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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: November 22 - 28, 2015

Website of the Week

Nonprofits Assistance Fund

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that fosters community development and vitality by building financially healthy nonprofits.  NAF provides financing for working capital, cash flow, equipment and facility projects with a focus on strengthening the operation and mission of nonprofits.  The organization also offers financial management workshops and advice that improve nonprofits’ capacity to carry out their mission. While the focus of the organization is on nonprofits in Minnesota, most of the resources will be of great use to other nonprofits. Go to: www.nonprofitsassistancefund.org

Publication of the Week

The Practitioner's Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards by Cathy A. Trower

From the publisher: The Practitioner's Guide to Governance as Leadership offers a resource that shows how to achieve excellence and peak performance in the boardroom by putting into practice the groundbreaking model that was introduced in the book, Governance as Leadership. This proven model of effective governance explores how to attain proficiency in three governance modes or mindsets: fiduciary, strategic, and generative. Throughout the book, author Cathy Trower offers an understanding of the Governance as Leadership model through a wealth of illustrative examples of high-performing nonprofit boards. She explores the challenges of implementing governance as leadership and suggests ideas for getting started and overcoming barriers to progress. The book includes concrete strategies that can help improve critical thinking in the boardroom, a board's overall performance as a team, as well as information for creating a strong governance culture and understanding what is required of an effective CEO and a chairperson. To determine a board's fitness and help the members move forward, the book contains three types of assessments: board members evaluate each other; individual board member assessments; and an overall team assessment. This practitioner's guide is written for nonprofit board members, chief executives, senior staff members, and anyone who wants to reflect on governance, discern how to govern better, and achieve higher performance in the process.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com

Trend of the Week

Growing Racial Disparity in Wealth

The Great Recession, fueled by the crises in the housing and financial markets, was universally hard on the net worth of American families. But even as the economic recovery has begun to mend asset prices, not all households have benefited alike, and wealth inequality has widened along racial and ethnic lines. The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010. The current gap between blacks and whites has reached its highest point since 1989, when whites had 17 times the wealth of black households. The current white-to-Hispanic wealth ratio has reached a level not seen since 2001. For more information, go to: www.pewresearch.org

Resource of the Week

Take Root: Volunteer Management Guide

Hands On Network has developed a guidebook on Volunteer Management that includes a new generation of volunteer engagement techniques tailored to today’s community service organization. These techniques make the Hands On Network training curriculum dynamic, innovative, impact oriented, and easily applicable to your program. This guidebook was developed to help national service programs explore the basics of volunteer management. It is meant to be a user-friendly resource for developing volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition strategies and methods of offering projects for diverse audiences. This guide does not prescribe how your programs should be structured; it does, however, provide resources you can adapt to meet your local program needs. The goal of this guidebook is to provide information that will help your program take root, leverage volunteers, and grow. To that end, the guidebook contains action-oriented sections to help you recruit, schedule, retain, and recognize volunteers. In addition, each chapter includes an activities and templates section with tools to assist you in applying the guidebook content to your program. To download the guide, go to: www.handsonnetwork.org

Tech Tip of the Week

Create Equations in Excel 2010

In Excel 2010 you can insert common mathematical equations into your worksheets or build your own equations with the new equation editing tools. Here’s how:


Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon


In the Symbols group, click the arrow next to Equation


Select from the equation gallery and the equation is inserted in a text box

To build your own equation:


Insert a text box (or shape)


Click to select the text box (or shape)


Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon


In the Symbols group, click Equation


The Equation Tools Design Ribbon is displayed


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Revised: November 23, 2015