Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where in Colorado? December

Win CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph. No one was able to correctly identify November's photo of Sprague Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Take a guess for this month's "Where in Colorado?" photo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Embracing the Challenge

By Sarah Fischler, Interim Co-Director

I spent last week on a landscape photography tour in Oregon. I signed up for the tour to experience watching a professional photographer working in the field and to get to some great photo locations at the right time. What I got instead was a huge kick in the pants. For the first time in many years, I felt constantly challenged and inspired. With horrible weather, challenging conditions for photography, excruciatingly long days, and lots of tiresome physical activity, I created some of my favorite photographs…ever.

So what does this have to do with nonprofit management, you ask? For me, this trip pushed me beyond many of my personal boundaries and at those points, I found a lot more success and learning than I anticipated. This can be an important lesson in leading and managing an organization, especially now. For many of the nonprofits I come across in my work for CRC, the downturn in the economy seems to have encouraged some stagnation. This sort of stagnation could, in the long-term, lead to irrelevancy. Sometimes we all need things to challenge our thinking to get us to the next level or out of a rut.

Instead of writing an article focused on practical tips for this month, I am going to let some interesting articles and blogs speak for themselves, with the goal of encouraging our readers to get out of their comfort zones and think differently about our work within the nonprofit sector and your work within your organization. CRC is not endorsing these resources, but we are encouraging you to read a few of them to help you in thinking differently about your organization’s future and possibly finding clarity and inspiration in an unexpected place.

We have included a few articles that look into some structural issues that the authors say inhibit progress within the social sectors and some others that focus on more tactical issues that nonprofits confront each day. Hopefully all of our readers can find at least one item that is relevant for you and your organization in the list of readings that follow.

Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector

The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Achieving Better Results through Shared Leadership

Ethics and Nonprofits, Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Sustainability Formula, TCC Group

2020 Vision: What might be the future for fundraising?

Gender Trouble at Nonprofits

Are there too many charities in America?

The End of Charity: How to Fix the Nonprofit Sector through Effective Social Investing

Blogs worth checking out:

Where in Colorado? November

Win CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph. No one was able to correctly identify October's photo of Pass Creek Ranch on US 40 between Silverthorne and Kremmling along Colorado Highway 9.

Take a guess for this month's "Where in Colorado?" photo.

Start Guessing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program: Q&A with Diana Allen


Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, CRC’s acclaimed Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program provides innovative leadership and management training for executive directors of Colorado nonprofit organizations. CRC interviewed Diana Allen, class of 2009 participant.

Diana Allen, Executive Director, Community Partnership Family Resource Center in Divide Colorado, (CPFRC). CPFRC is a human services organization which serves all of Teller County. CPFRC has seven programs: Bright Beginnings/Parents As Teachers, Empowering Young Parents, Parent Education, Playgroups, Middle School After School Program, Adult Basic Education, and Health Advocacy.

How have you become a better leader as a result of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program? I now know what people mean when they say “It’s lonely at the top.” T his class has allowed me to meet with peers who are in the same position I’m in and I can reach out to them if I need a sounding board. I have learned that I have to make tough decisions and live with the consequences. Several of our activities have brought that home to me. Even though it’s not crystal clear to me, I now understand financial statements much better. Since I had little background in leadership and management, I really needed this course. I am forever grateful to the Anschutz Family Foundation for their scholarship.

What specific technical or management skills have you learned and implemented within your organization? I have a richer understanding of how to approach fundraising and will be working with some Board members to implement some new ideas about raising funds. I also have a better idea of how to go about establishing a workable budget. Last year I had no experience with doing a budget. Now I feel more confident about working one out. Jeff Pryor’s presentation about Boards was outstanding. It helped me to learn more about Board policy which is integral to the proper administration of a nonprofit.

What was your greatest “take away” from the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s Executive Leadership experience? The high point for me (no pun intended) was the rock climbing. I had made up my mind that, at age 68, rock climbing was not something I needed to add to my repertoire. Then when I saw Chanda, who is paralyzed, go up on someone’s back, I decided that I should at least try it. I didn’t go all the way up, but I went part way and was thrilled. I also learned how to belay. From this rock climbing experience I have learned that I can achieve what I set my mind to, no matter how scary!

What personal insights have you made because of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program coaching component? I have only started the coaching, yet I am already learning better ways to work with my Board.

Do you have other thoughts or comments you would like to make about your experience? This has been a once in a lifetime, incredible experience. I feel so much more in control of my position as Executive Director. Rafting on the Platte River through Denver was a super experience, too, thanks to CityWild.

Would you recommend the Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program to other ED’s across CO? If so, why? I think anyone associated with a nonprofit will benefit greatly from this experience. Getting to meet and share ideas with so many nonprofit leaders throughout the state will doubly pay back the time and effort spent.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Reading List: Inclusiveness

Want to learn more about Inclusiveness? Check out these resources.

Inclusiveness at Work: How to Build Inclusive Nonprofit Organizations (extensive narrative and worksheets): http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org/inclusiveness-work-how-build-inclusive-nonprofit-organizations

Inside Inclusiveness: Race, Ethnicity, and Nonprofit Organizations: http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org/inside-inclusiveness-race-ethnicity-and-nonprofit-organizations-publication

Extensive links for resources related to inclusiveness from www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org: http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org/related-links

Bibliography for the Nonprofit Inclusiveness website: http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org/bibliography

Inclusiveness and the Colorado Common Grant Application (page 20): http://www.nonprofitinclusiveness.org/inside-inclusiveness-race-ethnicity-and-nonprofit-organizations-publication

Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program: Q&A with Lindsey Hodel

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, CRC’s acclaimed Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program provides innovative leadership and management training for executive directors of Colorado nonprofit organizations.

CRC interviewed Lindsey Hodel, class of 2009 participant.

Lindsey Hodel, Organizing Director, Colorado Progressive Coalition
Colorado Progressive Coalition is a statewide, member-driven organization that has engaged communities to advance economic and social justice since 1996. Organized around five program areas: Racial Justice & Civil Rights; Health Care for All; Economic Justice; Statewide Base Building; and Civic Engagement; CPC advocates at the local, state, and national levels on issues that affect people of color, low-income neighborhoods, immigrants, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, and young people.

