Quintessentially British. Located at the top of the renamed Elizabeth Tower—rising 320 feet above Westminster, London—the famous clock known as Big Ben began to tick on May 31, 1859. After a fire ravaged much of the Palace of Westminster (the British Parliament headquarters) in October 1834, a design for the new palace was set forth. A standout feature of the project was to be a large clock atop a tower. Sir George Airy, the royal astronomer, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, a feat that many clockmakers at the time dismissed as impossible. But with the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a barrister and expert of horology—the science of measuring time, Airy succeeded in producing a clock that is now famous for its accurate timekeeping. Big Ben’s accuracy is achieved by the steady movement of the clock's hands, guaranteed by a stack of coins placed on the clock’s gigantic pendulum. During nighttime, all four of Big Ben’s clock faces (each 23 feet in diameter) are lit, and a light above the clock is illuminated to indicate to the public when Parliament is in session. There are two competing narratives as to how the clock got its name. Some theorize it is nicknamed for a 19th century boxing champion, Benjamin Caunt, while others argue it is named after a Welsh engineer who oversaw the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament after the 1834 fire, Sir Benjamin Hall. Now that we’ve got you browsing flights to London for the next three-day weekend, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.
Two types of language most commonly used for nonprofit and mission-based narratives are identity-first language and person-first language. Identity-first language defines individuals by their conditions—for example, a “homeless person,” while person-first language identifies the person first then adds a characteristic –for instance, a person experiencing homelessness.” Both languages are most frequently seen in donor- and funder-targeted materials and are used to evoke an emotional response that will lead to gifts. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, this type of “othering” language does a disservice to the individuals serviced by nonprofits. Have you examined the language used by your organization? Click on the link above to discover how your nonprofit can rewrite its narratives to empower, not victimize or dehumanize, individuals.
The number of nonprofit organizations in the United States is now approaching 1.8 million, as more than 93 percent of tax-exempt applications were approved last year by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). With fewer than 100 out of 91,975 applications rejected by the IRS in 2017, the nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly saturated. Drastic steps taken by the IRS to expedite the tax-exempt application process with the shortened form 1023 and the high rate of approvals may be indicative of both resource constraints as well as budget stress. How will the high-rate of approvals for tax-exempt status impact your nonprofit? Check out the link above from The NonProfit Times to read more.
Through its work with foundations and nonprofits, the Monitor Institute by Deloitte has focused on the concept of “adaptive strategy.” This concept stems from the idea that organizations must do more than set a destination in its crosshairs—it must also execute and adjust over time. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, advancements in the disciplines of execution management, data science and innovation are influencing the way nonprofit leaders approach strategy and have created new opportunities to increase impact. Want to know how your organization can adapt by integrating insights from these fields? Follow the link above to find examples and start turning strategy into a verb!
Grant writing is unlike any other type of writing as it requires a nuanced, specialized skill set that melds personable and analytical writing. Because nonprofit organizations need supplementary support while putting together grant proposals, grant writers are now in high demand. But what traits make a candidate stand out when applying to fill a grant writing position? Before considering your next hire, click on the link above from Forbes to discover nine traits of effective grant writers.
More than three-quarters of students entering college feel as though it is their duty to help those in need. While this sentiment has grown steadily in the past few years, only 26 percent of all college students actually volunteer—a number lower than high school students. According to Fast Company, this is troubling as the college set is thought to have a more flexible schedule and to be more affluent and better educated than high-schoolers. Additionally, those who do not volunteer as college students, do not go on to volunteer as adults either. So what can your organization do to encourage volunteerism from students in higher education? Check out the link above for real-world examples of programs focused on encouraging students to get involved, both entrepreneurially and philanthropically.
That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re contemplating grabbing a pint at the pub after work—if we can’t be in London, that seems like the next best thing. Cheers!