ICYMI: Last Week’s Nonprofit News, Today | Mar. 10

What we were reading about over the past week: nonprofit response to International Women’s Day and the Oscars, food deserts in the metro Atlanta area, Indiana’s NCAA-inspired fundraising campaign, DIY data visualization, the unexpected power of direct-mail appeals, lessons from GCN’s own strategic planning member event, and more—including seven TED talks to guide your social media strategy.   

HEADLINES

International Women’s Day as Told by 5 Women’s Organizations
(StayClassy)
Saturday was International Women’s Day, which for over 100 years has been a celebration of and call-to-action for rights, equal access, and a better quality of life for women and girls across the globe. Here’s how five groups, including newcomer the Malala Fund, told the story of women’s rights on IWD 2014.

 

GEORGIA

Stranded in Atlanta’s Food Deserts
(Atlanta)
Atlanta magazine’s March issue features an in-depth look at food insecurity around the metro area, focusing on the struggles experienced by low-income seniors in-town, the continuing success of a dedicated grocer in the neglected neighborhood of Bankhead, and the city’s efforts to encourage better access to fresh food. For a brief look at the stats, check out their accompanying food desert map; there’s also an enlightening account from author Rebecca Burns about taking the Food Stamp Challenge (eating on $34 a week) with her husband.

 

FUNDRAISING

March Madness for Giving: Making Nonprofits Compete for Gifts
(Co.Exist / Fast Company)
Two Indianapolis residents combined their love of college basketball and community service by creating Brackets for Good, a tournament-style giving campaign that pits nonprofits against each other to compete (good-naturedly, of course) for the most funds raised. The “gamified giving” concept raised $85,000 for 16 charities last year, and this year hopes to pull in $500,000 for a full roster of 64 Indiana nonprofits.   

 

INNOVATION

Nonprofits Should Lead the Sharing Economy 
(Stanford Social Innovation Review)
The “sharing economy” is a phenomenon arising from hard economic times and the information revolution, but also reflects a shift in cultural values away from profit-driven motives, toward a more inclusive sense of common community resources. Social sector scholar Erin Gore argues that nonprofits should be at the forefront of this movement, giving you a few ways to get started and some developments to watch out for.

 

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Five Organizations that Newsjacked Facebook During the Oscars
(John Haydon)
The Academy Awards took place last Sunday, and the Nonprofit Facebook Guy provides a few lessons in “newsjacking” thanks to the creative efforts of nonprofits getting in on the Oscar buzz, including Habitat for Humanity (with a “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign) and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (name-dropping its Oscar-nominated celebrity connections).

How I Would Evaluate Your Email Newsletter
(Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog)
Kivi Leroux-Miller has a handy checklist for making sure your e-newsletter is in top shape, organized under three guiding principles: being reader-centered, brief, and easy on the eyes.

Do-It-Yourself Data Visualization Tools for Nonprofits
(Markets for Good)
Beth Kanter presents three ways to make easy-to-understand charts and infographics out of your data sets, using some fairly ubiquitous software—including good old Excel. With plenty of links, examples, and a slideshow on “How to Fool Excel into Making (Pretty Much) Any Type of Chart You Want,” it’s a resource you’ll want to bookmark.

Seven Inspiring TED Talks to Rejuvenate Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Strategy
(Inbound Hub / HubSpot)
Everyone loves a TED Talk—those short but insightful lectures that often illuminate startling innovation in the worlds of “Technology, Entertainment, and Design.” Here, HubSpot puts together a list of talks on social media from thought leaders you’ll recognize from their national profile (Seth Godin, Beth Kanter) and from GCN’s own work (Julie Dixon). And because they all clock in at under 20 minutes, any one of them makes for a perfect coffee-break discovery.

Using Business Savvy to Help Good Causes
(Time)
As part of their series on “10 Ideas That Will Change the World,” Time magazine profiles the success of Smile Train, a global nonprofit that raised $91 million in 2009 for cleft palate surgeries. Smile Train’s unlikely secret weapon? Direct mail appeals—and the reams of data they’ve collected to optimize and scale their efforts.

 

PHILANTHROPY

Foundations can Rewrite History by Focusing on the States
(Nonprofit Quarterly)
The CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits presents an argument for philanthropists to get involved at the state level, where the active threats to nonprofit funding models are still in play (while federal bills affecting the sector are basically DOA, especially in today’s deadlocked Washington environment).

Success in Impact Investing Through Policy Symbiosis
(Huffington Post)
A just-completed two-year study of 12 impact investment funds finds that “active government involvement” played a critical role in their success.

 

STRATEGIC PLANNING

What Does Grant Writing Have in Common with Your Strategic Plan? Everything
(Nonprofit Media Solutions)
If you weren’t able to make it, this post draws five practical grant-writing lessons from last week’s GCN member event, “Sharpening Your Strategic Advantage,” in which Executive Vice President Chris Allers explained what funders are looking for in your organization’s strategic plan.

 

ON GCN.ORG

Funding and Resource Opportunities: March 2014
(GCN)
Help your development team spring forward with our roundup of the top grant opportunities in March and April, including opportunities from the Department of Community Affairs, Autism Speaks, the American Psychological Foundation, and more.

New Research Offers Overview of Government Funding Initiatives for Georgia Vets 
(GCN)
A new report from The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta paints a full-system picture of available benefits that provides immediate and useful insight for nonprofits that serve veterans and their families.

To Serve, to Work, to Join, to Learn
(GCN)
What motivates people to serve on nonprofit boards? Taken from our Winter 2014 Georgia Nonprofit NOW feature article, we take a look at new GCN research revealing the top ten reasons people decide to join nonprofit boards.

Community Change Begins with the Heart
(GCN)
Expert community builder Jon Abercrombie, director of Common Focus and founder of Charis Community Housing, offers insight into how organizations can better include the community’s ongoing participation throughout the planning process.

GCN Celebrates Corporate Community at Annual Breakfast
(GCN)
More than 100 corporate and foundation leaders gathered Wednesday morning for GCN’s annual Corporate Community Breakfast, where we stop to thank our network for their time, treasure, and talent while opening their eyes to the opportunity for deeper, more powerful partnerships.

GCN News and Highlights: March 6
(GCN)
From expanding Momentum to four new cities to all our latest staff in departmental news, read about how GCN is working for you and our sector.

Marc Schultz is contributing editor at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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