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Weekly News Brief: Philanthropy & Diversity, Collaboration, Communication, Leadership, Social Networks


•     " Diversity vs. Philanthropic Freedom"  
        Author:  Bradford Smith                                                                      
        Date:  June 25, 2010
        Source:  Philantopic
Currently there is an increasingly polarized debate over philanthropic freedom vs. diversity – something the president of the Foundation Center and author of this piece, Bradford Smith, considers to be a false mutual exclusivity. He begins by countering that philanthropy is inherently free, due to its private and voluntary nature.  Unlike public funds, which involve bureaucracy related to accountability and oversight, philanthropic funds are far more flexible.  This flexibility, this “philanthropic freedom” is best defended by increased transparency (and presumably not by opposing diversity).

Diversity is a big part of everyday life in this country, as can be verified by a trip to any shopping center or by simple channel surfing.  Many foundations,especially those working with disadvantaged communities, already view diversity “as an asset if not a precondition for their work.”  As the nation – the world for that matter - becomes increasingly diverse, the ranks of organizations placing a high value on diversity will grow. 

•      "Top Five Online Tools for Listening on the Social Web"
        Author:  Allyson Kapin
        Date:  July 5, 2010
        Source: Frogloop
In this article, Allyson Kapin acknowledges the fear that senior leadership in the nonprofit sector may have when moving to “a 2.0 world” in terms of losing control of their organization’s communication with the outside world.  Nonprofits must face these fears and become leaders in their area of focus not just offline but in the online space as well.  To wage successful campaigns online, organizations must begin by first listening to what is being said online about them, their competition and their field in general.   Kapin shares five valuable online tools for online listening and analytics.  

•    “Benefit From Your Greatest Assets"
        Author:  George Dennis                                                                                                       
        Date:  July 6, 2010
        Source: FastCompany

George Dennis points out in this article that often, the roles of different members on a team are interrelated, despite the fact that each employee is hired to fulfill a certain function.   The most meaningful contributions that propel the company toward a successful future are those which are “combined efforts of minds.”  To best achieve this collaboration, Dennis believes that communication is critical.  Therefore he outlines three ways in which organizations can encourage and facilitate feedback from staff.  


•    “How Social Media Has Prepared Us for Collaborative Business"
        Author: Kraig Swensrud                                                                                              
        Date:  July 6, 2010
        Source:  Mashable

Kraig Swensrud believes that social platforms such as  Facebook and Twitter provide great hope for business because they lead to greater collaboration, immediacy and community - at least outside the scope of the business world.  Currently, however, there is a hurdle in achieving similar results within a business setting; “when we come to work, we throw all of this out the window.”  The notion of immediacy vanishes in a business environment.  Furthermore, the use of archaic technologies in many businesses stifles collaboration.

According to Swensrud, employees’ need for meaningful and simple workplace collaboration tools will lead to a technology shift whereby new tools will allow employees to “create a collaborative forum where” they “can be inspired by real-time engagement, real-time innovation"; this will in turn strengthen workplace communities.

•    “The Pyramid and the Funnel: Leadership at the World Cup"
        Author:  David Svet
        Date:  July 7, 2010
        Source:  SPURspectives

David Svet looks at Germany’s World Cup team as a microcosm of the world and how it does business.  Specifically, he observes how the team captain was injured and therefore unable to play, leaving the German team without a leader.  The press speculated about how his team would be able to cope without his skills and experience, given their youth and relative inexperience.

Rather than crumble without a strong team captain, the German World Cup team triumphed.  The absence of the their leader freed them to “create with one another and to empower one another without deference to a leader.”  Similarly, networks – and social networks in particular – allow individuals to empower one another and are thereby changing the way business is done.