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Friday Five: December 1, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Un bar aux Folies Bergère, considered the last major work of French painter Édouard Manet, represents the lively ambiance of one of the most renowned cabarets of Paris.

DID YOU KNOW? Un bar aux Folies Bergère, considered the last major work of French painter Édouard Manet, represents the lively ambiance of one of the most renowned cabarets of Paris.

The Folies Bergère opened in 1869 in Paris, France as a music hall for operettas, pantomime and political meetings. The hall was a categorical failure until the 1870s when it began to stage vaudeville—shows that featured a snake charmer, acrobats, trained elephants, a boxing kangaroo and the world’s tallest man. The public was allowed to drink and socialize in the indoor garden and promenade of the theater, and the Folies soon became synonymous with the carnal temptations of the French capital. In 1886 the Folies Bergère underwent new management, and the first revue-style music hall show, the “Place aux Jeunes,” was staged on November 30. The elaborate show featured scantily clad chorus girls with spectacular costumes and sets. Following the taste for striptease, the Folies was quickly established as the premier nightspot in Paris with as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes and a backstage crew of approximately 200 people. And now that we’ve got your attention, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  #GivingTuesday 2017

2017 has been a year filled with natural disasters—tragedies that implored donors to contribute to disaster relief, charities and nonprofit organizations. Yet that did not hinder #GivingTuesday from reaching a new record this week. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the 2017 #GivingTuesday Data Project reported $274 million raised from more than 2.5 million contributions—a 55 percent increase from last year. Click on the link above from The NonProfit Times to read more about the fundraising platforms and various campaigns that contributed to the success of this year’s #GivingTuesday.

2.  From Partnership to Entrepreneurship

Nonprofit organizations that engage in partnerships are provided an opportunity to widen the scope of their impact. According to Forbes, nonprofits that work with companies in different regions are able to solve new problems for underserved populations by facilitating stronger community infrastructures and cultivating entrepreneur-friendly environments. As partnerships are nurtured, new entrepreneurial opportunities are created and future business leaders emerge as a byproduct of those philanthropic ventures. Is your nonprofit considering potential partners? Check out the link above to discover three factors by which to evaluate candidates.

3.  Corporate Arts Giving is on the Rise

According to a recent study by CECP, titled Giving in Numbers, support for culture and arts is on the rise. The study, which evaluated corporate giving and employee engagement data from the world’s largest companies, reported giving to culture and arts programs had increased by 48 percent between the years 2014 and 2016. The study also cited research on the positive impact of the arts in terms of improving health, safety and well-being. An article from Inside Philanthropy suggests these findings help to reinforce the marketing strategies of arts organizations that are leveraging their community impact when appealing to donors and future employees. Curious how the arts can affect your organization’s balance sheet? Follow the link above for further analysis of the study’s findings.

4.  Nonprofits Responsible for Decreased Crime Rate?

Marked by all-too-frequent mass shootings and acts of violence, it is no secret that the United States faces many challenges. Yet, according to Nonprofit Quarterly, the past two decades have seen a remarkable decline in crime. And it is nonprofit organizations that may have contributed largely to that decline. Research suggests that while not every nonprofit plays a role in reducing violence, the organizations that focus on summer jobs for teenagers, in-school programming, behavioral therapy and tutoring can have a direct impact on crime rates. That being said, it is possible that these community-based organizations are vital to the effort to control violence within the communities they serve. Does your nonprofit have a strategy in place to help foster members of its community and curb violence? Explore the link above to find evidence of the potential organizations have to build stronger communities and reduce violent crime rates.

5.  How National Nonprofits Meet Local Needs

Nonprofit organizations are oftentimes evaluated more on the happenings of the local level rather than what is occurring nationally. So how can national nonprofits meet the needs of their communities in a way that mollifies local factions? According to Forbes, organizations that have hundreds of offices around the country operate in a way that is similar to franchises. This level of autonomy can present both challenges and benefits to the nonprofit—while the fairly decentralized structure requires extra diligence in terms of consistency, communication and quality control, the flexibility helps to meet the needs of local supporters. Is your national nonprofit working to better address local impact? Click the link above to discover three takeaways to help your organization stay connected with the communities it serves.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’ll be daydreaming about Paris during La Belle Époche—a time of such sweet joie de vivre, new forms of entertainment and the perfection of champagne. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: November 10, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? The Berlin Wall, prior to its demolition, was 66 miles of concrete sections that stood 3.6 meters high, with 41 miles of barbed wire fencing and more than 300 manned look-out towers.

DID YOU KNOW? The Berlin Wall, prior to its demolition, was 66 miles of concrete sections that stood 3.6 meters high, with 41 miles of barbed wire fencing and more than 300 manned look-out towers.

Yesterday marked 28 years since the Berlin Wall was torn down. This imposing, well-known symbol of the Cold War stood for almost thirty years before being reduced to rubble. The barrier was constructed overnight to keep East Germans from defecting—an estimated 2.5 million people flooded into West Berlin to escape the socialist state of East Germany. On August 13, 1961, the morning after the wall was erected, Berliners woke to find themselves separated from friends, family, work and their homes. It wasn’t until November 9, 1989 that East German officials opened the Berlin Wall to allow travel between East and West Germany. Celebratory crowds of German people began to demolish the wall—pieces of which can still be found scattered throughout various museums and institutions around the world. The obliteration of the Berlin Wall was a significant step towards ending the Cold War. And now that we’ve taken you for a trip down memory lane, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Serve First, Lead Second

Starting a nonprofit is no easy feat. Full of complexities and unknowns, the task of creating a successful nonprofit is one that requires more than a great idea. A nonprofit leader needs to possess an entrepreneurial mindset as well as have a strategic development plan, financial backing and the ability to figure out unexpected challenges. But according to Forbes, the most important characteristic that every nonprofit leader needs to be successful is the spirit of servant leadership. Want to know what it means to be a servant leader? Click on the link above to discover four qualities of a servant leader and tips that may help you succeed in the nonprofit world.

2.  We the People

Tuesday’s election day was one of progress and inclusion. The results that came in from communities across the United States told a hopeful story of ending divisiveness and bigotry. An upsurge of underrepresented people running for office this year gave rise to unprecedented election results. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, the diverse set of winners—Asian American, Latina, Lesbian, Transgender, African American and the like—pledged to fight intolerance and exclusion in their victory speeches. A government that looks like the people it serves? Imagine that! Check out the link above to read more about Tuesday’s election results.

3.  Nonprofit Leaders: This One's for You

According to The NonProfit Times, four out of five nonprofit organizations struggle with leadership and management issues. This information is derived from “The Stanford Survey on Leadership and Management in the Nonprofit Sector,” which lists weak board governance, fundraising, impact evaluation, and strategic management as among the most common challenges for nonprofits. Follow the article linked above for a list of seven essential components of strategic leadership necessary to maximize impact.

4.  Young Leaders Strengthen Community Disaster Response

In the wake of the natural disasters that have wreaked havoc across several cities throughout the world, it is no surprise we are reading about the urgent need to invest in more resilient infrastructures to safeguard our communities. While those investments are undoubtedly necessary, we too often underinvest in human capital. According to Forbes, investment in human capital is the key to seeding resilient systems that enable effective disaster response. By training and supporting individuals and networks, young leaders can rise to meet challenges by assisting one another and finding solutions to crises. Does your nonprofit have a community development strategy in place to help foster young leaders? The link above identifies the short- and long-term benefits of investing in young talent and tips for how you can get started today.

5.  Latinx: The Word is Out

Perhaps you have noticed the use of the word Latinx (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) lately—a term that has been popping up in mainstream outlets as well as in Hispanic media. The word is meant to be a more inclusive, gender-neutral term for people of Latin American heritage who are outside of the gender binary. While many millennials and college students have begun to embrace the term, it is still being resisted by those who see it as a first step toward the neutralization of the Spanish language. Does your nonprofit use the term? It could a difference for people in your community who are traditionally marginalized. Click the link above from Nonprofit Quarterly to read more about the rise of Latinx and why the term has been both embraced and scorned.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re headed into Veteran’s Day with sincere gratitude for all of those who have served our country, and for those who contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: November 3, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Many believe Michelangelo painted the ceiling lying on his back, but he actually constructed his own scaffolding so he could paint standing up.

DID YOU KNOW? Many believe Michelangelo painted the ceiling lying on his back, but he actually constructed his own scaffolding so he could paint standing up.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, arguably the greatest artist of the Italian Renaissance, was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV in 1508 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—the foremost consecrated space in the Vatican. After several years of work, the ceiling was opened to the public on November 1, 1512. The legendary ceiling frescos are among Michelangelo’s most memorable works, particularly the biblical panel entitled The Creation of Adam. This painting depicts both God and Adam stretching their arms out toward one another. And now that we’ve given you more knowledge for your next ‘Art of the Italian Renaissance’ trivia night, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Nonprofits, Don't Be Shy!

Nonprofit organizations tend to shy away from advocacy out of fear of jeopardizing their tax exemption status. However, issue advocacy is an important matter that should not be shied away from. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, nonprofits can use their expertise to weigh in on public policy for the good of the communities they serve. This mission-related activity is legal so long as charitable organizations do not allow themselves to be manipulated for political purposes. Don’t let politicians exploit your nonprofit’s advocacy. Click on the link above to discover how your nonprofit can fight for your community and the resources it needs without being a political pawn.

