Beyond Giving

In her first book, Forces for Good, Leslie Crutchfield and her co-author (Heather McLeod Grant) showed nonprofits how to increase the impact of their work. Now she has set her sights on the other side of the equation—philanthropists.

In the latest installment of our monthly podcast series for the Philanthropy News Digest, co-host Bill Silberg and I talked to Crutchfield about her recent book Do More than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World.

In the book, Crutchfield and her co-authors, John Kania and Mark Kramer, advocate for “catalytic philanthropy”—a somewhat radical approach that pushes foundations out of the comfortable world of making grants into the dynamic world of being agents of social change. The book offers six best practices from several foundations and philanthropists who have learned how to have a powerful impact. Read the rest of this entry »

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Radical Transparency in the World of Philanthropy?

Paging through the agenda in the lobby outside the Council on Foundations annual meeting earlier this month, one session jumped out at me. Media expert and blogger Jeff Jarvis leading a discussion about what constitutes the “radically transparent foundation” looked to be 90 minutes well spent.

In the session, Jarvis, who heads the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, argued that we face a choice as a society between private vs. “publicness.” Closed vs. open. Then, he produced a long list of ways organizations can benefit from choosing the public route:

  • create relationships
  • enable collaboration
  • build trust
  • disarm the myth of perfection
  • enable the wisdom of the crowd
  • grant immortality

The list went on, but those alone seem to weigh heavily toward the choice of publicness. Jarvis, who pens the popular Buzzmachine blog, offered two more reasons philanthropy should be moving in the direction of transparency and a more open grantmaking process: Read the rest of this entry »

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Harnessing Technology for Good

The most recent annual conference of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) drew over 2,000 attendees to Washington. That’s up from about 50 participants 10 years ago when the conference began, an amazing leap in interest. In the latest installment of our monthly podcast series for the Philanthropy News Digest, my colleague Bill Silberg and I talked to NTEN chief Holly Ross about how philanthropic organizations are harnessing technology to more effectively pursue their goals. You can listen to the podcast over at the Philanthropy News Digest’s site.

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Social Media in a Disaster

Shortly after the tsunami struck Japan on March 11, the American Red Cross‘ social media team faced a tsunami of its own.

The organization is typically mentioned more than 1,500 times a day online. When disaster strikes those numbers rise exponentially, as does the need to get information to the public and coordinate responses. I spent some time last week during the NTEN 2011 conference in Washington with Wendy Harman, social media manager at the Red Cross, to learn how the organization handles its social networking tools in a time of crisis. You can see the video interview over at the Philanthropy News Digest blog.

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Talking Philanthropy

A few months back, fellow consultant Bill Silberg and I began conversations with the smart people at the Foundation Center’s Philanthropy News Digest about creating a series of podcast conversations.

No question philanthropy is changing. Foundations are recognizing that they are more than grant makers. They are in the business of driving social change. They are increasingly understanding that communicating the “stories” of their work can be as important as the work itself. Through social media, they are beginning to open their typically closed processes and engage with the field in ways that help them drive change.

Seems like a series of interviews with the people who are driving the change could go a long way toward helping us all understand where the sector is headed. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Four-Step Plan to Building a Social Media Dashboard

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Lewis Carroll

A few years back, I presented a preliminary dashboard measuring Web activity to an advisory group at the organization where I was working. This was a smart, perceptive and knowledgeable team. I expected lots of questions and some insightful discussion around the conference table where we met late on that cold afternoon. What I didn’t expect was to walk out with a list of indicators three times as long as the one I walked in with. Every metric I posed led to suggestions for more. The suggestions shot off in a thousand directions. By the time the sun had set outside (and in the room), I had learned a painful lesson. While the metrics may vary, there is a logical process to follow that will make creating a dashboard easier. So, to help you avoid similar pain, here is my four-step, never-fail plan to building a social media dashboard. (Your metrics may differ, but the process should work.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Producing Spicy Success on Facebook

Heard a great presentation this morning from an organization that has achieved surprising success on Facebook. It came from Buffalo Wild Wings, a restaurant chain that is gaining recognition on the social network far beyond its position in the industry.

The restaurant’s success is a lesson in thoughtful and strategic use of social media that translates nicely to the nonprofit world. Paul Freher, director of media at Buffalo Wild Wings, and Brandon Murphy, chief strategy director at the agency they work with, 22squared, offered insight into how they have accumulated their 3.5 million Facebook “likes” (fans). I’ve pulled out eight of the lessons that are particularly helpful for nonprofits and added some thoughts of my own. Read the rest of this entry »

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