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What's New?

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 19 - 25, 2014

Website of the Week

Race Matters Institute

The goal of the Race Matters Institute (RMI) is to strengthen our nation by ensuring that all children, families, and communities thrive. RMI does this by helping nonprofits, government units, community organizations, and philanthropies increase their mission-driven results across their diverse constituencies. RMI's customized training, technical assistance, coaching, and product development produce strategies and concrete actions that enable an organization to be more intentional in its operations and programs about advancing racially equitable outcomes. A particular focus on organizational policies, programs, practices, and protocols complements the work of allies in the field of racial equity who offer strategies for personal and interpersonal change. Go to:

Publication of the Week

The Real Problem Solvers: Social Entrepreneurs in America by Ruth Shapiro (Editor)

From the publisher: Today, "social entrepreneurship" describes a host of new initiatives, and often refers to approaches that are breaking from traditional philanthropic and charitable organizational behavior. Nowhere is this more true than in the United States—where, from 1995–2005, the number of non-profit organizations registered with the IRS grew by 53%. But, what types of change have these social entrepreneurial efforts brought to the world of civil society and philanthropy? What works in today's environment? And, what barriers are these new efforts breaking down as they endeavor to make the world a better place? The Real Problem Solvers brings together leading entrepreneurs, funders, investors, thinkers, and champions in the field to answer these questions from their own, first-person perspectives. Contributors include marquee figures, such as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Ashoka Founder Bill Drayton, Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder of the Acumen Fund, and Sally Osberg, CEO of the Skoll Foundation. The core chapters are anchored by an introduction, a conclusion, and question-and-answers sections that weave together the voices of various contributors. In no other book are so many leaders presented side-by-side. Therefore, this is the ideal accessible and personal introduction for students of and newcomers to social entrepreneurship.

Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week

Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution

Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution is now available to download free-of-cost. The Alliance for Children and Families developed this report to help organizations plan for successful futures by illuminating complexity, inspiring tough conversations, and pushing them to think outside of their comfort zone. The report asserts that the future landscape of the sector will require successful organizations to have a well-honed radar for adaptation. The six forces include:


Disruptive Force One: Purposeful Experimentation: Increased and purposeful experimentation will be required of organizations, driven by: (1) risk-taking activities of for-profit competitors, (2) low-cost information technologies, (3) growing role of social media in communications, and (4) desperation as funding sources decline. Further, the demand for new, innovative solutions will be high.


Disruptive Force Two: Information Liberation. Regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act go to great lengths to ensure information confidentiality, but they will become outdated. A new generation of consumers will share information about themselves with friends, family, and communities, both live and virtually. Information sharing can improve service delivery models such that they ultimately give consumers more control over how their information is shared and allow other agencies in the same continuum to provide better care.

bullet Disruptive Force Three: Integrating Science. Extraordinary advances in technology will blur the lines between what is possible, what is affordable, and what is acceptable. Advances will alter the ways in which individuals are diagnosed and treated. Successful human service organizations will not only leverage these advances, but will partner with the research community to shape how these sciences can be applied cost-effectively to demonstrate impact.
bullet Disruptive Force Four: Uncompromising Demand for Impact. The ability to demonstrate that particular interventions have efficacy will result in payment. Funders and communities will expect greater impact at a lower cost. Key sector stakeholders will first define the desired impact, and then consider what organization or groups of organizations can deliver at the lowest cost.
bullet Disruptive Force Five: Branding Causes, Not Organizations. It will be much more effective for human services organizations to leverage support by emphasizing core issues and causes, rather than on their individual agency brands and programs. While brands can seem somewhat artificial and institutional, movements create a vision and goal for change.
bullet Disruptive Force Six: Attracting Investors, Not Donors. The current model of nonprofit funding will shift to an investment paradigm. Performance-seeking portfolios will be aimed at achieving a return on investment that solves a societal problem, contributes to a movement, or eliminates a community issue.

To download the executive summary and full report, go to:

Resource of the Week

The Smart Chart

The Interactive Smart Chart is based on the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 – a planning tool that helps nonprofits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. This online version of the Smart Chart offers an interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time – and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort. Go to:

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: October 20, 2014