2.  Value Over Recognition

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about creating strategies that produce quantifiable results and long-lasting impact. When companies place CSR ahead of reputation and public relations, they are able to channel their strengths toward creating more meaningful, enduring change. While ranking high on the next sustainability list may garner a heap of recognition, CSR work results in tangible benefits that can manifest in genuine connections with communities and the trickle-down effect of positive change. Does your company want to start providing greater value to its community? Check out the link above from Forbes to find three strategies for putting value over recognition.

3.  Nonprofit Fundraisers: This One's for You

In recent years, the field of fundraising has become increasingly more sophisticated. With new insights into human behavior, there is much to learn that can help fundraisers improve results—whether it’s to raise more money from current donors or encourage new donors to give. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, there is an abundance of relevant research and studies that offer valuable data to assist development departments in honing their tactics. Are the fundraisers at your organization on the hunt for an edge? Follow the article linked above for a roundup of incisive research findings featured by The Chronicle in recent months.

4.  Leveraging Nonprofit Networks

Creating a good network takes time, energy and sincere effort. According to The NonProfit Times, nonprofit organizations that participate in a network are able to leverage knowledge and resources more effectively than those that choose to keep others at an arm’s length. As network organizations begin to engage with each other, the network itself becomes a cache of invaluable relationships. Can your nonprofit benefit from being part of a network? The link above features four lessons to help nonprofit leaders leverage networks to build capacity.

5.  Mission Statement Poetry

Whether an organization is a startup or an accomplished foundation, its mission statement is the foundation of external communications as well as its internal vision. In a few carefully selected words, mission statements represent the entire essence of an organization’s complex vision. Much like Japanese Haiku, mission statements are composed purposefully and succinctly—keeping every word’s denotations and connotations in mind. Is your organization writing or rewriting its mission statement? Click the link above from Nonprofit Quarterly for examples of how to take a poetic approach to crafting mission statements.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon searching for the hidden messages Michelangelo was suspected to have placed in his paintings. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: October 27, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Jack-o-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins. Instead, people carved menacing faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away ghosts in the night.

DID YOU KNOW? Jack-o-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins. Instead, people carved menacing faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away ghosts in the night.

Like most holidays, Halloween has continually evolved throughout the years. What we celebrate today has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. During this age-old European tradition, people would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off spirits they believe visited the earth on October 31. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a day to pay tribute to saints. This became known as All Saints Day or All Hallows, and the evening before was referred to as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. And now that we’ve got you in the “spirit” of Halloween, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week. We promise you, there’s no hocus-pocus—just the good stuff!

1.  Does Your Nonprofit Need Rebranding?

With more than 1.5 million nonprofits in existence in the United States alone, it is increasingly more challenging, yet imperative, for nonprofits to create and sustain a solid, captivating brand. According to Forbes, branding strategies can help nonprofits stand out in an overcrowded and competitive industry and build more meaningful relationships with broader audiences. Nonprofits that have experienced mission evolution, transition periods, new leadership, or growth should consider rebranding. Don’t let the thought of an organization-wide rebrand intimidate you. Click on the link above to discover three first steps your nonprofit can follow for a successful rebrand.

2.  What to Do with Tainted Donations

The success of charities and political campaigns relies heavily on donations. So what happens if an organization is forced to decide what to do with contributions they’ve been given from donors whose reputations might smear the image of the nonprofit or campaign? While there is no legal obligation to return ‘tainted’ money, the political and social ramifications for organizations that do not cut ties can be severe. Is your nonprofit prepared to handle a situation like this? Check out the link above from Nonprofit Quarterly to find real-life examples of organizations and campaigns that chose to keep, return or re-gift donations and why.

3.  Entrepreneurship Lessons from Nonprofit Leaders

When most entrepreneurs consider their business idols, world-renowned names such as Jobs, Musk and Branson typically come to mind—innovators from the corporate realm of the business world who are constantly inspiring people to follow their dreams. But what about the role models who aren’t household names yet are working to change the world through their work with nonprofits? According to Entrepreneur, nonprofit leaders are entrepreneurs themselves—using creative problem solving, providing goods and services, employing marketing strategies, and supervising and recruiting staffs just as their corporate counterparts do. Are you looking for inspiration for your own business? Follow the article linked above to learn about three nonprofit leaders and the entrepreneurship lessons they have to share.

4.  Create More Effective Nonprofit Social Content

Many of us who use social media find ourselves looking at the same pages frequently, and avoiding other pages altogether. What is it that attracts audience members to certain types of content, and why are some profiles more likely to actively engage viewers than others? The above linked article from Forbes explores these questions in depth and provides four tips nonprofits can use to create more effective social media content. Can your nonprofit benefit from upping its social media game? Check out the link and learn how to better connect with your audience.

5.  How Does America Give?

How America Gives is an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy (The Chronicle) that examines giving in states, metropolitan areas and counties across the United States. The data is based on the giving patterns of Americans who earn at least $50,000 annually and who itemize charitable deductions as part of their tax returns in 2015. By gathering this data from the IRS, The Chronicle has created a snapshot of giving which highlights each area’s giving opportunity—dollars that would have been raised if giving rates matched national averages. Want to maximize your nonprofit’s fundraising potential? Click the report linked above to read key findings from the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re blasting the “Monster Mash” and planning out our costumes. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: September 22, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Pomegranates are customarily eaten on Rosh Hashanah because the fruit is said to have 613 seeds—the same number as the commandments in the Torah.

DID YOU KNOW? Pomegranates are customarily eaten on Rosh Hashanah because the fruit is said to have 613 seeds—the same number as the commandments in the Torah.

Believed to be the birthday of the universe and the day G-d created Adam and Eve, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah, which began at sundown on Wednesday of this week, continues through nightfall tonight. Considering its literal translation means “Head of the Year,” any actions that take place on Rosh Hashanah set the tone for the rest of the year—just as the head controls the rest of the body. In addition to ceasing any work, the holiday is celebrated by lighting candles, eating festive meals featuring sweet delicacies, and going to prayer services that include the sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn). It is also customary to go to a body of water to perform the Tashlich (to cast) ceremony, in which Jewish people cast their sins into the water. Yamim Nora’im (High Holidays or High Holy Days) also known as the “10 Days of Repentance,” begins with Rosh Hashanah and continues through to the end of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Whether you’re celebrating the High Holidays or getting ready to enjoy another beautiful weekend, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  To Podcast or Not to Podcast?

For a medium that is still finding its bearings, the podcast industry has seen steady growth throughout the last few years. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 67 million monthly podcast listeners—a 21 percent increase from last year’s numbers. According to a study by Interactive Advertising Bureau, the podcast medium is expected to bring in more than $220 million in advertising revenues. Could a podcast benefit your organization? Click on the link above from Nonprofit Quarterly to discover six developments and trends in podcasting this year.

2.  Nonprofit Diversity: Mix it Up!

At The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Philanthropy NEXT Conference this year, charity leaders and fundraisers tackled issues of race, gender and sexual orientation in the philanthropic sector and called on nonprofits to diversify their staffs and donor pools. According to The Chronicle, nonprofit organizations must recognize that inclusiveness begins with board members and Executive Directors. If the leaders of our nonprofit organizations are not representative of a diverse group, the community may call into question their commitment to inclusivity. Is your nonprofit committed to diversity? Check out the link above to discover five tips to help your nonprofit better improve its diversity outlook.

3.  How to "Warm Up" Potential Donors

According to The NonProfit Times, approximately 73 percent of philanthropic giving comes from individuals. Keeping supporters engaged is as important as ever, and understanding how to both engage and steward prospective major donors is essential. With the help of digital marketing, nonprofits can introduce their organizations to individuals as part of a “warm up” strategy. Through emails and surveys, essential information such as potential donors’ interests and preferred method of contact can be gathered before any solicitation occurs. Want to learn how digital can help your nonprofit court donor prospects? Follow the article linked above to discover five digital stewardship strategies to leverage your potential supporters.

4.  How Personalization Helps Reach Donors

A report from Infosys found that personalization plays a significant role in the purchasing decisions of nearly 86 percent of consumers. And nonprofit organizations are not exempt from this statistic. High levels of direct customer service and customization go hand in hand in this day in age, and, according to Forbes, customization is key to nonprofits looking to expand their donor reach—especially online. Does your nonprofit need to shake up its fundraising efforts? Check out the six ways personalized messages can work to your organization’s advantage.

5.  Millennials Going Mobile

Millennials—dissatisfied with the current state of the country—are seeking more ways to be involved in the wake of last year’s election. According to the “2017 Millennial Impact Report” conducted by Achieve, Millennials have turned discontent into action by sharing content in support of causes on social media, signing petitions, applying social beliefs to purchasing decisions, donating and volunteering. Because Millennials now represent the largest population in the country, The NonProfit Times recommends that nonprofits educate themselves on the methods, social issues and action pathways preferred by Millennials. Interested in finding out how your nonprofit can leverage the mobilization of Millennials? Click the link above to read key findings from the report.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! Wishing shanah tova (a good year) to all of our Jewish friends, and a happy, happy weekend to all the rest. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: September 15, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Every year on the eve of Dia de la Independencia, the President of Mexico re-enacts the Grito from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810.

