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Friday Five

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Friday Five: June 24, 2016

Dance like there's no tomorrow. Or maybe don't.

Happy June 24th! We’re dancing for joy that it’s Friday.

On this day in 1374, a sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion. In some cases, people suffered from cardiac arrest or died from injuries.

We would like to revise and amend our opening paragraph: we are… sitting with joy that it’s Friday. Calmly.

Here are five must-reads (one of them is actually a must-watch) from and about the nonprofit world:

1) Osocio is a central online hub dedicated to social advertising, defined as advertising from nonprofit organizations that seeks to connect us with other human beings. The embedded video from Agency Jung von Matt/Limmat AG does a great job of visualizing what it’s like to live with fear and significant anxiety. Anxiety is an ‘invisible’ illness, and the two agencies are doing important work to illustrate that people may be dealing with burdens and challenges we know nothing about and encouraging us to think more broadly about mental health:
http://osocio.org/message/fear-is-a-serious-disability/

Learn more about Osocio here: http://osocio.org/about-osocio/

2) Can spreadsheets really get you fired? If they’re combined with hubris and overconfidence, absolutely. Brian Lauterbach at Network for Good digs into his own past so that you can learn from his mistakes and avoid a similar fate:
http://www.networkforgood.com/nonprofitblog/how-spreadsheets-got-me-fired/

3) If you’re a board member who’s wondering how to lean in towards board activity or looking for ways to make your nonprofit better, this blog has some great suggestions for you—everything from learning staff members’ names to insisting to the executive director that “Yes, it is totally acceptable for you to buy a better chair so you won’t be suffering from constant back pain.” Read all about it:
http://nonprofitwithballs.com/2016/06/25-things-awesome-board-members-do/

(There’s also a great link in the 25 Awesome Things article to another article on why the Oxford Comma is so essential. #OxfordCommaForever! http://nonprofitwithballs.com/2016/04/the-role-of-the-oxford-comma-in-nonprofit-communications/ )

4) Culture, culture, culture. The disastrous collapse of the Healing Arts Initiative, a New York City-based nonprofit that made arts accessible to isolated and marginalized people, should remind everyone that even if you’ve got a badass executive director who can ferret out corruption like a private eye, it’s all for nothing if you don’t have the right culture in place:
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/06/10/culture-suck-how-a-bad-ethical-culture-can-doom-a-good-nonprofit

5) Shane Bauer (the American journalist who spent two years in prison in Iran) worked with The Mother Jones Investigative Fund to go undercover as a U.S. prison guard at a privately-run (vs. government-run) prison in Louisiana to expose the prison industrial complex. Bauer’s article is thorough, phenomenal and deeply disconcerting:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/cca-private-prisons-corrections-corporation-inmates-investigation-bauer

This has been the Friday Five. Join us next week for help staying on top of pertinent nonprofit articles, topics , and insights, and remember to contact us (link to info@b-alaw.com) if you have any questions about your own nonprofit or board!

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Friday Five: May 6, 2016

Happy Friday! We can confirm the old saying that April flowers bring May showers because today, it’s raining. Or is it sprinkling? [1]

1) Our first book recommendation to crack the Friday Five is Adam Grant’s Give and Take, a tremendously heartening read for anyone involved with philanthropy or volunteering. Grant is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton Business School in its history, and one can clearly see why in his insightful, thoughtful prose.

Give and Take identifies three different types of people — givers, matchers, and takers — and makes a firm, evidence-based case that being a giver can be beneficial to your career and life… as long as you’re giving without expectation of a direct benefit and making sure to take care of yourself.

