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This site is updated regularly. Check here to see what's been added.  The Picks of the Week is the only nonprofit capacity building resource of its kind on the Web, offering recommendations in the following categories: Cool Websites, Publications, Key Trends, Useful Resources, and Tech Tips. Published weekly since 2004, the Picks of the Week are updated each Monday. To check out the full archive, go to: Picks Archives.

Picks of the Week: October 4 - 10, 2015

Website of the Week

National Center on Philanthropy and the Law

The National Center on Philanthropy and the Law (NCPL) was established in 1988 at New York University School of Law to explore a broad range of legal issues affecting the nation's nonprofit sector and to provide an integrated examination of the legal doctrines related to the activities of charitable organizations. The NCPL's goals of increasing the knowledge of students, faculty, scholars, attorneys, and nonprofit organizations worldwide in the area of law and philanthropy and improving the practice of law in this field are realized through the following eight core activities: Curriculum, Scholarly Research, Conferences, Library Collection, Bibliography, Fellowships, Career Counseling, and Faculty Development. The NCPL is developing a unified field of study that provides central focus and leadership to curriculum development, scholarly research, conferences, and career development in the nonprofit sector. This approach is intended to add to and improve the overall quality of education and scholarship among law students, legal scholars, nonprofit organizations, practicing attorneys, judges, executives, administrators, and other professionals in the field. Go to: www1.law.nyu.edu

Publication of the Week

State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability by The Worldwatch Institute

From the publisher: Citizens expect their governments to lead on sustainability. But from largely disappointing international conferences like Rio II to the U.S.’s failure to pass meaningful climate legislation, governments’ progress has been lackluster. That’s not to say leadership is absent; it just often comes from the bottom up rather than the top down. Action—on climate, species loss, inequity, and other sustainability crises—is being driven by local, people’s, women’s, and grassroots movements around the world, often in opposition to the agendas pursued by governments and big corporations. These diverse efforts are the subject of the latest volume in the Worldwatch Institute’s highly regarded State of the World series. The 2014 edition, marking the Institute’s 40th anniversary, examines both barriers to responsible political and economic governance as well as gridlock-shattering new ideas. The authors analyze a variety of trends and proposals, including regional and local climate initiatives, the rise of benefit corporations and worker-owned firms, the need for energy democracy, the Internet’s impact on sustainability, and the importance of eco-literacy. A consistent thread throughout the book is that informed and engaged citizens are key to better governance. The book is a clear-eyed yet ultimately optimistic assessment of citizens’ ability to govern for sustainability. By highlighting both obstacles and opportunities, State of the World 2014 shows how to effect change within and beyond the halls of government. This volume will be especially useful for policymakers, environmental nonprofits, students of environmental studies, sustainability, or economics—and citizens looking to jumpstart significant change around the world.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com

Trend of the Week

Internet Campaigns Motivate Users To Respond To Humanitarian Crises

Online campaigns about humanitarian crises need to be more surprising if they are to successfully engage the public, according to a researcher from the University of East Anglia. Research by Dr Martin Scott, published in the journal International Communication Gazette, aimed to explore why British citizens respond to some online campaigns and communications concerning overseas crises and not others. It is often suggested that the internet promotes greater understanding of humanitarian crises and encourages people to become more involved through forums and social media and by signing online petitions, making ethical purchases and donating money. However, this new research identified a number of key reasons people give for not responding to campaigns or actively seeking out more information. These include the time needed to find and search through material online and a lack of trust in sources such as governments and charities. Information from most non-news sources -- including blogs and social media -- was frequently rejected by many in the study for being inaccurate or biased. However, participants reacted more much more positively to campaigns and information from organizations they did not recognize, such as Charity Navigator -- which helps people make decisions about how and where they donate their money -- Poverty.com and the Overseas Development Institute, compared to well-known charities like Oxfam, Christian Aid and Save the Children. Study authors suggest that audiences have become accustomed to, and are often dismissive of, traditional campaigns and appeals. Go to: www.sciencedaily.com

Resource of the Week

Growing Network Impact: How Nonprofit Networks are Raising the Bar on Results

YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity. What these household names have in common is that they all work through a network structure, with multiple affiliates across the country striving for significant impact in the communities in which they operate. For decades, the primary pressure facing networks was to build a bigger footprint—be in more places, serve more people. Now, that pressure is being equaled by another: to get better. Networks, with multiple sites often operating similar programs, are increasingly expected to provide donors and supporters with a higher level of evidence that their work is effective and delivered consistently across the board. While such an “outcomes” orientation isn’t new, its effect on the sector has been magnified, in part because of the difficult economy. Bridgespan has seen several networks take promising steps to deliver measurably better results in achieving their missions. At these organizations, staff members from the central office are working collaboratively with affiliate leaders to improve the way in which their network’s high-level strategy translates into action across the entire organization. They’re figuring out where their best work is being done, finding ways to become more effective, and learning how to ensure that all affiliates benefit from the experiences and know-how of their peers. This resource focuses primarily on two kinds of networks—federated and associated networks. Both are collections of independent 501(c)(3)s, whose affiliates focus on similar activities and services. But whereas federated networks (such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or the Boys and Girls Clubs of America) offer mostly standardized program models, associated networks (such as the Land Trust Alliance or Public Education Network) allow for a more varied set of program models. To download the publication, go to: www.bridgespan.org

Tech Tip of the Week

Add a Watermark to a Word 2007/2010 Document

Watermarks are text or pictures that appear behind the text. They can add interest or identify the document's status, marking a document as a draft, for example. You can use graphics or text as watermarks.


Open a new, blank document, or open an existing document.


Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon


In the Page Background group, click Watermark


Click a design in the gallery or create a custom watermark


Select the Picture, if you are creating a Picture watermark


Enter the Text, if you are creating a Text watermark


Use Print Layout view to view a watermark as it will print

The watermark displays on the background of each page.

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Revised: October 5, 2015