DID YOU KNOW? Every year on the eve of Dia de la Independencia, the President of Mexico re-enacts the Grito from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810.

Dia de la Independencia (Independence Day) is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated each year on September 16. This date marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that was launched in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, issued his famous Grito de Dolores or “Cry of Dolores.” Read aloud in the town of Dolores while ringing the bell of the church, this call to arms rang out for the end of 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico as well as racial equality and the redistribution of land. Hidalgo was joined by thousands of mestizos and Indians, and it wasn’t long before a peasant army was marching towards Mexico City. While Hidalgo himself would never see the end of the war, Mexico would eventually gain its independence 11 years later in 1821. Today, Mexican’s celebrate their country’s independence with fiestas, fireworks, music, dancing, and, of course, food. Mexico’s official colors—red, white and green—are displayed abundantly throughout Mexican towns and cities in the form of flowers, flags and decorations. But before you rush off to check when and where local celebrations will take place, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Nonprofits: Collaborate and Listen!

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the U.S. is home to 1.5 million nonprofit organizations. Within an increasingly saturated nonprofit community, organizations find themselves competing for the same funding while many struggle to stay afloat. But the industry’s continuous expansion does not mean that everyone cannot succeed. The Forbes article linked above illustrates the importance of collaboration among competitors to work together in order to strengthen community outreach. A convergence of ideas and knowledge can create networking opportunities that allow likeminded, ambitious people to come together for the greater good. Is your nonprofit interested in collaborating? Click on the link above to discover three strategies your nonprofit can use in pursuit of mutually beneficial relationships among competitors.

2.  The (White) Face of Nonprofit Boards

Nonprofit leadership is predominantly white and is not likely to diversify anytime soon, according to a recent report from BoardSource. The study found that whites account for 90 percent of board seats and CEO positions, and more than one-quarter of nonprofit boards are all-white. An article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy states that diversity, when it comes to recruitment at the board level, is not a high priority to most nonprofits. The findings of the BoardSource report illustrate a disconnect between attitudes and actions and are a sign of obstinate bias with regards to hiring and the appointment of board members. Is your nonprofit committed to diversity? Check out the link above to discover more data from the study that can help your nonprofit to better improve its diversity outlook.

 3.  Let's Get Social

There are a multitude of individuals who are ready and willing to help your organization succeed—the key is knowing how to reach them. By focusing their energy in the right place, according to The NonProfit Times, nonprofit organizations can harness the magic of micro-targeting through social advertising in order to engage audiences. Even organizations that are not operating with a large budget can make an impact with a small investment in digital. Want to know how your nonprofit can cash in on social advertising plugs? Follow the article linked above to discover examples from organizations that have had success using social advertising to leverage groups of potential supporters.

4.  Nonprofit Guide to Communications Strategy

Nonprofit organizations focus a large chunk of their time on raising awareness. The Standford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), proposes, however, that nonprofits should, instead, focus on strategic communications efforts that result in long-term change. Many imagine communication strategies as large undertakings—detailed playbooks of sorts—that take weeks to actualize. And busy nonprofit professionals have little time to waste. However, the SSIR suggests strategies that are “flexible, scrappy, and accessible to everyone” in the organization. Is your nonprofit ready to focus its efforts in a more meaningful direction? The link above provides a detailed, four-question guide to help your organization conceive an effective strategy to yield the change you seek.

 5.  A New Way to Measure Social Impact

Organizations in the charitable sector are not strangers to statistics. While numeric metrics provide a snapshot of achievement, nonprofits may depend on these numbers as a means to measure success and progress—terms that are relative in the framework of social services and may overshadow the human experiences that positively impact the community. According to Forbes, the lack of an evaluation tool has given rise to alternative ideologies in the social sector that place individuals at the core of reporting metrics. An example of this is Human-Centered Design (HCD) which places community stakeholders at the center of service. Want to shake up your organization's metrics? Click the link above to discover more about the innovative ways in which HCD measures impact and differs from traditional approaches.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! Don’t mind us, we’re just brushing up on our Español. ¡Viva México! See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

 

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Friday Five: September 8, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Jack Kerouac didn’t speak English until he was five years old. He was first raised to speak Joual, a French-English hybrid common among French Canadians who had settled in New England.

DID YOU KNOW? Jack Kerouac didn’t speak English until he was five years old. He was first raised to speak Joual, a French-English hybrid common among French Canadians who had settled in New England.

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was published 60 years ago this week on September 5, 1957. Regarded as a testament of the Beat movement of the 1950s, Kerouac’s novel reads like a diary of sorts—an autobiographical narrative that recounts the epic cross-country wanderings of Sal Paradise (a Kerouac-like protagonist) and his buddy Cassady-Dean Moriarty. Along their journey the two friends experience various encounters with free love, drugs and the burgeoning counterculture of the Beats—a cohort of young people who, in the Cold War-era, had become disillusioned by conformity, militarism and materialism. The book, which became an instant classic, was written on a 120-foot scroll, which consisted of sheets of tracing paper that had been taped together. While the first draft took just three weeks to write, Kerouac spent six years revising the manuscript before it was published. Before you start reminiscing about the good old days of the fabulous ‘50s, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Age Is Just a Number

According to Valerie M. Grubb’s “Clash of the Generations,” 25 percent of the workforce will be age 55 and older by the year 2020—many with no plans to retire anytime soon. That being said, today’s workplace is one that may be described as a clash of generations. This characterization requires an innovative management approach within today’s age-diverse culture. A culture that, according to The NonProfit Times, can be beneficial to the workforce in many ways, including enhanced efficiency and productivity. Are you managing in a way that encourages inclusion and supports innovation from employees, regardless of age? Take a look at the linked article above for six considerations for managing effectively in the new workplace.

2.  Hiring Outside the Box

Nonprofit HR’s latest study, the Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, found two notable problems the nonprofit sector must address in order to attract high-quality candidates. The study states that 64 percent of nonprofit organizations have no formal strategy for recruiting employees and that 81 percent have no retention program. While limited budget restraints account for a large piece of these challenges, nonprofits now more than ever need to create a plan to appear favorable to potential employees. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, high staff turnover in a nonprofit is costlier in the long-run than investing in employees. Is your nonprofit looking for ways to develop initiatives that offer workers what they want? Click on the link above to discover more data from the study that your nonprofit can use to better steward potential team members.

3.  Work Smarter, Not Harder

Donor and volunteer support have always been a life source for nonprofit organizations. But in today’s competitive age there exists a need for more innovative ways to reach out to people for backing. The movement known as crowdsourcing arose from this very premise—leveraging people who want to do their part in assisting others. Because nonprofits are continually striving to find ways to do more with less, crowdsourcing can be an indispensable strategy for the nonprofit sector to employ. Interested in crowdsourcing for your organization but not sure where to start? Check out the Forbes article linked above to learn six ways your nonprofit can use crowdsourcing to leverage the ideas and talents of the public.

4.  The Gift of Giving

According to the Blackbaud Index, Santa and his helpers put in a bit more work this year for Christmas in July. The index measures giving in three-month intervals and tracks approximately $23 billion in charitable giving in the U.S. For the three-month period ending in July, the index reported an increase of 4.3 percent in overall giving, including a 10.4 percent spike in online giving compared to 2016 numbers. While small organizations saw more growth in overall giving as compared to online, large organizations experienced converse results with online giving outpacing overall growth. Want to know how your sub-sector fared? Follow The NonProfit Times link above to see a more detailed breakdown and analysis of the index and its results.

5.  How-to Guide to Nonprofit Borrowing

Nonprofits are founded with the desire to make positive, mission-based changes in their communities and cities. While operated with a different mindset than that of a for-profit business, nonprofits possess many characteristics that are akin to the business sector, including having income, expenditures, employees and facilities. Similar to for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations sometimes look to loans as a means to effectively operate programs. Savvy board members and nonprofit directors understand that loans can be an advantageous tool for the development and success of their organization. Considering a loan for your nonprofit? The above link from the Nonprofit Quarterly provides a guide to borrowing that addresses everything from how to use the funds wisely to knowing when and how to borrow.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re off to find ourselves a cozy little spot to snuggle up with our tattered, old copy of Kerouac’s classic. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: September 1, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? During “hot dog season,” which spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans consume an estimated 818 hot dogs every second. That’s 7 billion hot dogs total!

DID YOU KNOW? During “hot dog season,” which spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans consume an estimated 818 hot dogs every second. That’s 7 billion hot dogs total!

As the month of August comes to a close, Americans across the country welcome September with open arms as they gear up for the three-day weekend. Labor Day, observed on the first Monday in September, was created in order to pay tribute to workers and their achievements. Today, the extra day off is celebrated with barbeques and picnics, athletic events, parades, and trips to the local fairground. While most look at Labor Day as a joyous occasion, the holiday came out of one of the grimmest chapters in American labor history. At the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s the average American worked 12-hours a day, seven days a week in extremely unsafe conditions. Without access to fresh air, sanitary facilities or adequate breaks, tensions overflowed which led to strikes and riots. On September 5, 1882, approximately 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in New York City for better pay, hours and working conditions. This event became recognized as the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. It didn’t take long for the idea of a “workingmen’s holiday” to catch on, and Labor Day became a federal holiday just 12 years later in 1894. Before you race out of the office to participate in the shenanigans you’ve planned for the long weekend, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Helping Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday of last week. Pummeling the Gulf Coast with more than 2 feet of rain, Harvey has left thousands of people in Houston and along the coast displaced. According to NPR, an estimated 30,000 people are in need of shelter, while approximately 450,000 “may qualify for federal flood victim assistance.” As Harvey continues to loom over the Gulf Coast with heavy rain, floodwaters continue to rise in Houston—sending residents scrambling for safety, shelter and aid. Are you looking for a way to offer support to the thousands affected by Hurricane Harvey? Take a look at the linked article above for a list of organizations offering aid to those touched by this tragedy.