How have you become a better leader as a result of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program?
The Community Resource Center’s Leadership Program helped me connect to a truly statewide network of nonprofit leaders. Many organizations and programs strive to be representative and inclusive of the entire state, but few actually manage to make that happen. Too often political and state decisions are made in Denver, leaving the rest of the state out of critical policy change and advocacy efforts. I had the chance to meet leaders from Yuma, Hotchkiss, Ouray, Sterling, Steamboat Springs, and most regions in between. I was impressed by the geographic diversity present in the program, and the broad range of experiences, missions, and communities represented.

I have also gained financial management and fundraising expertise that are necessary skills for any nonprofit leader. The program also helped, and in some ways forced, me to slow down, reflect on my strengths and weaknesses, and recognize the unique skills and passions I have to offer. In particular, I am now able to communicate more fully my communication and leadership styles, and find new ways to value my own approach as well as others’. I am leaving the program with a robust and impressive statewide network, a more developed support system, and many lifelong friends.

What specific technical or management skills have you learned and implemented within your organization?
I oversee Colorado Progressive Coalition’s statewide program work, but do not bottom-line budget and fundraising efforts. Because of new skills and knowledge of financial and fundraising skills, I am able to provide much more support to CPC’s Executive Directors and Development Director. I feel I am strong running and implementing programs, and now I carry more confidence (and appreciation!) when managing internal organizational budgets and fundraising. I also possess a new toolbox of awareness and language around communication and leadership styles individuals bring to our organization, and can better facilitate team projects and staff leadership development. Lastly, through developing an awareness of my own strengths and limitations, I have grown much more patient when working in diverse coalitions, managing conflict, and delegating leadership. I have noticed I listen much more actively and have found new ways to assume leadership in a democratic manner.

What was your greatest “take away” from the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s Executive Leadership experience?
My greatest takeaway was that even though leadership can often be isolating and lonely, many nonprofit leaders face very similar struggles and challenges. I learned to have the courage to open up to others for help, for guidance, and support. In turn, I believe I have found better ways to offer that support to others as well. I often struggle with being my own worst critic, and not allow myself room to make mistakes and learn from them. The retreat was a much-needed space of support for this process. Finally, I often struggle with moving too fast to appreciate the experience I am gaining, trying to do too much and multi-task, and realized I severely needed more life/work balance if I am going to be a part of a social justice movement for the long haul. At the conclusion of the outdoor retreat, I felt refreshed, healthier, and happier, and realized I needed to work harder on achieving this balance to feel satisfied, and to know I am doing the best work I can possibly do.

What personal insights have you made because of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program coaching component?
We are just beginning the coaching experience. I am really looking forward to getting the support, encouragement, and fresh ideas that I will need to balance my personal and professional lives in a more healthy way.

Do you have other thoughts or comments you would like to make about your experience?
I represented one of the few advocacy-based nonprofits in the program, and was initially concerned that issues facing service-based groups may not apply to me. What I found was the exact opposite. Being in a room with a completely fresh network and brand new people whom I had never worked with was the best thing I could have asked for. I hope I can continue to foster and build the relationships I gained through this experience, create new alliances, and offer more support to rural communities in Colorado. I learned much about the issues and struggles rural communities in Colorado are facing, and believe I have new insights in bridging the gap between a mostly Denver-based advocacy movement and rural communities who often are the hardest hit by social, economic, and political policies and decisions. I carry a strong vision of building a truly statewide movement that is inclusive of every urban and rural community in the state, and have a vision of those on the front line – nonprofits providing necessary services to rural communities – possessing more political power and influence for change. Because of this vision, I have launched a formalized program within Colorado Progressive Coalition providing Technical Assistance to service providers on nonpartisan civic engagement and advocacy strategies. Service providers have the most trusting relationship with their clients and constituents, and are powerful political forces when that base is mobilized for change.

Would you recommend the Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program to other ED’s across CO? If so, why?
Absolutely! It was sometimes difficult to manage the priority of personal leadership development and just getting the work done day to day. But, I firmly believe the best leaders are those who are reflective, self-critical, and seek self-improvement. Every movement needs leaders, and without passionate and humbled leadership, change is not possible. Being a leader to me is not about being in charge. It’s about motivating others to work hard, to succeed, and to love life while doing it. I am inspired to more often remember the best leaders are not those who say “here I am,” but those who say “there you are.” Thank you Community Resource Center for offering me an opportunity to actualize the kind of leadership of which I can be proud and reflects my values!

The program fills quickly so apply now if you are interested! For more information, please visit http://www.crcamerica.org/ or call Carol Crawford at 303.623.1540 x13.

Lessons from the Field: Inclusiveness

Article contributed by Mike Johnson, Executive Director of Project PAVE

I came to Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education) in June 2006. I had spent 30 years in corporate America prior to that. During my corporate tenure, I attended several training sessions addressing Diversity, Racial Awareness, and White Privilege. Over time, you might notice a change in personnel, such as more women or more persons of color, but I did not seem to notice a change in the culture. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but then I am a white male.

Previous to coming to PAVE, I had been part of a learning group called “Just Faith.” The study and focus of the group was centered on Social Justice. We spent 32 weeks looking at Poverty, Racism, Institutional Racism and a multitude of issues, which facilitate the imbalance of power in the world. One of the key pillars of social justice is ‘subsidiarity’ or the intentional effort to ensure that the people who will be most impacted by a decision have the greatest say in forming the decision. On the surface this appeared to be very logical; however, as I looked at my own behavior and experience I came to see this was very different.

During my first couple of weeks at PAVE, I spent a lot of time looking into the priorities and issues facing the Agency. One item I came across was The Denver Foundation’s Expanded Non-Profit Inclusiveness Initiative, a two-year grant to PAVE. I was excited to think we had an opportunity to be part of such a noble program. I thought I had something I would feel really comfortable with but over the next two years the feeling changed dramatically.