About the only complaint one can make about Give and Take is that it follows the familiar Malcolm Gladwell formula of blending anecdotes (complete with twist endings) data and pop psychology to a T. That being said, there’s bad ersatz Gladwell and good ersatz Gladwell; Give and Take falls firmly into the latter category:
http://www.powells.com/book/give-take-a-revolutionary-approach-to-success-978067                 0026555/1-12

2) ICYMI: Gene Takagi’s rundown on everything wrong with California Assembly Bill 2855, and how to stop it:
http://www.nonprofitlawblog.com/oppose-california-ab-2855-the-required-overhead-disclosure-bill/

Our signal boost for AB2855 opposition is here:
http://b-alaw.com/blog/2016/5/4/ab2855-is-a-very-bad-bill-for-nonprofits-why-did-it-advance-through-committee-and-how-can-you-help-stop-it

3) Beth was interviewed by Urban Wealth Management, which is hosting a great series of discussions with leaders in the world of philanthropy. Learn exactly why it’s so important for nonprofits to “think private, act public”:
http://urbanwm.com/blog/your-life-your-legacy-conversation-beth-bergman

4) Applying for a job? Nonprofits with Balls, a blog worth following has a nonprofit-specific list of things not to do. # 1: Don’t use the font Comic Sans. [Ed: People actually use that font? How? WHY??] A more surprising and counterintuitive tip is that you should take notes during the job interview.
http://nonprofitwithballs.com/2016/04/hey-job-applicants-stop-doing-these-dumbass-things/#more-3358

5) Roz Lemieux, the CEO of Attentively and founding partner at Fission Strategy, has a guest post at Beth Kanter’s blog on how nonprofits can best use social media. She talks in detail about the importance of “social listening," i.e., paying attention to what your followers are saying on the various online platforms. Since Beth literally wrote the book(s) on how nonprofits should best use social media, this is a blog entry you don’t want to miss:
http://www.bethkanter.org/social-listening/

That’s all for this week. Join us next week for your updates on what's new in the nonprofit world!

[1] Disclaimer: Accuracy compels us to acknowledge that as of press time, it is not yet raining in LA, but it’s raining somewhere.

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Friday Five: February 26, 2016

Friday Five: Five Useful Articles for February 26, 2016

It’s been an eventful February in the nonprofit world—the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, ongoing laws being proposed and passed in state legislatures, and, of course, the ever-closer April 15 deadline for annual tax filings.

Here are five links to help you through the cold (Okay, cold for those of you in the northern half of the country. We live in L.A. We’re only dimly aware of this thing called “weather”):

• The inimitable Gene Takagi at NEO law group has a set of 5 helpful fundraising tips for nonprofit organizations:

http://goo.gl/lQQONN

• The conservative blog The Federalist highlights some potential problems with Donald Trump’s veterans charity donations:

http://goo.gl/RHytHz

• The Nonprofit Quarterly is not impressed with Facebook’s new “Facebook for Nonprofits” site. (ED—One small disagreement w/ Nonprofit Quarterly: based on personal experience, some nonprofit orgs are not up to date with Facebook pages, and will probably find the page useful—G.M.)

http://goo.gl/VMZAmR

• JDSupra Business Advisor illuminates the additional scrutiny that Congress is bringing to colleges’ large endowment funds:  

http://goo.gl/WmJQB8

• Finally, the creators of thatswhatshesaid, a new one-woman show which extensively quotes other recent plays, are duking it out with play publisher Samuel French over fair use Arts administrator Howard Sherman has an interesting and balanced look at the case:

http://goo.gl/fQJhPA

Written by Erin Pike and Courtney Meaker, thatswhatshesaid, critiques the female character descriptions in the ten most produced plays of 2015, but it’s constructed entirely from quotations from those ten plays, and used without the playwrights’ permission. * Samuel French sent a cease-and-desist letter; the actress and director are fighting back.

Got non-profit questions? Send them our way at info@b-alaw.com, or call us at (213) -736-5101. And remember to follow us on twitter @bergmanalldlaw for more updates!

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*The concept of fair use allows a creator to quote other works for purposes of ‘criticism,’ but there isn’t a whole lot of straightforward precedent to rely on in general, and particularly with this case.

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