2.  For-Profit Tips for Nonprofit Success

According to The NonProfit Times, some top consumer brands have retention rates that surpass 90 percent while most nonprofits float just over the 40 percent mark. This begs the question: what is being done in the corporate sector and what can nonprofits learn and replicate from their for-profit counterparts? Americans have been conditioned to appreciate high-quality customer experiences and to expect personal touches. Any experience that is deemed mediocre or disappointing stands out to customers who are more mindful than ever. Is your nonprofit looking for ways to improve donor relations? Click on the link above to discover six tips from the for-profit sector that your nonprofit can use to better steward your donors.

3.  Mayors Fight Hate With ADL

In the wake of the tragic events that unfolded in Charlottesville, mayors from cities across the country are working together to create local solutions to end extremism, violence and bigotry. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is joining forces with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for an initiative called the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate. The Compact is designed to “promote fundamental principles of justice and equality” in a bid to make cities safer for all. Thus far the Compact has been signed by more than 270 mayors pledging their cities to be beacons for acceptance, respect and inclusion. Check out the article linked above to learn more about this new endeavor and the ways in which cities can employ the expertise and training of the ADL.

4.  Avoid Burnout in the Nonprofit Workplace

There is no doubt that nonprofit work, when successful, can be extremely gratifying. But a fruitful nonprofit is usually the result of dedicated nonprofit professionals who put in long hours tackling never-ending, ever-evolving to-do-lists and shortages in funds. With the many challenges these devoted staff members face daily, it is no surprise that some eventually burnout. According to the Forbes article linked above, there is a way for compassion-fatigued workers to regain their motivation and sustain their passion throughout their nonprofit careers. Are your employees on the cusp of emotional exhaustion? Follow the link above for seven tips to help them avoid burnout in your workplace.

5.  Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Just as the commercial sector competes for customers and sales, nonprofits must also stay competitive in order to gain and retain donors and their loyalty. For many nonprofits, this means having an effective direct mail program. But not all programs are created equal. This is why, according to The NonProfit Times, testing is critical before ideas are adapted and implemented in the marketplace. The improvement of metrics through testing ensures that direct mail programs reach their ultimate goals to engage supporters and raise money for the organization’s mission. Want to generate more revenue through direct mail campaigns for your nonprofit? The link above provides more information on different types of testing your organization can use to maximize your nonprofit's direct mail potential.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re gearing up for one last summer hurrah with some much-needed relaxation, barbeques and family time. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: August 25, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Prior to the eruption of 79 AD a word for Volcano did not exist. Volcano derives from the word Vulcan—the Roman God of the Flame and Metal Forgery.

DID YOU KNOW? Prior to the eruption of 79 AD a word for Volcano did not exist. Volcano derives from the word Vulcan—the Roman God of the Flame and Metal Forgery.

Mount Vesuvius, after centuries of dormancy, erupted on August 24, 79 A.D. leaving the prosperous ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum devastated in its wake. It is said that 20,000 people were living in Pompeii during the early Roman Empire—Roman elite, manufacturers, merchants and farmers alike. The rich soil of the region near the Bay of Naples made for verdant vineyards and bountiful orchards. On the fateful day of Mount Vesuvius’ eruption, a 10-mile mushroom cloud of pumice stone (some 3 inches in diameter) and volcanic ash was propelled into the sky. The fiery eruption along with toxic gas continued to hail down on the city of Pompeii for 12 hours and quickly traveled to the neighboring city of Herculaneum. Both cities were completely engulfed and buried, and it was not until the 18th century that they were rediscovered and excavated. Preserved in their final moments, both cities offer an unparalleled snapshot of the day-to-day life of an ancient Roman city. Before you jet off to book your sightseeing tour, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.  

1.  R.I.P: Nonprofit Dissolution

The dissolution of a nonprofit organization is a trying and significant decision, and, unfortunately, one that is not too uncommon. While it is required by state and federal law that nonprofits outline policies and procedures for organizational dissolution in their bylaws and articles of incorporation, many organizations do not have a plan. Whether the death of a nonprofit is brought about by involuntary or voluntary means, organizations should be prepared. Does your nonprofit have a protocol for if ever it is time to call it quits? Let the linked article from Nonprofit Quarterly serve as a guide: click on the link to learn four principles to keep in mind when establishing an honorable dissolution for your organization.

2.   Millennials: Influencers for Good?

According to the Forbes article above, the Millennial generation is both idealistic and altruistic as a whole—Millennials donate an average of $600 annually to the causes that are important to them. While this may seem insignificant when compared to contributions from older generations, consider that many Millennials face crippling student debt, stagnant salaries and a continual rise in the cost of living. In addition to being generous with their money, Millennials invest their time and influence in charitable causes, particularly on social media platforms. This trend is creating a shift in the modern workplace as many companies race to create programs designed to best engage Millennials. Check out the article linked above to discover four tips to building and expanding social responsibility programs through Millennials.

3.  Thinking About Starting a Nonprofit?

The desire to help people is at the heart of all nonprofits. But the desire to do good is not enough when considering whether or not to start a nonprofit organization. This article from Entrepreneur mentions that not all entrepreneurs are created equal, and that not all are driven by the same forces. Many choose to leave corporate America behind to launch nonprofit endeavors—organizations that enable entrepreneurs to give back to their communities and see more tangible immediate results. But even enterprises that are driven by social responsibility must be run like a for-profit business. Do you plan to start a nonprofit and aren’t sure where to start? Follow the link above for five thoughts to consider before you get the ball rolling.

4.  George Costanza's Advice to Fundraisers

Anyone who has seen even one episode of Seinfeld may argue that there are “valuable” life lessons to be learned. An article from The Nonprofit Times points out a lesson from George Costanza that may be of particular interest to fundraisers; the importance of keeping organizational social and marketing relationships separate. While the theme of the Seinfeld episode was more geared toward the separation of romantic and social relationships, the warning should be heeded just the same. It is important to leverage your social influence in order to maximize fundraising as it aligns with your mission, but it is equally essential to understand that connecting with your supporters is more than discounts and promotions. The link above provides four tips your organization can employ to avoid the intersection of marketing and social relationships.

5.  The How-To Guide for Nonprofit Boards

The board of a nonprofit is meant to represent the public interest in the organization. Acting as the legal voice of the nonprofit, the board assists in maintaining tax exemption of the organization as well as establishing its bank account and filing its annual reports. Moreover, the board guides decisions and can positively influence the nonprofit to take actions toward carrying out its mission. A lack of accountability can lead to involuntary dissolution for a nonprofit, so it is vital that nonprofit boards understand their responsibilities in detail. But what specific actions are required of the board to best represent and facilitate the operation of a nonprofit? Take a look at the linked article from Nonprofit Quarterly for an in-depth guide to nonprofit board basics and best practices.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re busy planning a trip to join the 2.6 million people that visit the Pompeii archeological site each year. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: August 18, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? When the storm clouds rolled over Woodstock, the crowd started chanting in hopes of stopping the downpour. The chant was unsuccessful, however, and five inches of rain fell in three hours making the festival a mud fest.

DID YOU KNOW? When the storm clouds rolled over Woodstock, the crowd started chanting in hopes of stopping the downpour. The chant was unsuccessful, however, and five inches of rain fell in three hours making the festival a mud fest.

Woodstock, rock ’n’ roll’s most famous music festival, took place 48 years ago on August 15-18, 1969. Flower children, hippies and beatniks alike swarmed to an alfalfa field in the upstate New York town of Bethel to see rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly and the Family Stone, the Who, the Grateful Dead and many more. Despite the 500,000 people in attendance, there were few incidents on the overcrowded grounds—even as many musicians and festival-goers used the event to protest the Vietnam war happening abroad and the racial tension at home. Jimi Hendrix’s closing set at Woodstock, which has been said to be the single greatest moment of the sixties, is most remembered for his impromptu performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. Before you race to dust off your old record collection, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Here's My Number, Text Me Maybe?

Sending and receiving text messages is arguably the most prevalent mode of communication in this day and age. This preference comes as no surprise with many service providers offering unlimited texts as part of even their most basic plans. Because text messages instantly pop up on mobile devises they are much more difficult to ignore than emails that may go unchecked, unseen or are delivered straight to a user's junk mail box. According to an article in The NonProfit Times, nonprofit managers can use this information to their advantage when formulating plans to increase marketing efforts by way of larger audiences. Being sure to stay within the bounds of consumer protection laws, nonprofits may find that texts are the best way to communicate with their supporters. But who should your nonprofit be texting? Click on the link above to find out the four groups of people best communicated with via text.