I approached our Staff and Board to form an Inclusiveness Committee, which would be the catalyst for the transformation of self, and the Agency. At that time, the Staff and Board had done an excellent job holding things together but problems had surfaced. There was more than one person who felt I had my priorities a little mixed up because the Agency had been operating with more than one critical position vacant. We were in the red in June 2006, and by the end of the year, we were $120K in the red. Morale was suffering, and there was concern over our community involvement and whether or not our programs were stable and consistent with our mission. These were obvious priorities, so we were faced with a decision of whether we give the grant back or move forward with what were obviously pressing issues.

There was something that kept coming back to us, however, and that is, Inclusiveness is not an agenda item, it is not just some big project that appears also to be well meaning. It is a life style, and for an organization, it is a new way of “doing business.” It wasn’t something we would start and in 2 years be finished. We started to come to the realization that Inclusiveness was the solution to achieving our priorities. We wanted to create a culture that people would feel good about being a part of. So we began our journey.

At first, it was very slow as we began to gather data on the Agency, Board and the community we served. We started to look at ourselves and began to overhaul our internal processes. We conducted training and sessions that revealed our own blind spots. Things we each assumed to be the “truth” became open to new possibilities. New opportunities started to open up for the people to be heard and enable them to be part of the solution.

Simple solutions started to be realized for what appeared to be complex problems. Implementing a process where no more money would be sought unless the Development and Program departments agree on strategic alignment, risk and value. This eliminated conflicts between individuals. Language for grants, marketing policies and operational infrastructure were all aligned with PAVE’s mission.

Our mission became the cornerstone in every aspect of our journey.

PAVE’s mission is to empower youth to end the cycle of relationship violence. We serve 4 to 24 year old children, teens and young adults impacted by domestic violence, sexual abuse and relationship violence. Our programs take two paths: Intervention/Counseling services and Prevention/Education services. We provide services at the Agency, as well as in the schools of the Denver metro community. Our ‘Inclusiveness’ journey has allowed us to make great strides in making our programs much stronger in realizing our mission.

We continually involve the people and community we serve in deciding what our programs should look like. This involves students, parents, teachers, business and faith based leaders. Getting ourselves out of the way and putting the people most impacted in the decision-making role has led to greater impacts and sustainable programs.

So, what has the journey provided in terms of measurable accomplishments? As stated before, PAVE had a $120K deficit at the end of 2006. At the end of 2007 the Agency was $140K in the black, a $260K swing in 18 months. In 2008, PAVE served more clients than in any of the previous two years. Each member of the Board serves on at least one committee and volunteer involvement has increased each year. Our programs have become stronger and have received national recognition. In August of 2009, Project PAVE was recognized by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce as “The Small Non-Profit of the Year”.

Then there are the intangible improvements. Each Staff member realizes the opportunity for personal and professional improvement. Personal transformation is embraced, and some level of discomfort is expected; however, when decisions are made, one of the first questions asked is who is not at the table that should be. The diversity of the team continues to change and the culture being created brings each person’s uniqueness and skills into play.

We understand the difference between Diversity and Inclusiveness. It is like comparing content to context. You can change the makeup of a team (content) but unless you create an intentional practice of fostering an atmosphere that is open and supportive to the full array of life experiences, backgrounds, and points of view, your culture will be to tough to change (context).

I would summarize my own transformation in one statement. I don’t know and I don’t have the answers. As a community, however, we can learn, grow and actually realize the change we dream about.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where in Colorado? October

Win CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph. No one was able to correctly identify September's photo from one of CRC's 2009 Rural Philanthropy Days region.

Take a guess for this month's "Where in Colorado?" photo.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where in Colorado? For September

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph. We had four correct guesses, with Abby Landmeier of Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation submitting the first correct answer. Abby gets a free copy of CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Take a guess for this month's "Where in Colorado?" photo. We will offer one hint - this image is from one of CRC's 2009 Rural Philanthropy Days regions.

Start guessing!

The Reading List: Grant writing, Grant management, and Foundations

Want to learn more about grant writing, grant management, and foundations? Check out these resources:

Colorado Grants Guide - CRC published both a hard copy and online, searchable database.

Colorado Common Application and Report website - contains the forms, a list of funders accepting the CGA and CGR, and a comprehensive user's guide to help you improve your grant applications

CRC's Grant Seeking Clinic - want to learn about grantwriting or improve your grantwriting skills? Sign up for this two and a half day class.

New Colorado Common Grant Report Released!

The Colorado Common Grant Report Revision Committee is proud to announce the release of a revised Colorado Common Grant Report (CGR).

Over the past year, over sixty leaders in Colorado's nonprofit and foundation communities joined together in an extensive process to revise the CGR so it dovetails with the Common Grant Application (CGA) and supports nonprofit best practices for reporting on grant awards. The revised CGR's questions are designed to elicit key information about a nonprofit's experiences during the grant period, and the forms follow deliberately streamlined flow to complement the CGA.

Revisions to the CGR will save nonprofits time and effort related to creating different reports for multiple funders, while affording grant makers and grant seekers the convenience of working from a common set of questions that reinforce solid nonprofit practices. Additionally, the revised CGR brings two main enhancements designed to simplify the user experience- a dedicated website (http://www.coloradocommongrantforms.org/) and a User's Guide. The User's Guide adds clarity to the application process and is especially valuable for less experienced grant writers and those new to the CGA and CGR.

Currently, more than 90 of Colorado's funders accept the CGR, CGA, or both, with more joining the group each week. An updated list of funders accepting the CGA and CGR is available at http://www.coloradocommongrantforms.org/.

If you would like to learn more about the revised CGR and how your organization can develop a strong CGR template, consider attending a low-cost informational session outlining major changes in the CGR. These sessions are being offered around Colorado through a collaboration between the Community Resource Center, the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and JVA Consulting. Please visit http://www.coloradocommongrantforms.org/ for the complete list of planned informational session dates and locations statewide.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Create A Board From Hell

From the 1991 Susan Scribner volume "Boards from Hell", and used in yesterday's CRC training 'Dynamic Boards' in Washington County (Akron, CO).

YES, you too can build your own 'Board from Hell'. It's easy. Just follow these simple steps and within months (or even weeks) you will get results!

1. Never explain the job thoroughly to anyone joining your Board.

2. Don't force Board members to participate in training or orientation.

3. Be sure to schedule Board meetings at different times each month so that no one will start to count on them; or, schedule them one at a time at the end of each meeting. Better yet, don't schedule them at all; just wait until you have a big emergency.

