a contribution). Then track their engagement. (2) Provide Hands-on Training by working with staff to experience what fundraising actually felt like. http://www.afpnet.org/ka/ka-3.cfm?content_item_id=24883&folder_id=914
The Science Behind Our Generosity: How psychology affects what we give charities. (Mar 9, 2009, Newsweek) Imagine that you are walking near a shallow ornamental pond when you notice that a small child has fallen in, and is apparently in danger of drowning. You look around for the child's caregiver, but there is no one in sight. Without pausing even to pull off the expensive pair of shoes you are wearing, you rush into the water to save the child. You don't have to be a hero to do that. We expect it of you. You'd have to be a monster to put the cost of your shoes ahead of saving the child's life. Or would you? http://www.newsweek.com/id/187010/page/1