2.  Nonprofits, Now is the Time to Step Up!

We are living in an era of unrest. Amid the social, political and racial tensions that are so widespread in the day-to-day, nonprofits must recognize and understand the moments that define them. Nonprofits—the very organizations that are built upon and holdfast to the basic principles of human rights, justice and equality—must take leadership. An article in the Nonprofit Quarterly states that many nonprofit organizations often mirror the warped identity of our society at large. It is not enough to simply renounce racism, nonprofit organizations must counteract injustice with a model of moral certainty and common humanity. Is your nonprofit ready to take a stand in the wake of the events that emerged from Charlottesville? Check out the article linked above to get inspired.

3.  Opportunity Youth and the Opportunity Divide

Opportunity Youth are defined as young people ages 16-24, who are not on a conventional track to a four-year degree. Despite being equipped with the skills required by a job—skills such as determination, dependability and tenacity, members of this group are often overlooked based on educational requirements. The Forbes article linked above mentions that skills Opportunity Youth have acquired through their life experiences and personal backgrounds can be of significant value to employers and their businesses. Nonprofits can benefit from these skills and help to bridge the ever-growing opportunity divide by addressing the issues that contribute to unequal distribution of employment and education opportunities. Not sure where to begin? Follow the link above to find innovative examples from an initiative called Grad of Life on how to catalyze market demand and create sustainable employment pathways.

4.  Click This, Not That!

According to The Radicati Group’s Email Statistic Report, 2017-2021, more than 269 billion emails are sent out each day. The constant chime of the inbox on our computers, tablets, and mobile phones means it is easy to click on something without looking closely enough. In the age of malware and ransomware, opening up risky emails can be an expensive mistake for nonprofit organizations. Does your nonprofit’s staff know how to spot unsafe emails? The link above from The NonProfit Times provides seven vital questions your organization should answer before clicking on any emails, attachments or links.

5.  The Birth of a Nonprofit

Those of you involved in an existing nonprofit understand that the materialization of a nonprofit organization is not one that can be reduced to the act of registration alone. Instead of a single, solitary event, nonprofits are born in several stages—questions asked and answered, information gathered, resources accrued, and routines and procedures established. But what about people with no nonprofit knowledge who wish to form a nonprofit organization? An article from Nonprofit Quarterly describes the gestation period of nonprofit formation. Take a look at the linked article to learn five key insights that are essential to understanding organizational development.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’ll be reliving the glory days of Hendrix and the rest of the Woodstock crew all weekend long. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: August 11, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? If you spent one minute observing each piece of art in the Louvre, it would take you 64 days to see everything in the museum.

DID YOU KNOW? If you spent one minute observing each piece of art in the Louvre, it would take you 64 days to see everything in the museum.

Originally a fortress built in 1190, the Louvre was converted into a royal residence for the French monarchy in 1364. Almost every subsequent king extended the Louvre and its grounds, as well as the crown’s art collection. In 1793, the French Monarchy left Paris for the Palace of Versailles, and the Musée du Louvre opened its doors to the public with a mere 537 paintings on display. Today, the Louvre is the largest museum in the world, housing 380,000 pieces of art—of which only 35,000 are on exhibit. The Louvre welcomes approximately 9.3 million visitors per year (70% of whom are tourists) who come from all over the globe to gaze at the museum’s extensive art galleries, which span 6th century BC to the 19th century. Before you start daydreaming about the City of Light and all of its wonders, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Can Nonprofits Write Legislation?

An article from the Nonprofit Quarterly suggests that it is possible. If nonprofit organizations are careful when using tax-exempt dollars to promote legislation, they need not be fearful. Nonprofit advocates can take their lead from lobbyists and draft legislative solutions to societal issues. Bills in the public arena can generate support and shed light on areas of concern. Additionally, the abundance of for-profit and nonprofit law firms with legislative drafting experience means that even the smallest nonprofit organizations have access to expertise in this area. Is your nonprofit interested in crafting legislation? Click on the link above to find out how you can write legislation and frame issues to fit your organization’s needs while maintaining your tax exemption.

2.  Nonprofits, Paid Social is Your Friend

Social marketing is constantly fluctuating. While social networks such as Facebook and Instagram have a good grasp on how to advertise through their network, fundraisers need to understand how they, too, can engage audiences tactically and enthusiastically. At the 2017 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, social media and marketing experts discussed key ways nonprofits can use social insights and the implementation of targeting and ad types to effectively fuel paid social strategies. Check out the above link from The NonProfit Times to discover which tactics can be successfully utilized by your nonprofit.

3.  STEM and the Gender Gap

Research shows that teenagers have career preferences that correlate directly to their gender—as many young people distance themselves from certain academic subjects as a result of peer pressure and preconceptions from parents, teachers and other role models. The Forbes article linked above provides more information regarding these studies and the recent push to engage young girls to take an interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEM) careers. The article also provides examples of how nonprofits can help to address this issue. Follow the link above to find three ways your organization can begin to tackle preconceptions girls and their communities may have regarding STEM careers.

4.  Nonprofits, Follow Your Dreams

Many nonprofit organizations begin with a dream. But is that enough? According to an article in The NonProfit Times, dreams need to be big, expansive and enduring, but must also communicate an easy-to-understand “why.” It is not adequate for an organization to market its own credibility—instead, organizations are branding the promises that they make. Organizations choose to focus on the “why” or the “what” of their work or the “how” they are doing it. It is the “why,” however, that sets successful fundraisers apart. Is your nonprofit considering an objective or dream to pursue? The link above provides three vital questions your organization should answer as well as additional recommendations to consider.

5.  Millennials: Donors of the Future

The Millennial Generation, having recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation in America, stands strong with numbers well above 75 million. That being said, it is no surprise that nonprofit organizations are employing tremendous efforts in determining how best to engage this group. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Millennials are nearing their “peak spending years,” for which nonprofits are competing in the form of donations. Attracting Millennials to your nonprofit is pivotal to the sustainability of your organization. Does your nonprofit have a plan for how to connect with Millennials? Take a look at the linked article to learn effective ways to engage with this generation.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! Don’t mind us, we’re just brushing up on our Français. “À la semaine prochaine!” See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

 

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Friday Five: August 4, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? The Czech Republic is the beer drinking capital of the world. Each Czech drinks an average of 40 gallons a year.

DID YOU KNOW? The Czech Republic is the beer drinking capital of the world. Each Czech drinks an average of 40 gallons a year.

In this day and age we are inundated with bizarre holidays. Each day is offered up as a celebration of the wacky or mundane, the educational or even just plain silly. While many of these holidays pass by unobserved, the holiday taking place today (the first Friday in August) is being celebrated in over 200 cities around the globe. International Beer Day has gathered people together since 2008 to enjoy the delights of beer over great conversation, raise a glass to the dedicated men and women who brew and serve the beloved beverage, and bring the world together by celebrating beers of all nations and cultures. Whether you’re raising a glass in the U.S., France or Sweden, we say “Cheers!” “Santé!” and “Skål!” to each of you. But before you start organizing your after-work happy hour, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Give the People What They Want!

When it comes to delivering personalized and relevant messages to donors and potential donors, nonprofits are lagging behind their peers in the for-profit sector. According to the 2017 Consumer Email Habits Report, a touch of personalization goes a long way in the realm of nonprofit email marketing. The report goes on to state that four out of five consumers want a bit of individualization in the emails they receive from nonprofit organizations. Aside from creating an opportunity for interaction, personalized emails allow for a greater variety of content and calls to action that resonate greater with patrons. Is your nonprofit sending its supporters what they want? Click on the link above to find out how you can better leverage technology to send more personally relevant emails.

2.  Nonprofit Leaders, Please Stand Up

We are living in an era of political instability. Weekly calls to representatives to either advocate or oppose legislature have become the new norm, and those who sit on nonprofit boards are feeling the pull. But how can you as a board member successfully advocate on behalf of the populations you serve? Check out the above link from Nonprofit Quarterly to discover which tactics are at your disposal, and how to use your distinct individual and professional backgrounds to positively engage with legislators while staying within the bounds of IRS rules and regs.

3.  Serial Reciprocity: Friends with Benefits

“With great power comes great responsibility.” While this famous quote can be traced back to 1793 during the period of the French Revolution, it is as relevant today in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Using one's power for the good of the community and expecting nothing in return is not without reward, however, as companies’ good deeds are often accompanied by positive PR. This inspires organizations to focus less on gaining clients and creating favorable headlines, and more on helping people and encouraging others to do the same. Follow the Forbes article linked above to discover three ways your organization can employ and benefit from the ripple effect of serial reciprocity.

4.  How Not to Treat Your Volunteers

Volunteers are often the backbone of mission-based organizations. Without volunteers many nonprofits would not be able to successfully carry out programs, fundraise or serve their communities. Over the years, however, a number of nonprofits have neglected, or gone as far as to dissolve their volunteer groups once they began to weigh in on organizational matters. Volunteers invest time and passion into the organizations they serve, and the dismissal of dedicated supporters is almost never a good move. The above link from Nonprofit Quarterly provides a more detailed analysis of a case that illustrates how not to treat your volunteers.

