ICYMI: Last Week's Nonprofit News, Today | June 30

This week: too much charity overlap in the UK, a new philanthropy for Atlanta’s westside, the secrets of the “soft launch,” a nonprofit perspective on “disruptive innovation,” how to make great decisions as a group, what new media does (and doesn’t do) for nonprofit visibility, and a shared workspace in Boston bringing disparate nonprofits together. Plus: tips and tricks for discovering your content’s readability, sprucing up visual content, making an effective plea for kids in need, and more.

HEADLINES

There are too many charities doing the same work, claims Charity Commission chief executive
(The Independent UK)
The head of the UK’s Charity Commission is stepping down after four years, and he’s warning that too many nonprofits doing the same work “risk wasting the money they are given for good causes. ...Bereaved military families who rush to set up a charity after losing their loved ones in war were an example of people who should think twice before acting.”

 

GEORGIA

Reed: Business community to form Westside philanthropic nonprofit
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Mayor Reed announces that a group of businesses are planning a development-focused nonprofit to support communitites near the new Falcons stadium. “Reed said the planned nonprofit — tentatively called the Westside Future Fund — will raise private dollars to support other nonprofits and city agencies’ efforts. …[The fund] would be modeled after the Atlanta Beltline Partnership, a 501(c)3 that raises funds from private donors to help build out the Atlanta Beltline greenspace project.”

 

FUNDRAISING

The Easy First Step to Launching Your Successful Campaign
(StayClassy)

“Rather than fully publicizing your campaign from the get-go, you can increase your overall chances of success by splitting the beginning of your campaign into two phases: a soft launch and a hard launch.” Lots of how-tos (and whys) in this guide to starting off a fundraising campaign on the right foot.

The 14th Issue of NTEN: Change is Out — Fundraising in the Digital Age
(NTEN)

A tip-filled new edition of NTEN’s monthly online magazine is now available, and the theme is fundraising: “From Bitcoin, to crowdfunding, to the tricky discussion about overhead—articles cover some of the latest topics in digital fundraising, and opportunities for nonprofits.”    

 

INNOVATION

Disruptive Innovation: Where It Matters Most
(Stanford Social Innovation Review)
The nonprofit point-of-view on innovation, part of a recent back-and-forth on opinion pages that began with Jill Lepore in the New Yorker: “Disrupting the cycle of entrenched poverty and poor health can tip the world on its axis. And innovation has the ability to drive massive improvements in the health and well-being of children, communities, and countries.”

 

LEADERSHIP/MANAGEMENT

How Groups Make Great Decisions
(Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Resources, tips, hows, and whys, in this look at one organization’s efforts to implement a deliberate, all-inclusive decision making process. “Unfortunately, we often rely on default modes of brainstorming and communication, diving in without a clear plan. These methods rarely bring out the best in participants.”

Stop the Pettiness and Do the Work!
(Veritus Group)
A plea to nix the office politics and focus on getting the job done: “Richard and I have witnessed terrible behavior in too many development and fundraising departments – jealousy, a high-level of office politics, envy, gossip, innuendo, and just plain meanness among staff. In development shops across the country, this type of stuff is happening, and it’s rotting the core of non-profits.”

 

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

Pro Tip: Check How Easy Your Text Is to Read in Word
(Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog)

“Your average supporter can be college educated and have a great grasp on the English language, but she probably still doesn’t want to think too hard when reading about your organization.” How to get your readability scores using a Microsoft Word feature.

New media, old problems in human rights
(Monkey Cage / The Washington Post)

“In a recently published paper, we argue that the new media may actually represent a more challenging environment for most NGOs in which to be heard. Despite the easy ability to communicate with global audiences they provide, the new media fail to resolve an old problem: the scarcity of attention.” Two researchers examine the pitfalls, and a few advantages, that the new media landscape brings to nonprofit causes, largely from an international perspective.

How One Association Solved the Email Frequency Debate with Testing
(Informz)

In this interview, a nonprofit details the research that went into their decision to change the format and frequency of their email newsletter to better serve stakeholders: “We believed that for magazine newsletters, increasing our email frequency might be the right approach. To test our assumption, we decided to ask our readers what they wanted and monitor their behavior.”   

8 Tools to Make You a Visual Content Ninja
(John Haydon)
“If you manage social media for a nonprofit, you realize that creating visual content is becoming a bigger part of your job. You’re creating more visual content than ever before, and it has to look exceptional! That’s a lot of pressure for someone who didn’t go to art school.” A list of resources for easy image editing, no matter what channel you’re working through: Facebook, a newsletter, infographics, and more.

How to Design an Effective Plea for Donations
(Pacific Standard)
If your appeal involves children in need, two new studies say your appeal should feature an image with a single, less-than-photogenic child. “[Researchers] provide evidence that a single victim produces maximum empathy, and that we tend to believe beautiful people can fend for themselves—an unconscious assumption we even apply to minors.”

 

PARTNERSHIPS

Boston nonprofit hub sparks collaboration through shared work space
(Humanosphere)
The Next Mile Project is a collaborative workspace and incubator for nonprofits, started by a law firm that wants to put its money to use for social good: “Nonprofits work in the Next Mile Project space for as little as $150 per person per month. What they get is more formal support, like weekly speakers, wifi, a printer (at no cost to use) and the ability to work alongside some of the city’s best and brightest.”

 

ON GCN.ORG

Field Trips 2014
(GCN)

GCN announces our inaugural round of nonprofit Field Trips: this September, join us for a new kind of learning experience as we move out of the office and into the field to experience strategy in action.

 

Marc Schultz is writer/editor at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and managing editor for Georgia Nonprofit NOW.

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