4. Never have a quorum. Just go ahead and meet anyway.

5. Always elect someone to chair a committee (or your Board) who is absent from the meeting.

6. Don't enforce terms of office.

7. Diversity be damned. Elect all your friends so that no one will question what you do.

8. By all means, never let your staff get to know your Board.

9. Among Board members, do not encourage: a) openness, b) respect for others' opinions, c) sharing of new ideas.

10. Never provide social opportunities for your Board. Don't even THINK about thanking them.

11. Do not share information with Board members before the meetings.

12. Don't bother with committees. Let the whole Board discuss everything to death.

13. When Board members question issues of policy or financial matters just tell them "it's under control" and "not to worry".

14. Never put anything in writing. They may think you mean it.

Hope you enjoy this Friday morning humor from CRC!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where in Colorado? For July

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph taken from Silver Pick Road near Telluride, Colorado (with Mount Wilson in the background). We had three almost-correct guess (winners, let us know who you are so you can win your prize!).

For this month's "Where in Colorado?" we are inviting guesses on a photo from a different part of Colorado.

The first person to correctly identify the location of this photo by posting it on our blog will receive a free copy of CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Start guessing!

Smart Strategies for Sustainability: Grant Fundraising

The realities facing the foundation community are stark. According to a recent Council on Foundations report, the foundation community in the United States lost $150 billion in assets during 2008, leaving total foundation assets around $530 billion. This decline is being felt in Colorado. At least a few community foundations across Colorado have or plan to entirely curtail their grantmaking. A number of private foundations have announced that they will not accept applications from organizations that they do not already fund. Others have not announced plans, but are faced with making decisions about what to do with endowments that lost up to half of their value. Yet, many of the nonprofits CRC serves have not changed their fundraising strategies in response to these realities, in part because they assume that they have special relationships with their funders that will insulate them from the cuts that others will face.

Relying on this assumption and thinking that your organization will be immune to these cuts and funding changes could significantly inhibit your ability to meet your mission if you do not have a strategy for replacing that funding. If your organization relies on foundation funding, consider these action steps to enhance your sustainability:

Stop thinking that special circumstances apply to your organization.
Assess whether or not your organization is relying on valid assumptions around foundation funding. For example, if you assume that funders who have always supported your programs will continue to do so, you may be basing your fundraising activities on invalid assumptions. Identifying and testing assumptions like these about your fundraising can help your organization is assessing the overall sustainability of your fundraising model and make the changes that are necessary to maintain your organization’s sustainability.

Stay up-to-date on how your funders may be changing their grantmaking.
If you have an established relationship with a funder, depend on that funding for sustainability, and have not heard from them about any changes to their giving for 2009, a visit to their website, a phone call, or an email could help you get valuable information about the vulnerability of your funding sources. Some will not be able to provide much information, but others will be able to give you an indication of their future direction and priorities. This kind of information can help you better anticipate how vulnerable a particular grant might be.

Then, considering this information from all of your funders can help you get an overall picture of the sustainability or vulnerability of your funding. For example, if seven of the ten foundations that support your organization will be cutting their funding next year, now is the time to consider how your organization will replace funding that could be reduced or cut entirely.

Consider contingency plans now.
Creating contingency plans now, when your organization is not faced with an unanticipated decline in funding, will help ensure that you make sound management decisions should something like the elimination of a major funding source actually happen. If your organization has not considered what it would do should a major funder not come through, now is the time to do so. Would you cut the program? Redirect funding from another source to preserve the program? Dip into your reserve?

Thinking about these decisions and scenarios now can increase your organization’s ability to think strategically instead of being forced to respond in a crisis situation and can also help you direct your fundraising efforts in the areas that are vulnerable.

Strengthen your case.
With a decline in available funding, the competition for that funding will only continue to increase. One essential activity for enhancing your fundraising effectiveness and sustainability, especially in the area of foundation funding, is ensuring that your grant applications are up-to-date and communicate a compelling case for support.

Here are some things to consider to strengthen your organization’s case for support:

· What is the effect of the economic downturn on those you serve? Communicating information about the impact of the economy on your organization (for example, focusing organizational resources on core programs) can be important information for funders. However, many funders are going to be more interested in how the economy is affecting those you serve. Is your organization seeing an increased demand for service? Changes in types of people accessing your services? If your organization does not serve people, these questions still apply. For example, if you provide services for domestic animals, have you seen increased demand or an increase in the number of people who cannot care for their animals? Answering these types of questions and providing this information help your organization strengthen the funder’s understanding of the need for the services or programs your organization provides.

· What impact does your organization have and what are the outcomes of your activities? Being able to communicate effectiveness and results is critical to strengthen your case for funding. If your organization does not measure determinants of effectiveness, now is the time to start tracking and gathering this information because funders will likely choose to fund programs that can demonstrate results and effectiveness over those that cannot.

Additionally, ensure that your applications are complete, provide all requested information, and are submitted, with any required reporting from previous funder grants, on time. Complying with these basic grantwriting best practices can help ensure that your application does not get removed from consideration for something minor. Then, strengthening your case by crafting compelling grant applications will help increase the competitiveness of your organization’s applications.

Don’t Wait For the Decline Letters to Start Showing Up to ActSome nonprofits may be insulated from declines in funding because they do, in fact, have special relationships with their funders. For most of us that depend on foundation funding, however, considering the impact of the potential decline in foundation funding and doing something about it – today - will help preserve our programming and our ability to achieve our organizations’ missions.

Written by Sarah Fischler, Interim Co-Director of the Community Resource Center

Have thoughts about this article? Please share them below.

Taking Leadership to New Heights

Every year, participants in CRC’s year long Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program are given the opportunity to take advantage of the Professional Leadership Course offered by the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. After returning from this year’s 4-day transformational experience, CRC’s leader, Kathy Bacon, Director of Dress For Success, gave the following account:

“So we are all supposed to go away for 4 whole days in the mountains for CRC’s Leadership and Management Program??? I have done these before – what could possibly be different this time? OK, I am going to fall – everyone just catch me. Been there done that. I looked at my workload and knew that it was going to be hard to walk away from all those loose ends. I also knew I made a promise to myself to see this commitment through and to explore the unknown personally and professionally. The work would be there no matter if I were staying or leaving. I also felt that I needed to form some closer professional ties with the other nonprofit leaders in the program so we could really share our experiences. I had no idea of the profound impact this experience would have on me!

