The Chronicle of Philanthropy, is, as they say, “the newspaper for the non-profit community”, and this week had lots of good stuff. Much of their good material is behind a pay wall, like their commentary analyzing the Acorn scandal. Fortunately, the text was reprinted in the Huffington Post.
The attack on Acorn is not really about a few bogus names on voter forms or about a few staff members providing advice to a phony prostitute with a video camera. Rather, it is part of a broader conservative effort to attack progressive organizations (including labor unions, environmental groups, activist religious organizations, and community organizers).
The attacks on Acorn began years ago. Its corporate enemies paid a Washington public-relations firm to create the web site RottenAcorn.com, where many of the attacks on Acorn were first rehearsed. Then the right-wing echo chamber orchestrated its war on Acorn, and the mainstream news media joined the chorus.
Other articles include discussions of Twitter and social networking, and several pieces about how non-profits are fairing in the recession. (not good).
Chronicle of Philanthropy Offices Taken Over By Space Aliens!
Editor’s Neurons Replaced by Sponge-like Substance!
The major theme this week in the Chronicle of Philanthropy addresses the economic crisis and how it will affect non-profits and fundraising.
Also a profile and interview with, um, Newt Gingrich, who appears to be fully rehabilitated, at least among conservatives. His opinion on AmeriCorps:
I think it’s [AmeriCorps] is part of the banality of the bureaucracy. If you go and interview the AmeriCorps people, they’re all well-meaning, they all love what they’re doing, and you say to yourself, explain to me why the government is paying for this? Because it’s not volunteerism. If you get paid for it, it’s a job. It may be a low-paying job, but it’s a job
The banality of the bureaucracy. Good one. How about this?
My disbelief in something good and constructive coming out of Washington bureaucracy and Capitol Hill is so deep right now that, until they get their own act together and figure out how to reform their own systems, I don’t think they should look very much at anybody else. This city is a disaster and it’s getting worse every year.
Of course, Gingrich and his friends are the architects of the Washington mess. Personally, I couldn’t bear it, but there is an online audio version of the interview. If you don’t like that one there is an interview with Ashley Judd on the same page.
Hiring and Firing are major themes in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week as a story starting on page 11 discusses the tightening market for senior fund-raisers. Seems counterintuitive.
Also a nice article about recruiting younger workers. This points to an online report from the Project Roundtable on Nonprofit Recruitment and Retention.
Not in the paper this week, but of interest in our local news are the problems that Fort Ticonderoga is having with the abrupt departure of a major funder. Here’s a link at the Plattsburgh NY Press-Republican.
The Non-Profit Quarterly has been out for several weeks. Although most on-line articles are for subscribers only, they publish a summary sheet of the issue’s articles.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s May 1 issue has been published. Haven’t gotten very far, but there was an interesting review of Oprah Winfrey’s Big Give program, which sounds like a version of Survivor:Philanthropist. Hey, whatever works, right?
Lots of technology news in the Chron this week, but much of the good stuff is behind the paywall, which may make it worth it to spring for the $42.50 or so for a subscription. They have put out their 2008 Technology Guide, which includes the following articles:
CHARITIES ARE SETTING UP DONATION KIOSKS that work like automated teller machines to accept credit or debit cards. In the future, the machines might be used to connect people who want to help charities in ways other than giving money. But experts say charities have to be careful to use the kiosks in a tasteful manner. “You don’t want to put these kiosks out there like a shameless electronic hand,” says one consultant to charities and other organizations.
FACEBOOK, the popular social-networking site, is allowing nonprofit groups and companies to develop new technology tools to reach out to its 58 million members. More than 45,000 charity efforts are now under way on the site, experts estimate.
INTERNET-BASED TELEPHONE SYSTEMS are making it cheaper for nonprofit officials to make calls when they are working overseas, and greatly lowering the cost of videoconferences. In addition, the systems are aiding charities in grass-roots advocacy efforts and enabling them to send text messages and exchange files of information for far less money than before.
THE NONPROFIT TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE, set for New Orleans in March, will feature such topics as using mobile phones and Web-based social networks for raising money and communicating with supporters.
A NEW WEB SITE aims to reduce the volume of direct-mail catalogs that go out to consumers by helping people “opt out” of companies’ mailing lists.
