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Weekly News Alert: Networks, Leadership, Social Investing and Innovation


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Top Articles:

On Networks and Change...

  • Beth Kanter writes about the power of networks and how they create social change.  Specifically, she touches on such issues as opened vs. closed networks, the different purposes of networking and network vibrancy (“things you don’t expect to happen take hold”).
  • According to the nupolis blog, our use of networks and networking is still in the beginning stages, but it has the potential to be a big movement.  Networks have the potential to reduce costs and increase effectiveness of organizations, promote advocacy, facilitate integrated place-based development and improve the effectiveness of grantmaking.  There are few organizations who have determined that network building (as a strategy) is crucial and should be funded, but that number is growing and corresponds with the idea that organizations should concentrate on maximizing the number of resources they have at their disposal.
  • Thaler Pekar writes a review of a keynote speech by Clay Shirky at the Communications Network conference she attended.  Shirky talked about how “group action just got easier” and change is therefore more effective because of increased communication.
  • Looking at quantitative data that measures what we already know will do little to insight change, but having new experiences, collaborating with the people who will be impacted by change and moving away from an “us vs. them” will incite lasting change.  Fast Company blogs about how we need to alter our  concept of change in order to create change.
  • Philanthropy 2173 blog lists networks that have successfully made change happen.  They are calling for more examples.

On Leadership Tactics and Strategic Planning...

  • A leader who seeks to inspire change within groups should be someone who is collaborative, strategic, receptive and flexible.  Using these skills, what leaders create is an atmosphere where change is generated.  That atmosphere is marked by positivity, inner and outer focus, and inquiry and advocacy.  Positivity, which is the drive behind positive events (interactions that yield positive emotions), especially, is key in creating change, the Interaction Institute for Social Change Blog claims.
  • PhilanTopic summarizes a Round Table Exchange which was focused on “Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times.”  The Exchange focused on whether or not there is a right or wrong way to do strategic planning and on when is the right time to hire a consultant to help with the strategic planning process.  PhilanTopic also compiles a list of other resources which share information about strategic planning.

On Social Investing

  • David Hunter, in his article titled "The End of Charity: How to Fix the Nonprofit Sector Through Effective Social Investing", speaks of the ineffectiveness of the majority of nonprofit organizations today.  The reason for this ineffectiveness, he says, is most nonprofits do not evaluate their programs and they only do what their funders tell them to do.  He says that the problem can be solved through “social investing”, which involves donors using rigorous selection criteria to choose which organizations they would like to support.  He believes that this process will hold nonprofit organizations more accountable and will allocate funds only to the organizations that actually are having an impact.
  • Sean Stannard-Stockton agrees with David Hunter that social investing is necessary for philanthropists and encourages it.  But, he says, he disagrees with David Hunter’s assessment of the nonprofit world today; he does not believe it is nearly as ineffective as David claims it is.  He also says that this type of assessment will actually impede the development of donors adopting a social investment approach.

On the Recession and Social Innovation...

  • We’ve seen how the recession has affected philanthropic giving negatively (donations have decreased), but there is mounting evidence that it has also changed the way that people think about philanthropy.  Donors have begun to look at the philanthropic world like they look at the business world – they think of themselves as investors and look to “invest” (donate) to organizations which yield high returns.  There is still skepticism about whether the market model will work for philanthropy, but trends suggest that this is the direction philanthropy is headed
  • A new white paper from BBMG entitled “From Legacy to Leadership: Is Philanthropy Ready for the New Consumer?” is published and PhilanTopic offers a summary of the report.  They make the points that social innovation has gone mainstream and that both social entrepreneurs and consumers are driving this transformation by holding themselves to higher standards.  The summary continues with a look at the effects of social media on social innovation.
  • The Wall Street Journal and other sources have claimed that the Great Recession is ending.  Tactical Philanthropy says, if this is true, then “this moment is one of great opportunity.” The post offers some suggestions to nonprofits that they should follow to capitalize on this opportunity.  Several of the tips include: “develop the next generation of your most effective program,” “put in place an outcome measurement system,” and “upgrade your technology infrastructure.”

Can Networks Have Social Impact?
Author: Beth Kanter
Date: October 19, 2009
Source: Beth’s Blog
Networks that made change happen
Author: Pete Plastrik
Date: October 19, 2009
Source: nuPOLIS
“This is a revolution; it cannot be contained by the institutions
Author: Thaler Pekar
Date: October 17, 2009
Source: Neurocooking Blog
Change by Design Insight No. 1. Go out into the world
Author: Melissa Dutmers
Date: October 19, 2009
Source: Fast Company

Networks that made change happen
Author: Lucy Bernholz
Date: October 16, 2009
Source: Philanthropy 2173

Accentuate the Positivity
Author: Curtis Ogden
Date: October 22, 2009
Source: IISC Blog
Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times: RX (Roundtable Exchange) Program Summary
Date: October 16, 2009
Source: PhilanTopic

The End of Charity: How to Fix the Nonprofit Sector Through Effective Social Investing
Author: David Hunter
Date: October 16, 2009
Source: Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal
Social Investing & The End of Charity
Author: Sean Stannard-Stockton
Date: October 19, 2009
Source: Tactical Philanthropy Advisors

Is the recession transforming philanthropy?
Date: September 29, 2009
Source: Private Actors in International Development (PAID)

From Legacy to Leadership
Source: BBMG

Is Philanthropy Ready for the New Customer?
Author: Mitch Nauffts
Date: October 9, 2009
Source: PhilanTopic
Economists Call for Bernanke to Stay, Say Recession Is Over
Author: Phil Izzo
Date: August 11, 2009
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Philanthropy at the End of the Recession
Author: Sean Stannard-Stockton
Date: October 12, 2009
Source: Tactical Philanthropy