What brought us together into CRC’s Leadership Program anyway? It seemed to be the passion of giving back to our communities unconditionally; the joy and the love that we have for others less fortunate than ourselves. Our journey led us to the organization we go to everyday and now we were stepping it up a notch to conquer what was in store at the BOEC. I was the first one there amazingly enough. That led me to a queen sized bed though- Yes! As everyone gradually arrived there was a growing excitement of seeing each other again. The hugs… the laughter… like we had been here before and we knew one another other well. The bond had begun.

Our days were filled with experiential teambuilding and problem solving activities, leadership initiatives, and fantastic food! We all pitched in to create a space to learn, to talk and to eat. We had thought-provoking sessions and exercises that forced us to reach out of our comfort zones. I never thought in a million years I would grow so much let alone learn everyone’s name.

When I heard we would be going to climb a rock face, I was scared. I had FEAR because I am afraid of heights. I watched as brave leaders started up the face of that rock. Everyone was so supportive toward each other. It made my heart stronger and I knew I had to at least try! I put on the rope and the helmet and hugged and kissed the rock at every step I took. I didn’t want to look down or back – only up and forward. In my mind I thought of all the things that had been so hard that I had overcome in my past. That climb, as crazy as it may sound, changed my being and it was as if everything that had seemed difficult before was only a faint memory. I could hear the voices below chanting my name and when I looked over I saw another leader coming down at the same time. We had done an exercise together the previous day. There was a connection. Tears came out of nowhere and I knew that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to doing. I could take success to a whole new level when I had a team to support me! That is what being a good leader is about. At that moment I knew why I was at the retreat.

I sat down at my desk at Dress for Success Denver upon my return and thought about those 4 days that I tried to make excuses about how I really didn’t need to go. My leader friends have made me a stronger leader just by knowing them. We now keep in touch on a regular basis by e-mail. I thought it would be important to all of us if we could think back to those days at the CRC retreat for one brief moment and know we have support! I am grateful that I fell and there was someone there to catch me. This was worth so much more than I could have imagined. After those 4 days I felt confident that in fact, I am an influential leader!”

CRC is accepting applications for the 2010 Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program. Please look on line www.crcamerica.org or call Carol Crawford for more information.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Up to Good - Guest Commentary from Jeff Pryor on Rural Philanthropy Days

By Jeff Pryor, Executive Director of the Anscutz Family Foundation

Rural Philanthropy Days is extraordinary event filled with people up to good. Not specific to a region, but common across Colorado - the people who work in the sector are stunningly impressive. For example, we had dine-arounds in Crested Butte and at my table were people who were involved in outreach effort to Native American Tribal lands, community theatre, youth leadership development, community center/cultural center, energy efficiency and sustainability.

As each of these organizations was, for not only did they represent unique missions, but also serving different communities in Western Colorado, they had much in common - an uncertain future, challenge to find the resources to sustain efforts and the desire to make a substantial difference. As the volunteers, board members of staff of these organizations strategize about improving sustainability, they begin to explore the concept of what they can do better together than they can do separately.

It was amazing to see the opportunity for exchange - of ideas, resources, facilities, introductions. Not a person left the table without some absolute benefit from the opportunity to reach out to compatriots in other organizations and in other locations.

Yet, with all of the energy assembled in the 400 people attending the event - and representing a vital resource to the state and each community involved, there still is a reason for the sector to be more engaging and speak with a stronger unified voice. For the sector represents approximately 8% of the states gross product, 6% of the workforce and generates over 13 billion in exposure and 1 billion in leveraged dollars from outside of Colorado - and if 400 people gathered for any other event, we'd see a sea of elected officials, press and other business leaders.

We must be more deliberate in sharing the value of the work of individual nonprofits and of the sector as a whole. Strengthening our abilities will result in strong organizations, more apt to manage challenging times and more able to attract resources. I am privileged to represent the Anschutz Family Foundation and work on behalf of many foundations who invest time, money and energy into Rural Philanthropy Days-- and I know that all of the foundations are impressed with the spirit of collaboration, the strength of conviction of individual leaders and the aggregate power that was assembled in the Gunnison Valley.

Our salute goes to the amazing steering committee and to the host of volunteers and supporters who made the record breaking event possible. As the Colorado Nonprofit Association works to advocate for the sector and the Community Resource Center continues its work to build organizational capacity, there is no doubt that the sector will gain in vibrancy and vitality.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rural Philanthropy Days: Helping Improve the Visibility of the Nonprofit Sector

Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days is underway and going very well! We have more than 400 attendees registered, which makes this our largest Rural Philanthropy Days event since we started hosting them in 1991. Also, for this event, about 60 funders representing about 35 grantmaking organizations are in attendance. This steering committee has certainly raised the bar.

Today’s agenda is focused on community problem-solving and promoting collaboration among nonprofit organizations. I sat in on the session on strengthening the nonprofit sector and promoting cross-sector collaborations. One of the participants shared that he believes that the local government in his community views nonprofits as pests because they are always asking for money.

This belief demonstrates a significant disconnect between nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. Nonprofit organizations provide essential services in nearly all communities across Colorado. Through our organizations, our work helps strengthen a community’s social fabric, provide critical human services, and meet other important and pressing community needs.

The idea that governments view nonprofits as pests communicates two things to me. First, nonprofit organizations need to strengthen their ability to demonstrate the impact that they have in a community to help communicate the essential nature and value of their service to governments. We need to rely on a fundraising case that communicates our effectiveness, impact, and efficiency in providing essential services and programs within our communities. Second, communities of nonprofit organizations could be far more effective in communicating the overall value of the nonprofit sector to local governments, especially since many governments are getting a heck of a bargain when they invest funding with nonprofits that fill the gaps that governments cannot.