5.  Don't Wait Until Tomorrow!

Procrastination affects 20 percent of the population, but in the nonprofit world of tax filings, grant applications and donor communications, there is no room for missed deadlines. The recently held 10th Procrastination Research Conference (yep, this is a real thing) gathered participants to discuss the subject and its serious consequences. There are many lessons nonprofits can learn from research on procrastination—a problem that could potentially lead to the loss of tax status, suspended contracts or worse. Take a look at the linked article to learn what researchers have to say about the topic of procrastination and its toll.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re perusing flights to Prague, but may have to settle for an ice-cold Czech Pilsner instead. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: July 21, 2017

California summers aren't complete without a trip to Disneyland. 

California summers aren't complete without a trip to Disneyland. 

There is something about summertime that triggers feelings of nostalgia—happy childhood memories of sunshine, freckled-skin, barbeques, and cannonball jumps into the pool. For those of us in adulthood, the days of “school’s out for summer” are long over. Luckily, there’s a place we can go to relive the youthful splendor of days past. 67 years ago this week, Disneyland, the epitome of frivolous adventure and fantasy, opened its doors in Anaheim, California. The place where orange groves once stood now welcomes 14 million visitors a year: adults and children alike who are eager to enter a realm of enchantment. But before you giddily skip off to buy your Annual Passport, check out these five headlines from nonprofit news this week.

1.  Attracting The Elusive Millennial Donors

At over 80 million strong, Millennials are essential to the expansion and diversification of any nonprofit organization’s donor base. But organizations that have focused largely on older donors for the past few decades are now at a loss when it comes to ways they can attract the elusive Millennial population. What draws Millennials to an organization? The Nonprofit Times has a quick summary of six fundamental steps your organization can employ to entice Millennial donors.

2.  How is Your Identity Affecting Your Leadership?

Social identity can be defined as the characteristics, beliefs and personal experiences that make us unique as individuals and differentiate us from one another. Learning to navigate social identity in the nonprofit workplace can be tricky, but it is pivotal in order to lead effectively and efficiently. The Community Resource Exchange (CRE) conducts leadership development training with nonprofit managers in order to tackle questions of how identity shapes their roles as leaders. Check out the link above to find out how your identity may be affecting your leadership.

3.  Young Volunteers, Lifelong Partnerships

Awareness of doing social good is #trending, and the time to capitalize is now. Attracting young volunteers to your nonprofit organization is easier than ever with the right tools and can benefit your organization in the long-term. Social media channels enable organizations to share cause-driven content to targeted populations and to engage audiences with calls to action. Offline strategies can be equally helpful as they allow you to share your experiences in person. Click the link to find out how your organization can benefit from an infusion of young volunteers and begin creating lifelong partnerships.

4.  For-Profit to (Legit) Nonprofit

More and more entrepreneurs are considering the nonprofit business model. Oftentimes the decision to transition a for-profit into a nonprofit boils down to the financial pros and cons without a true understanding of what it means to be working for the benefit of the public. With tax exemption comes certain responsibilities and a greater level of compliance requirements. What happens when the for-profit and nonprofit world collide? How can you make the transition successfully? Click on the above link to read about two cases that illustrate the dos and don'ts.

5.  Profit in Progressive Protesting?

In this new political era, The Nonprofit Times has a timely article on how nonprofits can maximize their financial resources by tapping into the energy and activism sparked by last year’s election. If a protest aligns with your organization’s mission and has the ability to activate your base as well as additional contributors, progressive protesting can be profitable. While nonprofits have traditionally steered away from political activism, click on the link above to find out how it can be beneficial to your organization so long as you stay in compliance with IRS rules and regs.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re scurrying off to dig out our Mickey ears from the back of the closet. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: July 14, 2017

Oh, the dog days of summer....

Oh, the dog days of summer....

While the sweltering heat is enough to leave any pup on the sidewalk panting, the “dog days of summer” is actually a phrase that derives from ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The hottest time of the year (early-July through mid-August) represented fever, famine and devastation in the ancient world. It was during this time of year that the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius, the “dog star,” would appear to rise and set with the sun. It was believed that the collective energy of Sirius and the sun were responsible for the scorching heat of summer’s hazy peak. Not eager to venture outside into the heat? We don’t blame you, it’s ruff out there. Check out these five headlines from nonprofit news this week.

1.   Welcoming a Millennial to Your Nonprofit? Read This.

More than the stereotype of living in their parents’ basements, Millennials bring knowledge of technology, access to younger demographics and enthusiasm to the workplace. Standing strong with 80 million in numbers, they represent the largest population in the U.S. workforce, meaning the likelihood that you’ll be welcoming one into your nonprofit is… well, unavoidable. Perceptions and expectations can vary greatly from one generation to the next. So how does an employer help to lessen the workplace divide? First impressions are pivotal; Millennials are more likely to determine whether or not to stay long-term at a job during the first day of work. Try providing a few business cards on day one to help them visualize a successful career with your organization. Clear communication of expectations is also essential, as Millennials entering into their first full-time job may need a bit more guidance in order to get the ball rolling. Want more tips on bridging the generational gap in your nonprofit workplace? Click on the link above.

2.  Hey, Nonprofits! Take Your Cues from Comic-Con

What started as a one-day “minicon” in 1970 has evolved into a world-renowned convention that is now hosted in 20 cities. Comic-Con, a nonprofit educational convention for comics and related art forms, is providing an interesting event model for generating revenue and brand enhancement. Pop Culture Classroom (PCC), a Denver-based nonprofit, has found success in running its own 3-day Comic-Con, which attracted 115,000 attendees to its 2016 convention, and produced approximately $10 million dollars in economic benefit to the city of Denver. And it doesn’t have to stop there. There seems to be plenty of room for other enterprising nonprofits to explore the benefits of this type of social enterprise. Interested in discovering more about the benefits (and risks!) of this type of event? Check out the link above to learn more.

3.  For a Good Time, Text...

Museums have been flirting with technology for quite some time now, but the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has taken things to the next level in an effort to connect on a deeper level with its public. The museum’s newest undertaking allows the public to engage with SFMOMA’s extensive collection in a way that’s personalized and addictive (believe me, we can’t stop!). By sending a text to 572-51 with the phrase “Send me _______,” you can receive a piece of art that is selected from the museum’s 35,000 pieces and curated based on your request. No elaborate descriptions are necessary as the technology responds to emojis, emotive words and even colors. What are you waiting for? Text a request... or three, now!

4.  The Battle for the Donor: Direct Mail vs. Email

People say the written word is dead but in the nonprofit sector, that may not be the case at all. A collaborative study between Grey Matter Research and Opinions 4 Good called “The Donor Mindset Study III,” found that in certain instances, donors are more likely to read direct mail as opposed to email. The study states that paper holds several advantages over correspondence of the digital kind when it comes to communicating emotional, touching stories and conveying facts and information. Direct mail, the study points out, is also favored by those giving less than $100 donations. Want to know whether or not your organization should be emailing or sending out direct mail? The above link provides a more detailed run down of the study.

5.  Step One: Admit You Have a Problem

A new report from the Building Movement Project found that nonprofits perform just as badly as the rest of the workforce when it comes to navigating issues of race, sexuality and gender. Because there is no legal protection against discrimination for members of the LGBTQ community in many states, many nonprofits openly discriminate against LGBTQ people, particularly those of color. Find out three recommendations for how your organization can tackle this bias by taking a look at the linked article.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re off to pant alongside our furry friends in front of the fan. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

 

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Friday Five: May 26, 2017

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DID YOU KNOW: It’s legally required to observe a one minute National Moment of Remembrance wherever you are, at 3 p.m. local time.

 

The Civil War claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S. history. By the late 1860s, Americans began to pay tribute to the countless fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers. This tradition evolved into what we know today as Memorial Day. In addition to honoring the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Military, the holiday's three-day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Whether you're visiting a memorial, attending a parade, or chilling at a poolside barbecue, remember the reason for that extra day off of work. And before you head out for the first sunburn of the season, take a look at these five nonprofit and social enterprise headlines.

1. Tech Giants, Nonprofits, A.I. (...Oh My!)

The Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, created in 2016, is a consortium of tech giants and nonprofit organizations launching initiatives centered around artificial intelligence as a means to address social issues. As of this week, the Partnership on AI has 14 companies (including Google, Apple and Facebook) and 20 nonprofit partners (including UC Berkeley, UNICEF and Humans Right Watch) that have made a commitment to the cause. Through the collaborative efforts of these organizations, the Partnership on AI hopes to shed light on issues such as ethics, privacy, security and values. Can AI help to safeguard the future? Or are we engineering our own demise? Click on the link above to find out.

2. Friends With Benefits

More and more nonprofits are teaming up with commercial news organizations to form partnerships that are mutually beneficial. While the nonprofits are gaining exposure (and funding) for their cause, the news publishers are receiving expert reporting on issues to which they don't have time to devote their own resources. Many of these partnerships are contractual and include payment to the nonprofit, much like freelancers, for their contributions. Check out the link to learn more about these relationships, how they can benefit your nonprofit and to see sample contracts.

3. Can You Imagine A World Without Any Historical Sites?

As a result of greenhouse emissions, rising water and erosion, some of the world's precious historical sites are being threatened. One shoreline being cut away by the sea, Tasmania's Port Arthur, offers just one of numerous examples of heritage sites and parks that are being affected by climate change. Archeologists, coastal consultants, and the UN's World Heritage Convention alike are trying to address the conundrum of protecting sites without altering their cultural significance. The Italian city of Venice, New York's Lady Liberty, Montana's Glacier National Park and Australia's Great Barrier Reef are just a few of the sites in question. Discover more about what's threatening the historical sites in your community by following the above link. Who knows? Maybe you can help save them!

