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Weekly News Alert: 8/24/09 - 8/31/09

Submitted by: Natalia Castaneda on Aug 28th, 2009 at 11AM PDT

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On Evaluation and Storytelling

  • Evaluating an organization or a program does not only involve quantitative data, numbers and statistics but it also involves personal connections and stories.  To effectively conduct evaluations – especially in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds (since they tend to revolve around people and their interests) – evaluators must spend time in the field with the organization and the people the organization works with and/or helps.  Trust is key here as is creativity.
  • Foundations, along with grant seekers and evaluators need to tell their stories.  Because “foundations are in the business of improving people’s lives”, as the Communications Network Blog reports, they need to tell those stories of improvement in order to advance change.

On Innovation, New Practices and Management

  • Normally when we think of innovation we think of new ideas or new technology, but we should also think about innovation as a deconstruction or reconstruction of past ideas and past technology.  In this way we can “rediscover old knowledge” which, when combined with a new mentality, leads to innovation.
  • In this new era of philanthropy where the public and private sectors work together to achieve a common goal, CFOs find themselves wondering how they would fare in the nonprofit world.  They normally find themselves wondering “Am I overqualified?” but the question they should be asking themselves is “Am I qualified enough?”.  Bridgestar offers seven questions in a comprehensive “fitness quiz” that they say CFOs should ask themselves before attempting to tackle the nonprofit world.
  • The Stanford Social Innovation Review presents reasons why the traditional philanthropic practices are not working and offers suggestions about how to institute practices that do actually make a difference.  Cited as an example as someone who has used successful philanthropic tactics is Thomas Siebal who began The Meth Project, a campaign in Montana to reduce teen meth use.  The campaign resulted in a 45% drop in teen meth use and a 72% drop in adult meth use between 2005 and 2007 in the targeted area.

On Women and Philanthropy...

  • According to The New York Times, between 2004 and 2006 the increase in value of philanthropic gifts made by women rose by 24.2% and the majority of that money has gone to other women.  43% of the wealthiest individuals in the United States are women and they are working deliberately to help other women in need - especially women in the developing world.  Because 70% of the world’s poorest are women and children, the U.S.’s wealthiest women believe it is their duty to help their counterparts in developing countries.

Top Articles:

How Might We Put People at the Center of Evaluation?
Author: Jocelyn Wyatt
Date: August 26, 2009
Source Good/Blogs
Yes, It’s That Easy!
Author: Bruce Trachtenberg
Date: August 25, 2009
Source: The Communications Network Blog


Restorative Innovation: Deconstructing Ideas So You Can See What Will Work
Author: Pete Plastrik
Date: August 24, 2009
Source: Nupolis
CFO Fitness Quiz: Are you Tough Enough for the Caring Sector?
Author: Bridgestar
Date: August 31, 2007
Source: The Bridgespan Group
Catalytic Philanthropy
Author: Mark R. Kramer
Date: Fall 2009
Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review


Philanthropy in an Uncertain World
Author: Sean Stannard-Stockton
Date: August 12, 2009
Source: Tactical Philanthropy

The Power of the Purse
Author: Lisa Belkin
Date: August 18, 2009
Source: The New York Times

The New Face of Philanthropy
Author: Sheri Johnson
Date: August 21, 2009
Source: Luminary Blog


Community Can Be SO Powerful
Author: Chris Brogan
Date: August 24, 2009
Source: Chris Brogan: Community and Social Media