This particular group is wrestling with finding some short-term solutions that could help raise the visibility and level of understanding with businesses and governments – I am interested to hear what they think up. Rural Philanthropy Days itself is a start in this process and we will keep you posted as our follow-up activities get underway.

On Yosemite and the Colorado Nonprofit Sector - They DO Relate!

For those of you that know me, you know that I am pretty comfortable speaking to groups. I frequently conduct trainings for CRC and facilitate meetings like board retreats on almost a weekly basis. Big groups, however, scare me. Thus, I have been a little nervous about opening the morning session at Rural Philanthropy Days this morning.

So, instead of trying to find something profound to say on my own, I decided to borrow a story that I recently heard. I think it is worth repeating here because it demonstrates one of the points I always stress when working with my nonprofit consulting clients and other community groups – collaboration is so much more than a buzzword – it is an essential strategy for nonprofit success and sustainability.

I recently got back from a vacation that included visits to some of the most beautiful places in the United States, including Yosemite National Park. I am fascinated with mountaineering and rock climbing, but my innate clumsiness means that I must live vicariously through others. While we were in Yosemite, I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by a renowned rock climber who has been climbing in Yosemite for more than 20 years. While I went for the stories about climbing, I left with a few lessons that are highly relevant for nonprofit organizations.

In recounting stories about the evolving way in which he sees the world, he mentioned that he would never have participated in something sponsored by the National Parks Service, like the lecture I was attending, even a few years ago. From his perspective, the National Parks Service interests could never align with the interests of the climbing community.

At some point, he realized that the climbing community in Yosemite could give up a little and get a lot more in return in terms of realizing their goals if they would work collaboratively with the National Parks Service. Learning to serve as a leader and as a catalyst for promoting this way of thinking among his fellow climbers has been a profound experience for this man, which says a lot for a man who has had a number of very profound experiences. While the relationship between the climbing community and the National Parks Service certainly is not perfect from his perspective, collaboration and working together to achieve some common goals has brought some significant results for both groups.

So, my message to the audience this morning focused on how each of us in attendance today could be a catalyst for promoting more effective collaboration and less duplication within the nonprofit sector – an essential strategy at this particular time in our sector’s history. We can often achieve more together than we can on our own, but we too often do not think beyond our organization’s own walls.

So, what can you do to serve as a catalyst for this kind of positive change within the nonprofit sector?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days is Underway!

Hello from Crested Butte!

Lauren and I are in Crested Butte, along with CRC Board members Amy McBride and Sophie Faust and about 400 of our closest nonprofit friends, for Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days. Lauren and I will be sharing our observations and insights from the event here, so stay tuned!

What is Rural Philanthropy Days, you ask? Every year, CRC works with local steering committees to plan two Rural Philanthropy Days events. This year, we will be hosting Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days in Crested Butte (this week) and Northwest Rural Philanthropy Days in Steamboat Springs from September 16 to 18.

At each event, nonprofit attendees have the opportunity to participate in capacity building sessions, engage in working sessions on advancing collaboration in their communities, and meet with funders to build relationships that could result in funding for their organization. If you want to learn more about Rural Philanthropy Days, please visit CRC’s website at www.crcamerica.org and stayed tuned to our blog for updates through the rest of the week.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Reading List: Evaluation

Want to learn more about how evaluation can help your organization? Check out these resources for some views on the topic.

Western Michigan University: Evaluation Glossaries

Western Michigan University: Deliberative Democratic Evaluation Checklist

OMNI Foundation: Pro Bono Evaluation Application Guidelines

University of Missouri Extension: Program Logic Model Overview

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation: The Logic Model Development Guide

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Designing Initiative Evaluation - A Systems-oriented Framework for Evaluating Social Change Efforts

Managementhelp.org: Basic Guide to Outcomes-Based Evaluation for Nonprofit Organizations with Very Limited Resources

Do you have a favorite online source for information about evaluation? Post it here!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where in Colorado? For June

Each month, we feature a photo taken during our travels around Colorado. Last month, we featured this photograph to start off with an easy one. We had five correct guesses, with Aaron Miller submitting the first correct answer. Aaron gets a free copy of CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

For this month's "Where in Colorado?" we are inviting guesses on a more challenging photo. Those of you who travel Colorado's backroads will have a distinct advantage this month. We will offer one hint - this image is from one of the counties in CRC's Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days region.

The first person to correctly identify the location (correct guesses can include the road from which the photo was taken, the name of the nearby trailhead, or the name of the tallest mountain in the photo) by posting the location on our blog will receive a free copy of CRC's toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Start guessing!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Whoo! What a day in Gunnison!

Howdy all! 

This is Lauren, btw, one of your resident bloggers for CRC. Sarah and I spent an awesome day in Gunnison today with Jeff Pryor of the Anschutz Family Foundation and about two dozen members of the Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days steering committee. 

It reminded me not only how JEALOUS I am of the scenery that Western Slope folks have in their backyard, but also how indefatigable the folks are themselves! Must be that pioneer spirit, or something. These are cracker-jack people out here, seriously -- do you want something done? Give it to a busy person -- preferably one who works for a nonprofit, and does about sixteen other things for their communities in the meantime. They'll deliver, seriously. This, so far, has been one of the best things I've seen about rural Colorado -- and I suspect it is true of rural communities across the country -- out of sheer necessity, everybody has to wear about thirteen hats and pitch in, or nothing will get done. I heart Colorado. (Not bad for an Indiana-born & Florida-raised emigrant, no?) 

I also love Colorado's abundance of microbrews, but that will be the subject of an upcoming quiz, so I shan't say any more here. Just keep your eyes -- and labels -- peeled. 

Before the Steering Committee met at the Aspinall-Wilson Center (WSC) to work on the RPD agenda and logistics, CRC and Jeff presented a three-hour training on WHY RURAL COLORADO MATTERS, and how to get the most out of the RPD experience... as well as what we have planned for follow-up. This year RPD will be different in that we don't intend to dismantle the relationships that have been built through this planning process -- the steering committee will remain 'intact' to work on bigger picture, long-term capacity and convening. 

