Category Archives: Technology
September 30, 2010, 12:13 pm
Dear Malcolm Gladwell: The nonprofit technology world is not very happy with you.
Mr. Gladwell’s article in this week’s New Yorker magazine, criticizing the hype about social media’s ability to stir social movements, is drawing fire from nonprofit technology experts, among others.
The primary gripe against Mr. Gladwell, left, an author of several best-selling books, centers on his argument that Facebook, Twitter, and other online tools foster “weak” ties among people, which he says are not the types of relationships upon which social activism depends. For example, he writes, the lunch-counter sit-ins that helped foster the civil-rights movement of the 1960s were built on “strong” ties, true friendships, which are necessary if one is to engage in high-risk activism of the sort required of civil-rights leaders.
Allison Fine, a social-media expert and Chronicle contributor, disagrees that …
September 3, 2010, 1:59 pm
A charity leader in Seattle has assembled a short video laying out the impact of the nonprofit world, a film that he believes can help other nonprofit executives spread the word about philanthropy’s economic value.
The three-minute, 40-second video, “Know Your Sector,” has been posted on YouTube. Among the nuggets of information it contains: the fact that about one in 10 American workers is a nonprofit employee (compared with the one in 57 workers who waits tables).
“My hope is that it will be a free resource, for donors, for board members, for nonprofit employees, and volunteers to understand the power of our sector,” says Ben Klasky, executive director of IslandWood, a nonprofit outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island, Wash., who created the video for a class he teaches on nonprofit management “My hope is that it’ll go viral and that people will realize that, because so…
June 30, 2010, 6:37 pm
Drew Wheelan, conservation coordinator at the American Birding Association, wanted to find an evocative setting for a video calling on BP to stop using a chemical known as corexit to disperse oil in the Gulf of Mexico. So he filmed it in a field across the street from BP headquarters in Houma, La.
What he ended up with was a video that showed officers from the Terrebonne Parish sheriff’s department trying to stop him from filming and pulling him over after the shoot. The officers explain that BP doesn’t want anyone filming but acknowledge that Mr. Wheelan isn’t breaking any laws.
As Mr. Wheelan talks to the officer who pulled him over on state highway 311, he says, “I guess that’s what happens when you deal with a $97-billion company.”
BP denies that it asked law-enforcement officers to prohibit filming of its property.
“It’s a public roadway,” Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for BP to…
January 27, 2010, 11:12 am
- With America’s attention already shifting away from the disaster in Haiti, Katya Andresen, chief operating officer at Network for Good, suggests that relief groups keep donors interested by signing them up for monthly gifts and asking for new donations at the six-month or one-year anniversary of the earthquake. Her views appear on her personal blog.
- Some people are questioning whether the Huffington Post Investigative Fund is a legitimate charity venture given its close relationship with the for-profit Huffington Post, writes John Cook, a reporter for Gawker. In response to his article, the Huffington Post says it provides money and pro-bono public-relations assistance to the investigative fund but that the fund is a separate entity.
- To develop a good cause-marketing campaign, in which a company and nonprofit group work together to raise money for a charitable effort, charities must…
January 25, 2010, 4:06 pm
- Allyson Kapin, an editor at Care2, an online community devoted to social change, discusses how charities can develop effective mobile giving campaigns. Her post includes tips for setting up and marketing such efforts, as well as a description of some of the downsides of mobile giving.
- Trevor Neilson, president of the Global Philanthropy Group, writes on Huffington Post that the slowness of the Hope for Haiti telethon’s online and phone system may have deterred some giving. The telethon had raised $58-million as of Saturday, according to a spokesman for MTV.
- While donors should scrutinize the expenses of the charities they support, they should not focus too closely on nonprofit salaries without the context of the groups’ overall costs and revenues, advises Betsy Brill, a donor consultant, in Forbes magazine.
- Writing about the new book The Power of Half, about an Atlanta family who …
January 22, 2010, 1:13 pm
While there is tremendous work being done by charities, the United Nations, and governments, their coordination “remains unclear,” writes Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, who this week traveled to Haiti as part of the relief effort. Mr. Brin writes about his experience on his personal blog. “It is critical to have top level command and control across the entire breadth of efforts in order to maximize effectiveness,” he says.
The majority of donors would not text gifts for non-disaster causes, according to the early results of an online poll by Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog group. The poll is asking donors how they supported Haiti earthquake relief groups and their views on text messaging.
January 14, 2010, 3:59 pm
- As the world responds to the disaster in Haiti, nonprofit blogs are offering updates on the situation. Aid workers in the country are writing about their experiences on AlertNet, a Reuters Foundation Web site about humanitarian emergencies. And on a Council on Foundations blog, the council’s president, Steve Gunderson, is encouraging grant makers to support relief efforts. “Leadership moments are not scheduled,” he says. “If philanthropy’s mission is to serve the common good, this is indeed one of those moments.”
- While many people see charitable giving as an alternative to taxes, the two are “inextricably linked” and donors should consider supporting changes in tax policies that would benefit philanthropy, writes Alison Goldberg, of Wealth for the Common Good, an advocacy group. Her views appear on the New Voices of Philanthropy blog.
- As more foundations and charities…
December 22, 2009, 11:37 am
- While Google’s decision to donate $20-million for the holidays is generous, it’s also “lazy,” says Brian Reich, a social-media expert, on his Fast Company blog. He would have preferred if the company had offered to help charities work better with information technology.
- A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically, writes about the challenge of tithing, especially in lean times, in Oprah Magazine. “The key is to make it concrete,” he writes. “Try thinking in terms of time. Every 10 minutes of work, you are essentially doing one minute of volunteering for the needy.”
- When business people are considering switching careers and joining the nonprofit world, they should closely examine their motivations, says Wayne Luke, a partner with the Bridgespan Group, on a Harvard Business Review blog.
December 21, 2009, 12:15 pm
- JPMorgan Chase & Company damaged its brand by not being more open about its $5-million Facebook contest for charities, Nathaniel Whittemore, founder of Assetmap, a start-up Web company in San Francisco, writes on Change.org.
- In light of such criticism of JPMorgan, Beth Kanter, a social-media expert, offers some suggestions on her blog for how companies and others can improve such competitions for philanthropic money.
- How much value does Justin Timberlake or Paris Hilton actually generate for charity? The Daily Beast looks at how much money and news-media attention 50 celebrities bring in as champions for their favorite causes.
- While the Obama administration has pursued several prominent nonprofit programs, the efforts largely ignore the needs of small charities — those with annual revenues less than $1-million, writes Rick Cohen, a national correspondent for…
December 14, 2009, 11:37 am
- Pending changes in Facebook could hamper the ability of small charities to use the social-media Web site, says Heather Mansfield, a nonprofit communications consultant, on her blog.
- Daniel Godin, a California psychotherapist, writes on the Huffington Post about the painful demise of a Hollywood nonprofit drug clinic that was forced to close due to economic difficulties.
- What are the 10 most important developments in social entrepreneurship during the past decade? Nathaniel Whittemore, the founder of Assetmap, a San Francisco charity, is asking for suggestions on Change.org.
- Too many charities have new board members focus on practical duties, like fund raising and attending meetings, but should instead tap the board’s imagination in how to further charitable missions, writes Alison Rapping, a charity consultant, on her blog.