4. Nonprofits, Unite!

Software platforms, social networks and digital wallets are rich examples of the many ways technology has helped the nonprofit world to connect with donors, organize movements and expand their mission's reach. Since the pace of innovation will not be slowing down anytime soon, nonprofits need to adjust their business models in order to keep up.Collaboration is one way to maximize a nonprofit’s potential through the continual flow of new ideas and the ability to spread the risk among participants. The linked article features nine vital considerations for nonprofits looking to collaborate. Working together achieves far more than working alone. Why not give it a try?

5. Getting Techie With (Ar)t

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced it will be providing grants totaling more than $1.87 million to 12 art museums exploring innovative ways in which technology can encourage museum visitors to connect with art. The Detroit Institute of Art, one of the grant recipients, is using the funding to create 3-D animations of its collection, while the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina is developing an interactive staircase and public art installation. And it doesn't stop there! Ten other art museums are getting techie with it. See the full list of grant recipients by clicking the link above.

That’s all we’ve got for the Friday Five this week! Don't be alarmed if we're as red as tomatoes when you see us back here next week.  

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

 

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FRIDAY FIVE: MAY 19, 2017

DID YOU KNOW: The month of May is named after the Greek goddess Maia, the mother of Hermes.

 

Today is May Ray Day; the day that encourages everyone to enjoy a little fun in the sun. For those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere, May is the last month of spring. Temperatures begin to rise and the anticipation of summer can be felt all around, especially for those of us living in California. In the Southern Hemisphere, however, the month of May represents the end of autumn. Those living below the equator celebrate May Ray Day by soaking up a few last minute rays before winter ushers in lower temperatures. Thinking about extending your lunch break for some extra time in the sun? Go for it… it is a holiday after all! Catch up on these five nonprofit headlines before you go, and don’t forget your sunblock.

1.  Can a Machine Measure Gender Equality?

Google.org has teamed up with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit research organization, to develop software that can correctly measure how often women are seen and heard on TV and film. The revolutionary Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ) uses machine learning to accurately identify the character’s gender, precisely how long they were speaking, and the amount of time they spent on-screen. The GD-IQ is shedding light on the gender disparity that is present in the media, and is using its data to encourage creators, executives and producers to improve the portrayal of women in TV and movies. Discover more about the GD-IQ and its findings by clicking on the link above.

2.   Is Robin Hood Alive and Well?

The Robin Hood Foundation, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, raised $54.4 million at its annual benefit on May 9. The “Night for NYC” brought together nonprofit innovators and philanthropists, celebrities, politicians, and business leaders to help rally NYC residents around its mission to improve the living standards for 1.8 million low-income New Yorkers. In addition to the benefit, Robin Hood hosted several other events around the City on May 9, including an opening bell ceremony, a vehicle donation, two concerts, and a pre-game ceremony at Yankee stadium. Read more about Robin Hood and its annual benefit by following the link above.

3.  No Octopus Garden, but the Next Best Thing

The Ocean Discovery Institute (ODI) is a nonprofit that provides hands-on science education programs to the underserved young people of City Heights in San Diego. In 2015, ODI partnered with San Diego Unified School District to create Living Lab, a cutting-edge facility that will provide a tuition-free, learning and research environment to more than 20,000 individuals per year. The strategic location of Living Lab will help to serve a neighborhood burdened by poverty in which many students have never ventured further than a few blocks from their homes, let alone seen the ocean. Living Lab has scheduled its Grand Opening event for September 16, 2017. Learn more about how ODI and Living Lab are addressing the crisis in science education by checking out the link above.

4. Is SPAM Diminishing Your Bottom Line?

The 2017 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study, conducted and released by the email-marketing platform EveryAction, shows that many emails sent by nonprofits are being misclassified as spam. This results in emails that are deleted without having been opened or read, and thus going entirely unseen. A single percentage point of fundraising emails that are marked as spam has the potential to result in an annual loss of $1,308,85. The study also found that a potential 22.2 % of fundraising revenue could be gained through email simply by keeping email lists up-to-date. According to the study, spam rates soared during fundraising season, particularly on Giving Tuesday—where it peaked with an average of 36.68 %. Check out the link above to read more about how spam is affecting your nonprofit.

5.  Grateful Dead Guitar as an Instrument to Fight Hate?

Lead guitarist and singer of the Grateful dead, Jerry Garcia’s legacy lives on. The late singer’s guitar, “Wolf,” was purchased at an auction in 2002 for $789,500 and will return to the auction block with all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is a nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. This auction is one of many ways the SPLC will continue to shed light on extremism and its shift into the mainstream. Where will “Wolf” next call home? How about your place?! Take a look at the article linked above to read more.

That concludes this week’s Friday Five. Sunscreen in hand, we’re stepping outside of the office to bask in the sunshine! See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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FRIDAY FIVE: MAY 12, 2017

This one goes out to all the ladies. The mothers, to be exact.

This one goes out to all the ladies. The mothers, to be exact.

We’re just two days away from Mother’s Day. A holiday that is observed across the world, and can be traced back to ancient Greeks and Romans who held festivals in honor of their mother goddesses. While in America we tend to shower our moms with flowers, cards and gifts, other countries host feasts and sing songs in multi-day celebrations to honor their mothers. In Japan, children draw pictures of their mothers and oftentimes submit them to art contests. In Serbia, children tie up their moms until they are presented with delicious treats and small gifts. The celebrations may vary, but the sentiment is the same—moms deserve a day for all they do for us. But before you dart out to call the florist, check out these five nonprofit and social enterprise headlines from the news this week.

1.  Chocolate Can Be Good for Both Body and Soul

At this very moment, slaves (many of whom are children) are working on West African cocoa farms. Teun (Tony) van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist, has been working to change that. Without even the slightest bit of experience making chocolate, but a powerful commitment to ending child slavery, Tony’s Chocolonely was created. Tony’s model is helping to address and diminish the problem of child slavery through livable wages and traceability within the supply chain. Tony’s continues its efforts to make 100% slave free chocolate the norm by creating awareness, leading by example and inspiring others to act. Who knew doing ‘good’ could taste so sweet? Listen to the complete CauseTalkRadio interview with Tony’s by clicking on the above link.

2.  San Francisco’s Tipping Point

After a $100 million pledge by Tipping Point Community, San Francisco will attempt to reduce its chronically homeless population in half over the course of five years. This chronic population, estimated to be close to 2,000 people, is comprised of those who have lived outside for a period of at least one year and suffer from mental illness, substance abuse or other difficulties. The charitable organization’s donation, the largest of its kind, will be utilized to construct permanent housing, provide aid for various causes of homelessness, and assist the city in its efforts to gain more state and federal funding. Thanks to the generosity of its donors, Tipping Point has raised $60 million of its goal in six months. Discover more about the project by following the link above.

 3.  Museum Leadership Lacks Diversity

While many museum directors and board members believe diversity and inclusivity are vital to the advancement of their missions, a new report by the American Alliance of Museums has found a severe lack of ethnic and age diversity in museum boards themselves. The study reports that 93 percent of museum directors are white, as well as 92.6 percent of board chairs and 89.3 of board members. These findings have led to a call for museum leadership to review their commitment to and strategies for deploying more gender, ethnic and age diversity within leadership roles. Learn more about the report’s findings by checking out the link above.

 4.  Queen Latifah's Movie on a Mission

When celebrities use their influence to shine light on important social issues, amazing things can happen. Queen Latifah is doing just that to bring knowledge to the masses with her newest movie project, Flint. The film, a Lifetime original, will focus on the real events surrounding the Flint water crisis, the three women who inspired a national movement for safe drinking water, and the negligence of the government officials involved. The project is currently being filmed in Toronto, and will air this coming fall. In its portrayal of “one of the great American tragedies of the century,” Flint will forsake any and all clichés to offer an accurate, informative and heart wrenching film that goes beyond pure entertainment. Click the link above to read more about the true story behind the film.

 5.  Active Kids Help the Economy

Wait! That headline doesn’t seem right. Keep reading, friends. According to a new study published in Health Affairs, increasing the physical activity of children could immensely impact the economy. Today, inactive (and consequently obese) 8- to 11-year-olds cost an estimated $3 trillion in medical expenses. If children were to live more active and productive lives, the United States has the potential to save more than $120 billion each year in healthcare and related costs. Programs like the Global Obesity Prevention Program at Johns Hopkins are conducting studies to address this very issue. By crafting research models in order to develop and implement strategies, knowledge becomes power as well as a valuable tool for policy change. Interested in reading more about this study? Take a look at the article linked above.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five. Now we’ve got to scramble to pick up a few last-minute Mother’s Day gifts! See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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FRIDAY FIVE: APRIL 28, 2017

DID YOU KNOW?: Trees are the longest living organisms on the planet.

DID YOU KNOW?: Trees are the longest living organisms on the planet.

April may be drawing to a close, but spring is in full swing! Today marks the 145th celebration of Arbor Day, which has seen more than 250 million trees planted throughout the world. The holiday was founded with the belief that the planting of trees represents the cultivation of beauty and hope for the future. Trees themselves have been celebrated since ancient times as symbols of life, new beginnings, shelter, and strength. Don’t have a green thumb? No need to worry, you can still check out these five headlines from nonprofit news this week. They will leave you pining for more! (Pun very much intended).