There has been some chatter about engaging the local community foundations and maybe local rural United Ways in this kind of capacity building follow-on initiative too -- we'll keep you posted as things unfold. Has anybody out there in the cyber-world had any particular success partnering with these entities in rural communities? We've done some in the past, to be sure, but I am eager to hear any lessons from the 'field' before I dive into it. 

Tomorrow we're going to hit the Black Canyon before our 1pm afternoon RPD training at the Aquatic Center here in Montrose -- we're expecting 95 individuals!!! Must remember to bring my Nalgene this time, since apparently I talked myself into laryngeal oblivion today. Oh yes, and load up on more coffee beforehand. 

In Telluride tomorrow night for Wednesday morning training, then to Palisade for Wednesday night & Thursday AM training. Headed back home to Denver on Thursday. 

Later, taters. 

Friday, May 1, 2009

So, why should I care about Facebook? Choosing the Right Social Media and Web Tools for Your Organization

From CRC's May E-Line Newsletter:

For nonprofit organizations that are not already using social media and web-based communication tools, the reasons to embrace them are continuing to pile up. Now, the impact of the current economy is providing a strong incentive for many previously reluctant organizations to think about utilizing some of these tools. Choosing the right tools for your organization can mean cost-savings and increased effectiveness, and getting started now will mean that your organization will be able to stay current with today’s communication practices.

CRC’s work with a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations suggests that many organizations simply don’t know where to start with building their online presence. We’re here to help you get started with this introduction that will cover:

Key strategies for integrating social media and web-based communications:
· Complementing your existing website
· Consistency
· Relevance
· Appropriate to your audience
· Match tools to your organization’s goals and manage your expectations

Uses for social media and web-based communication tools within nonprofit organizations:
· Communications
· Building a movement or organizing
· Advocacy
· Programs
· Getting work done with staff, board members, and volunteers
· Fundraising

And, we provide a list of about 20 common social media and web-based communication tools to help you get started.

So, why should you care about Facebook and all the other social media tools?
Web-based communication tools and social media are changing the ways in which people access information, including how they interact with the nonprofit organizations they support or stumble upon online and might choose to support. With women over 55 comprising Facebook’s fastest growing demographic, it is clear that these tools are no longer just for tech-savvy digital natives.

If your organization is not utilizing these tools, you are likely missing opportunities to engage new constituents, build relationships with current constituents, communicate your message in new ways, and possibly raise money. In addition to having an up-to-date, functional website, nearly all nonprofits can benefit from using some of the tools discussed below to achieve their missions more effectively, or at least more efficiently.

First Things First
A functional, up-to-date, well-formatted website is the critical partner for many web-based communication tools and social media platforms. If your organization does not have a good website in place, creating one first is a good place to start. While some of the activities discussed below can be independent from your website, a good website will likely be your organization’s primary mechanism for communicating online and it should likely receive your attention first. Web-based communication and social media tools can be added to complement the information you have available on your organization’s website.

Key strategies
When identifying which social media and web-based communication tools your organization should use, you need to consider which tools will help your organization meet its goals instead of signing on to use a certain service because of its popularity (for example, micro-blogging service Twitter may be popular but it might not be right for your organization).

For CRC, we have considered four things in deciding which strategies to try and which tools to use:

Relevance: Web-based communication tools need to serve as mechanisms for communicating information that it relevant to our constituents. This may mean segmenting your communications between donors, volunteers, and other constituent groups to ensure that the information you are sending out is relevant to the person who is receiving it.

Consistency: Consistency is essential for effectively using social media tools, so only choose the tools that your organization can use consistently given its current capacity. A good example of a tool that can tax capacity is Twitter, which requires constant attention and participation to be effective. One you identify a strategy, stick with it and be consistent.

Appropriate to your audience: Consider which tools your audience already uses. For CRC, communicating about our programs and services using email marketing is a natural fit since most of our constituents engage with us in “nonprofit-to-nonprofit” relationship and frequently use email as part of their jobs. In terms of social networking for CRC, Facebook or LinkedIn are more natural fits than something like MySpace, primarily because they are both more professional forums. When I worked for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, their message boards were a highly popular mechanism for online communication because they allow women with breast cancer to engage in a supportive online community. Choosing the tools that are natural for your audience will increase your success.

Match the tools to your organization’s goals and manage your expectations: Don’t expect to raise $100,000 with Facebook – ever. If using social media as a fundraising tool is a primary goal for your organization, be realistic with your expectations and identify benchmarks to track your success. As with any other activities that allocate organizational resources (like staff time), you should establish some goals and benchmarks in advance to help track your progress and return on investment. For example, do you want to have 300 people on your e-newsletter list or drive people to your website? Do you want to raise more money? Spell out these expectations in advance and then monitor your progress.

For CRC, we have increased our use of email invitations to our events, have online registration capability through our website, and have created a blog and Facebook page. At this point, these strategies will help us meet our programmatic goals in a more cost-effective way, will help us demonstrate our statewide impact, and can be maintained in a consistent way with our current staff capacity. We have also selected strategies that will help us build our brand and promote our mission.

How Your Organizations Can Use These Tools
Nonprofit organizations use social media and web-based communication tools for six primary purposes:

Communications: Having a strong online presence is becoming an increasingly essential component of organizational success. Online presence now means a lot more than having a website for many organizations and can include things like integrating electronic communications through electronic newsletters, blogs, having a presence on social networking sites, and establishing more robust online giving portals. These communications are typically focused on engaging new constituents, deepening relationships with current constituents, driving donations, and communicating with clients or customers.

Building a movement or organizing: I attended the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network conference in Washington, DC last weekend and the event was a prime example of how web-based communication tools are being used to build a movement of young professionals within the nonprofit sector. A significant number of conference participants were live blogging, twittering, or posting updates about the conference on their Facebook pages in real time to virtually engage like-minded individuals across the country in the conversations that were taking place at the conference itself, with the goal of building momentum for the organization’s activities.

Other organizing activities using social media tools can achieve real-time results. A good example is the role Twitter recently played in uncovering a “glitch” at Amazon.com and creating an online uprising related to their re-categorization of books with GLBT themes as adult content. Nonprofits engaged in movement building and organizing could find success with these same tools.

