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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:  July 20 - 26, 2014

Website of the Week

Nonprofits Assistance Fund

Nonprofits Assistance Fund invests capital and financial expertise in nonprofits through loans, training, practical guidance, and financial management resources. Nonprofits Assistance Fund was incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 1998. For the previous 18 years, the loan funds and programs had operated as a program of The Minneapolis Foundation. In 2000, Nonprofits Assistance Fund opened a financial center for nonprofits with the goal of providing extensive training as well as loan programs. Nonprofits Assistance Fund was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution by the US Department of the Treasury CDFI Fund in 2001. In 2005, Nonprofits Assistance Fund changed its name from Community Loan Technologies. Over the years the organization has housed several loan funds, including the Minnesota Nonprofits Assistance Fund® (MNAF), the Minnesota Primary Care Loan Fund, and the Working Capital Fund. In 2008 the programs were expanded to include special initiatives, consulting, and online learning. Nonprofits Assistance Fund program development, and loan fund capacity have grown substantially thanks to the support of foundations, financial institutions, business, and federal and state agencies. For more information and access to resources, go to: nonprofitsassistancefund.org
 

Publication of the Week

Measuring and Improving Social Impacts: A Guide for Nonprofits, Companies, and Impact Investors by Marc J. Epstein and Kristi Yuthas

From the publisher: The world is beset with enormous problems. And as a nonprofit, NGO, foundation, impact investor, or socially responsible company, your organization is on a mission to solve them. But what exactly should you do? And how will you know whether it’s working? Too many people assume that good intentions will result in meaningful actions and leave it at that. But thanks to Marc Epstein and Kristi Yuthas, social impact can now be evaluated with the same kind of precision achieved for any other organizational function. Based on years of research and analysis of field studies from around the globe, Epstein and Yuthas offer a five-step process that will help you gain clarity about the impacts that matter most to you and will provide you with methods to measure and improve them. They outline a systematic approach to deciding what resources you should invest, what problem you should address, and which activities and organizations you should support. Once you’ve made those decisions, you can use their tools, frameworks, and metrics to define exactly what success looks like, even for goals like reducing global warming or poverty that are extremely difficult to measure. Then they show you how to use that data to further develop and increase your social impact. Epstein and Yuthas personally interviewed leaders at over sixty different organizations for this book and include examples from nearly a hundred more. This is unquestionably the most complete, practical, and thoroughly researched guide to taking a rigorous, data-driven approach to expanding the good you do in the world.

Click to preview this book on Amazon.com
 

Trend of the Week

Greater Milwaukee Nonprofit Revenue Trends

A new report by the Public Policy Forum, “Give and You Will Receive: An analysis of nonprofit revenue trends and charitable giving in Greater Milwaukee,” analyzed revenues and contributions at public charities in the four-county Milwaukee Metropolitan Statistical Area from 1989 to 2011 (the most recent data available). Its intent is to inform policymakers and citizens about the health of the nonprofit sector, and to identify possible threats or opportunities regarding its future well-being. Trends are identified for the entire nonprofit sector and also nine subsectors (or “categories”). Further, the Forum report analyzes the sensitivity of contributions to certain economic and fiscal policy factors. From this analysis, policy considerations emerge related to the sector’s diversity and the sustainability of historical trends. The report found that total revenue for public charities in the area was $3.68 billion in 2011, up 134 percent from 1989. Contributions were up 193 percent to $1.86 billion during that span. At the same time, the number of public charities increased from 824 to 2,333, a 183 percent jump. Meanwhile, the size of the average organization in terms of revenue has decreased by 17 percent since 1989. According to the report, this is because new organizations have formed faster than the total revenue has grown. The diminished per-organization revenues demonstrated in the report could have a detrimental effect on the administration of large-scale nonprofit programs according to the report. The download the full report, go to: publicpolicyforum.org.
 

Resource of the Week

Consensus Building Guide

Robert’s Rules of Order is a fine way to run a formal meeting or a town hall vote, but too rigid for a business meeting where the agenda is to build consensus behind decisions. This is a freely available excerpt from the 1999 book, The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement, by Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer, and posted by the Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School. This chapter, “Short Guide to Consensus Building,” provides a no-frills, step-by-step approach to running a creative, productive meeting, down to the level of how to invite participants who might be assuming a legal liability by attending. Go to: web.mit.edu
 

Tech Tip of the Week

Move or Copy Sheets between Workbooks in Excel 2007/2010

bullet Open the sheet you want to move or copy
bullet Click the Home tab on the Ribbon
bullet In the Cells group, click Format

bullet Under Organize Sheets, select Move or Copy Sheet
bullet Choose where you want the sheet to be copied or moved to
bullet Be sure to select the create a copy box if you do not want your sheet moved
 


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