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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: August 30 - September 5, 2015

Website of the Week

Stand for Your Mission

The Stand for Your Mission Campaign, initiated by BoardSource seeks to unleash the full potential of the nonprofit sector to create positive impact by engaging board leaders more directly in the advocacy work of their organizations. The Campaign was launched together with the Alliance for Justice, the Campion Foundation, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Council of Nonprofits.  There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. The sector employs more than 10% of the American workforce and represent roughly $1.65 trillion in annual revenues. And nonprofits have an estimated 20 million individuals leading organizations who are among the most influential, dedicated and connected leaders: Our board members. Advocacy is a powerful lever for real impact, but — according to BoardSource’s Leading with Intent report — only 33% of organizations report that their board members are actively involved in advocating for their missions.  And many organizations aren’t advocating at all. For more information about this exciting and important initiative, go to: standforyourmission.org

Publication of the Week

The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Decisions by Steve Zimmerman  and Jeanne Bell - 2015 Winner of the McAdams Book Award

From the publisher: Nonprofit sustainability lies at the intersection of exceptional impact and financial viability. The Sustainability Mindset offers nonprofit professionals and board members a step-by-step guide to move your organization towards this intersection. As outlined in the bestselling book Nonprofit Sustainability, "The Matrix Map" is an accessible framework that combines financial and programmatic goals into an integrated strategy. In this next-step resource, the authors detail a rigorous process to develop a meaningful Matrix Map and engage leadership in setting an organization's strategy. Nonprofits that thrive in today's environment are adaptable with a clear understanding of their impact and business model. This book offers nonprofit boards and staff a framework to do so. Drawing on their in-depth experience, the authors provide an easy-to-follow process complete with tools and templates to help organizations visualize their business model and engage in strategic inquiry. The book provides a variety of illustrative examples to show how the Matrix Map works for all types of organizations. Nonprofit executives and board member are sure to benefit from The Matrix Map analysis.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com

Trend of the Week

American Attitudes About Poverty

The Center for American Progress has published "50 Years After LBJ’s War on Poverty -- A Study of American Attitudes About Work, Economic Opportunity, and the Social Safety Net". Here are the most important findings from the research:

bullet One-quarter to one-third of Americans—and even higher percentages of Millennials and people of color—continue to experience direct economic hardship…
bullet A majority of Americans have a direct personal connection to poverty…
bullet Americans vastly overestimate the annual income necessary to be officially considered poor…
bullet Americans now believe that nearly 40 percent of their fellow citizens are living in poverty.
bullet Americans strongly believe that poverty is primarily the result of a failed economy rather than the result of personal decisions and lack of effort…
bullet Despite mixed feelings about the original War on Poverty, there is strong support for a more realistic goal of reducing poverty by half over the next 10 years…
bullet The public is clear about its priorities for reducing poverty: jobs, wages, and education…

Americans also express very strong support for a number of policies to help reduce poverty rates, particularly with jobs, wages, and education but also on more traditional safety net items. According to the authors, policymakers should feel confident that the American public will support efforts to expand economic opportunity, increase access to good jobs and wages, and maintain a robust social safety net. Harsh negative attitudes about the poor that seemingly defined political discussions throughout the 1980s and 1990s have given way to public recognition that many Americans—poor and middle class alike—are facing many pressures trying to stay afloat and get ahead in the difficult economic environment. Supporters of anti-poverty efforts should not be complacent in their efforts, however, and should recognize that although Americans back government action to reduce poverty, questions remain about the structure and scope of these efforts and how effective they have been over time. To download the report, go to: cdn.americanprogress.org

Resource of the Week

Systems Thinking Resources

Linda Booth Sweeney, a systems educator and writer, has developed a website that offers a number of excellent resources on systems thinking and its application to organizational and community problem solving. Linda translates the concepts of complex systems theory into accessible materials and seminars for innovation in organizations, schools and communities. She is also the author of several books and numerous articles. Go to: lindaboothsweeney.net

Tech Tip of the Week

Calculate the Days, Months or Years between Dates in Excel

Use the DatedIf function to calculate the interval between dates in Excel. Here's how:


Enter the function into a cell

=DATEDIF ( start_date , end_date, unit )


For example, to calculate the number of months between two dates, if the start date is in cell D2 and the end date is in cell E2 you could enter this formula into cell F2:

To learn more about this function, go to to the Microsoft website or watch a YouTube video. This tip works in Excel 2007 and 2010, as well as earlier versions.

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Revised: September 1, 2015