Advocacy: For organizations engaged in formal advocacy and public policy activities, social media tools can significantly expand your organization’s reach through viral communications (encouraging people to share information which can cause its reach to grow exponentially). Services like CapWiz can help your organization send out legislative alerts, organize lobbying campaigns, and communicate your organization’s position on policy issues. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a good example of a large organization that is using social media and web-based communications to advance their policy positions. This type of approach can be replicated on a local level within smaller organizations using some low-cost tools and your organization’s existing website.

Programs: Many organizations successfully use social media tools to achieve programmatic goals in a number of ways, from using tools to make programs more efficient (like saving on postage by using online invitation and registration systems) to providing services or programming over the web. For example, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition uses YouTube videos to educate parents about the importance of vaccination. Social media and web-based communication tools can help organizations deliver services online, provide information and resources, and connect clients to the organizations from which they receive services.

Getting work done: CRC, for example, works with groups scattered across Colorado and uses some web-based communication tools to help us get work done. Web-based tools, like GoogleDocs or BaseCamp, can help people who are not co-located work collaboratively. Tools like BoardVantage and Board Effect help board members work more effectively by keeping track of projects, centralizing information, and helping them engage outside of board meetings. Online volunteer portals can help your organization advertise for and recruit volunteers. These activities can help streamline your organizations operations and help you work more effectively.

Fundraising: I have listed fundraising last on this list because it is often the first thing people within nonprofits think about when discussing social media, but it is often the most difficult to implement in terms of effectiveness. For most groups, focusing a lot of energy on fundraising through Facebook or other online social networks will be futile (see article about fundraising through Facebook). For most organizations, Facebook and other social media sites serve best as a communication platform that can help engage constituents, invite them to events, and keep them up-to-date on organizational activities.

Instead of focusing on social media as a fundraising tool, most nonprofits will benefit most from investing in an effective online donation system that will allow their current supporters to give online and will integrate with other efforts to get new supporters to give online. This kind of system can help increase gifts through setting up recurring donations or linking to donation opportunities after program impact stories in your online newsletter – things that will have a much higher return than setting up a cause on Facebook.

Some Common Web-Based Communication and Social Media Tools for Nonprofits:
Once your organization decides on a few strategies to test out using social media and web-based communication tools, you will need to link up with a service provider that matches your budget and needs. This list includes the most common tools used by nonprofits and most are free or low-cost. All can be easily found through a Google search.

· ConstantContact and ExactTarget (affordable e-newsletter services)
· Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Wordpress (free blog services)
· MicroPoll (free website poll service)
· E-vite (free online invitation and RSVP service)
· Social networking sites: Facebook (through groups and causes) and MySpace
· Twitter (microblogging)
· CapWiz (online advocacy tool)
· Civic Network and CollectiveX (online collaboration forums)
· Convio, Kintera, Blackbaud, e-Tapestry (integrated platforms)
· Google Checkout, PayPal, Network for Good, Acceptiva (online giving tools)
· YouTube (video-sharing) and Flickr (photo-sharing)
· LinkedIn (professional social networking)
· Reg Online (online registration system)
· BlackTie-Colorado.com (event portal)
· YahooGroups (free message boards)
· GoogleDocs, BaseCamp (project management and document sharing)
· Board Vantage and Board Effect (online board portals for improved governance)
· StumbleUpon and Delicious (social bookmarking)

To learn more about social media and web-based communication trends and tools, and read some differing views about the future of things like Twitter, check out some more resources here.

Written by Sarah Fischler, Interim Co-Director of CRC. Contact Sarah at fischler at crcamerica dot org or 303-623-1540, ext 27 to learn more about how CRC can help your organization integrate these tools to help you better achieve your mission. You can find her on Facebook or through CRC’s blog if you would like to continue this conversation.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Reading List: Social Media

Want to learn more about how social media and web-based communication is changing the nonprofit sector and how you can use these tools within your organization? Check out these resources for some varied views on this topic.

Giving Sector Should Invest In Social Media, From the Stanford Social Innovation Review

For Baby Boomers: The Joys of Facebook, From the New York Times

To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn't So Green, From the Washington Post

Nonprofit Social Network Survey Report, From Nonprofit Technology Network

All Twittered Out? From the New York Times

Engaging Younger Donors: A Toolkit for Success, From Community Shares of Colorado (good resources section)

Online Advocacy Case Study: From The Agitator philanthropy blog

Will email fundraising die?
From The Agitator philanthropy blog

Where in Colorado?

CRC is truly a statewide organization. In May alone, we will be in Alamosa, La Junta, Pueblo, Durango, Gunnison, Grand Junction (at least twice!), Fort Collins, Telluride, Palisade, Glenwood Springs, and Steamboat Springs.

We are going to start covering some of these trips on this blog, Around Colorado with CRC, because we learn something interesting about nonprofit management, best practices, or collaboration each time we hit the road and we want to share this information with our colleagues across Colorado.

We will also be featuring a monthly "Where in Colorado?" piece of trivia in our e-newsletter, the E-Line, based upon our recent travels. We are starting with an easy one (no cheating via Google). The first person to correctly identify the location of the photo (above) by posting the location below will receive a free copy of CRC's to-be-released toolkit, Fundraising: Essential Strategies for Fundraising Success During an Economic Downturn.

Any ideas?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Reading List

Interesting Articles and Resources from About Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Philanthropy's Information Revolution: "The Googlization of philanthropy is about organizing knowledge to allow for smarter giving by more people. Most important, the Googlization of philanthropy means that organizing the information will not be done by the information creators, but by third parties and — excitingly — the people who want to consume that information." From the Chronicle of Philanthropy via the Tactical Philanthropy Blog

Helping Themselves: "With fewer donations and declining investments, nonprofits are thinking creatively about cutting costs and raising revenue." From the Wall Street Journal

Giving Sector Needs to Adapt to the Economic Crisis: "Three new studies underscore the need for givers and nonprofits alike to change the way they operate." From the Stanford Social Innovation Review

Madoff Scandal Provides Painful Lesson in Board Investment Policymaking: "Nothing absolves the board from its single most important responsibility as a fiscally accountable body of trustees – that of acknowledging the responsibilities that come with being a beneficiary of the public trust." From BoardSource