1.  What if a Video Game Could Cure Cancer?

HopeLab was founded with the purpose to do just that—create a video game that would enable children to fight cancer. HopeLab’s mission is to use science, design and technology to improve the health and wellness of children and young adults. Its first game, Re-Mission, encourages kids to take their medication correctly, and facilitates more favorable outcomes of their treatment. Studies have shown that the game has resulted in positive physiological, neurological and psychological changes in the kids who have played it. Discover more about HopeLab’s various other programs, projects and partnerships by clicking on the link above.

2.  How “Good” is Your Workplace?

Nonprofits, governmental agencies and companies alike can audit workplace health through an advanced scoring rubric designed by GoodWell. This process looks beyond profitability and focuses on 11 key indicators, including: working conditions, wages and pay gaps amongst employees. The test is pass-fail, and employers must attain a positive result in each category to achieve certification. Scores are shared, giving employers a chance to see how they stack up against competitors within the same industry. Would your employer pass this audit? Check out the link above to learn more.

3.  The Nonprofit Migration

Bay Area nonprofits are scrambling to find solutions as significant increases in commercial rent are driving dozens of organizations out of downtown Oakland. Many of these nonprofits will have to relocate for a third time after already having been forced out of San Francisco due to unfeasible costs. Low-income and minority mission-based organizations, that can no longer afford to rent space downtown, are being hit the hardest by their displacement. Will these nonprofits find a home? Read more by following the above link.

4.  The Value of the Volunteer

According to volunteer data collected by Independent Sector in 2016, the value of one volunteer hour is estimated to be worth $24.14. More than 63 million Americans volunteered last year, completing approximately 8 billion hours of work. The time and talent given to religious, educational, social and community service organizations by volunteers is immensely beneficial in efforts to better our communities. Want to learn more about the value of your volunteer time? The above link provides a state-by-state breakdown.

5.  From the Lab to the Streets

This past Saturday, on Earth Day, various cities across the country (and internationally) saw tens of thousands of scientists and science supporters taking to the streets for the March for Science. This march represented efforts for recognition of science in society, and to protest threats of cuts to funding within the science community. Science and politics merged during this rally, and much like the Women’s March in January, issues of diversity and inclusion emerged. For more information, take a look at the linked article.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re off to take a nice stroll in the sunshine. We may even hug a few trees while we’re at it. See you next week! 

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

 

 

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Friday Five: March 31, 2017

Stańczyk, The Prussian Homage (detail), Jan Matejko, Oil on canvas, 1882, 388 x 875 cm, National Museum in Kraków

Stańczyk, The Prussian Homage (detail), Jan Matejko, Oil on canvas, 1882, 388 x 875 cm, National Museum in Kraków

Happy day before April Fool’s Day! In Medieval Europe, the court fool was a multi-purpose entertainer who could sing, perform feats of illusion, or do whatever else was asked of him. Keeping the court happy was his main job, but his most important job was to speak truth to power. Only the fool could insult the king and keep his head. Try not to lose your head as you catch up on these five stories in nonprofit news.

1.  A Gift Right Now in a Galaxy Not Too Far From Our Own

Most of us know George Lucas as the man who gave us the sagas of the Skywalker family and the epic adventures of Indiana Jones, but in nonprofit circles the visionary filmmaker is equally well known for his philanthropy. When he sold his Star Wars universe to Disney, Lucas used the $4 billion in proceeds to fund education. Most recently, he continued his patronage of the USC School of Cinematic Arts by donating $10 million to support continuing diversity projects at his Alma Mater, citing the need to raise up new filmmakers of color. Find out more about Lucas' philanthropy.

2.  “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump frequently promised to donate the $400,000 presidential salary to charity. While the White House has yet to announce where he will donate the money at the end of the year, the internet has already weighed in. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has conducted an informal online survey of more than 21,000 people as to where the money should go. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation led the pack followed by several other disease-related organizations and a number of veterans groups.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy has already forwarded the top ten charities to the White House, but you can get all the details at the link above.

3.  But How Can a River Appear in Court?

The concept of corporate personhood is a fiercely debated subject in American politics, and the governments of India and New Zealand have further complicated the matter by declaring that bodies of water have personhood as well. In India, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, which are sacred in the Hindu religion, have been declared to possess the legal rights of humans as part of an effort to clean and preserve the heavily polluted waters. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the Whanganui River (also known as the Te Awa Tupua) has been endowed with legal personhood after the local Maori community won a 170 year legal battle to perserve a landmark of immense cultural importance to them.  Learn more about the legal ramifications of these rulings at Nonprofit Quarterly.

4.  Time for Some New Ideas

One of the great American heroes is the entrepreneur. Intrepid, bold geniuses who start something in their garage and sometimes succeed in changing the world. Fast Company has announced the twelve winners of their World Changing Ideas Awards, which rewards potential innovations in social entrepreneurship. From edible six-pack rings to 3D printing replacement organs, all of these outside-the-box ideas have the potential to make the world better in a big way. Read about the twelve winners (and the 192 finalists) at the Fast Company announcement.

5.  This Certainly Puts a Spin on Being Your Own Boss

A big part of any leader’s job is coaching his/her employees--guiding them through their responsibilities and helping them to reflect on their failures.  But when you’re on the top, who coaches you? You do, of course. It may seem odd to act as your own best cheerleader and best critic, but Jean Lobell, Mohan Sikka and Pavitra Menon have laid out several strategies for self-coaching so that you can, in essence, be your own boss. At least for your performance reviews. Find out how to be your own best boss at Nonprofit Quarterly.

Remember, don’t believe anything you read on the internet tomorrow. Unless it’s from us, of course. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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Friday Five: March 24th, 2017

California, here we are. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

California, here we are. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Here in Los Angeles an unusually wet winter has produced a bloom of wildflowers unlike any recent memory. Drive down any of our well known, if not well loved, freeways and you’ll see bright bursts of yellow, pink and purple. We know that a bright green spring is still just around the corner for some of you, but until then, keep your spirits up with five stories from this week in nonprofit news.

1. Have You Heard About Giving? Everyone’s Doing It 

GoFundMe is already six years old, but it feels like the crowdfunding website has only recently truly come into its own.  Even as it has risen in prominence as a charitable giving tool, it also finds itself competing against viral phenomenon like the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which swept the Internet three years ago. Ben Payter writes about this growing phenomenon at Fast Company, as well as the complexities it poses for the world of nonprofits.  Viral giving is powerful, but tends to focus on helping on an individual’s suffering as opposed to systematically attacking the root causes of the problem. It’s not all bad news; however, as Payter points out that the real strength of viral giving is in its marketing capabilities. The Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million for research, but the value of spreading awareness about the disease may be incalculable.

2.  An Age Old Quandary

No one gets into the nonprofit world to make a fortune. They get into it because they care about helping people, because they’re dedicated to a cause, and because they want to make the world a better place.  At the same time, nonprofit workers have to eat and keep a roof over their heads, and the realities of the nonprofit labor market are turning into a serious problem.  Writing at Nonprofit Quarterly, Martin Levine details how rising minimum wages and broken state budgets are pushing nonprofit worker dedication to the limit by using the difficulties of home health care workers as a case study.  At what point does the need to pay rent win out over dedication to one’s cause?

3.  The Clan Patriarch Laid to Rest

David Rockefeller, the oldest living member of the Rockefeller family, passed away this week at the ripe old age of 101.  Ever since John D. Rockefeller Sr. founded the Standard Oil Company, philanthropy and public service has been a major interest of the family, and David (John D. Rockefeller’s grandson) was no exception. In a tribute at The Nonprofit Times, Andy Segedin details Rockefellers contributions to arts, education, and medicine, with special focus on the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which David founded with his four elder brothers. While most of us may not have Rockefeller’s wealth, we can all learn something from his life story of generosity.

4. Donors Race to Keep the Wheels on Meals

The recent White House budget blueprint cut funding for a large number of domestic spending programs, but few received the same media attention as the potential impact on Meals On Wheels, which provides meals for housebound seniors. But as the old saying goes, all publicity is good publicity. Meals on Wheels was shocked to discover that their Twitter followers, donors and volunteers sign-ups skyrocketed following the release of the budget blueprint. At The Nonprofit Times, Mark Hrywna runs down the numbers behind the donor race to support Meals on Wheels.

5. Companies Need Give Like They Mean It 

Charity donations and cause marketing have always been a tried and true way for corporations to put a little shine on their reputations among the general public.  However, as time has passed and baby boomers have given way to millennials, attitudes towards corporations and social responsibility have changed.  Emma Bazilian of AdWeek details the generational breakdown with a useful infographic. Millennials in particular are notably far more skeptical of brands claiming to support causes than previous generations, while at the same time actively seeking out brands that they feel are aligned with their values. Check out Bazilian’s work to learn more, as well as how boomers and millennials stack up against Generation X as well.

That’s it for this Friday! We’re going to head outside for a walk in the park and hope the pollen doesn’t kill us. See you next week!

Can’t get enough of the Friday Five? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and send your questions about the nonprofit world to info@b-alaw.com. We’ll be back next week!

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