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Foundation Grants Aim to Boost Civic Engagement

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Tuesday announced $1.3-million in grants to technology projects aimed at getting people more involved in improving their communities and issued a report designed to encourage more money and attention for such efforts.

The four grants announced were:

• $590,000 to Change by Us, a project of CEOs for Cities, that gives citizens an easy place to suggest ideas to make their hometowns more livable. The grant money will help expand the site so it can acce…

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What Is Keeping Nonprofit Leaders Awake at Night?

The Chronicle asked its followers on Twitter to share what is worrying them most right now in their professional lives. We asked them to reply with the hashtag #charityinsomnia. Here are some of their answers.

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Are Online Philanthropy Contests Worth the Effort?

After this year’s Chase Community Giving contest closed after a troubled start, some nonprofit leaders debated the costs and benefits of participating in these type of vote-driven corporate philanthropy contests in The Chronicle’s LinkedIn group.

Some nonprofit leaders say they have had success with the contests, while others are skeptical of whether the campaigns benefit nonprofits or the corporate donor.

Here are some highlights from the debate:

“My nonprofit won a $25,000 grant via the spring…

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Nonprofits Are Excited—and Confused—About Cloud Computing

survey of nonprofits around the world finds both great interest and significant confusion about the potential of cloud computing.

Representatives of more than 10,500 charities from 88 countries answered questions about how their organizations use software located on the Internet rather than from a hard drive or local computer network. The survey was conducted by TechSoup Global, a nonprofit technology group.

The study found that most nonprofits already have some experience with cloud computin…

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LinkedIn Offers Tool to Help Charities Recruit Board Members

LinkedIn, the professional networking site, has announced a free new service called Board Connect to help charities recruit board members who have much-needed skills.

LinkedIn offers charities a place to post detailed information about their organization and the professional and volunteer connections of its board members and other leaders.

Through Board Connect, groups can then search LinkedIn for potential new board members by listing skills that would be helpful, such as an accounting or legal…

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Chase Online Contest Draws Ire for Technical Glitches

The prospect of winning a grant from the annual Chase Community Giving contest prompts many small nonprofits to aggressively encourage their supporters to vote in the online competition. Small charities that get the most votes from their online supporters are eligible to win up to $250,000, and a total of $5-million will be awarded through the competition.

But when some of those supporters attempted to cast their votes, they were turned aside.

A swell of visitors to the JPMorgan Chase’s contest …

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Tweaking E-Mail for the Mobile Age

Ever since e-mail programs gave users the option of blocking images, many organizations have added short notes to the top of their messages—variations on “Trouble viewing this e-mail? Click here”—to direct recipients to online versions of the e-mails, images and all.

But while the notes make sense for people who read their e-mail on desktop computers, they can reduce the number of people who open the message when checking e-mail on mobile devices, says Holly Ross, executive director of the Nonpr…

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Humor Site Aspires to Be ‘The Onion’ for Nonprofits

John Suart wants his humor Web site to be The Onion for nonprofits. But first he must grapple with the earnestness of nonprofit workers trying to save the world.

Mr. Suart, a nonprofit marketing consultant in Ontario, is marking the first anniversary of the site Non-Profit Humour. In past months, he has tackled the inanity of social media (“Charity Can’t Understand Its Own Tweets”), pressures facing fundraisers (“Young Major-Gifts Officer Confident She Can Get Donation From Family of Man-Eating …

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Y of N.Y. Uses Social Media to Collect Stories—and Donors

A story from the YMCA of Greater New York’s timeline project

To celebrate its 160th anniversary, the YMCA of Greater New York is offering free T-shirts to people willing to share their stories of how the Y has made a difference in their lives.

Within 48 hours of issuing the appeal by e-mail and social media, the organization received nearly 300 stories recounting childhood swimming lessons, triathlon training, exercise programs started after injuries, and long-ago summer camps.

The YMCA has or…

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YouTube Adds Tool to Hide Identities in Sensitive Videos

YouTube has released a new feature to help nonprofits and activists protect the identities of people who appear in their videos with the push of a button.

The new tool allows people posting a video to blur all of the faces appearing in their work, making it much more difficult to identify people.

In a blog post Wednesday, YouTube cautioned that the technology is still new and may have trouble detecting the faces that are supposed to be blurred, particularly if they are partially covered or at ce…