VIDEO AND OTHER MEDIA PROJECTS supported by the Open Society Institute to document the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have been brought together on a new Web site.
Hmm..if you are ever wondering what to do to with a Trixbox…
Community Voice Mail is a service that provides free phone numbers and voice mail boxes to clients without reliable access to a telephone.
Their phone may have been cut off; they may live in a group shelter; they may be fleeing domestic violence. For many poor, homeless, or otherwise needy people, the privacy afforded by a personal voice mailbox is an impossible luxury.
CVM is a hosted service which is run out of their national office in Seattle. They reserve blocks of phone numbers in their host cities. Local programs are hosted by an existing social-service agency or program, who must provide one FTE person as staff.
From the CVM web site:
The CVM Model
Each CVM site around the United States is hosted by one main social or health service agency (“Host Agency”) which is responsible for funding and managing the CVM service for the whole city/community. The host agency gives out the voicemail boxes to other participating agencies who then give them to the end users/clients. The key to the program is the fact that clients receive a local telephone number at which to receive messages from potential employers, landlords and others –and case workers can utilize CVM to stay in contact with their clients, doubling the impact of the service.
Another fine article…hidden behind the “premium” firewall at the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Lately the Chronicle of Philanthropy hasn’t had a whole lot of new things about technology…but this week they discuss non-profits who are getting involved in projects to mitigate the problem of global warming. There is a very interesting article about Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Lovins has been pushing a “Hypercar” design (over 100 mpg) for years.
Perhaps the biggest effect that Amory Lovins and his colleagues at RMI have had on the auto industry has less to do with specific technology and more to do with showing potential opportunities that can be derived from thinking differently about how cars are designed and engineered.
Lovins has his detractors.
Unfortunately this article is behind a registration block. Hey Chron!, the New York Times dropped their paid system, why can’t you? This week’s issue is too good to be restricted to the break room of the alumni development office, lost among the sections of yesterday’s WSJ.
Technology-related articles in this week’s Chronicle of Philanthropy
Google Offers Charities Free Software, Help
This article describes Google Apps, which are the Google Mail, Google Docs (word processing) and Google Spreadsheets.
Google Apps, which will be free t nonprofit organizations in the United States, includes e-mail and calendar programs, Internet-based telephone and text-messaging services, and word-processing, spreadsheet, and Web-publishing applications.
More at www.google.com/a/npo.
FCC Offers Educational Radio Licenses
For the first time in even years, the Federal Communications Commisssion in mid-October will accept applicaitons for new, full-power stations used for non-commercial, educational purposes.
More at http://radioforpeople.org
Seen in the Chron….
Hewlett-Packardis accepting applicaitons for a program that provides cash, laptop computres and other equipment to non-profit orgnaizations that help low-income entrepeneurs build and expand small businesses in the United States. Deadline for grant applicaitons is June 5.
Also, there was a very interesting article about volunteers; Charities Face Trouble Keeping Volunteers and Attracting New Ones, Study Finds. An excerpt:
The Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, in Columbus, Ohio, recently released a survey that reinforces the Corporation for National and Community Service’s findings about volunteers dropping out.
The Nationwide survey, based on online interviews with 462 adults, found that 57 percent of respondents do not plan to increase their volunteerism over the next year.
Moreover, 42 percent of people who don’t volunteer say it isn’t a lack of interest that prevents them from donating their time, but rather difficulty finding opportunities where they feel they can make a difference, use their skills, or act on personal values.
The full survey is available online.
Well, actually, it is Chron Last Week… I’ve not been keeping current..there are still a few more Chrons in the pile on my desk.
But in the April 19th issue, there is a nice short article about network neutrality.
Proponents of so-called network neutrality argue that all data traveling over the Internet should be treated the same way, no matter which companies’ networks deliver it. They say phone and cable companies should not offer better service–faster speeds or dominant Web placement, for example–to companies that they are affiliated with or that are willing to pay extra. Many communications companies, however, argue that a federal law requiring network neutrality would impede their ability to attract financial investors for expansion of Internet services.
They cite a web address which outlines the case for network neutrality and another web site which opposes network neutrality.