Surviving the Government Shut Down


With the government shutdown leaving many Americans feeling powerless and angry, community is more important than ever. America is built on the collective action of individuals working together to solve community problems and get things done. The shutdown fiasco offers the perfect opportunity for us to revive our legacy and come together, build relationships and bridge the service gaps that have emerged from this mayhem.

Per the Federal Government, below are some of the services that are affected:

Veterans’ compensation, pension, education, and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown. New applications …read more

How to tell a story and enjoy doing it

A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907. See also other photographs of Mark Twain by A. F. Bradley taken in March 1907 in New York on Mark Twain Project Online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often use stories to illustrate a point we want to make. Storytelling is a time honored tool for passing on important information, and for demonstrating how we have come to a certain point in our lives. It can also be used to unite a community around a certain point of view. Storytelling is …read more

Will you be ready if a disaster hits your neighborhood?

September is National Preparedness Month; will you be ready in a time of disaster? 2012 had a variety of disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the California Wildfires. How would you have dealt with these events? Federal and local government can only do so much to prepare us; they are the most proactive after the event has occurred. As a community it is important that we take collective action when disaster strikes.

Below are some steps to being ready:

1) Get the training you need for disaster. Disaster Ready.Org provides online training in being prepared. Their training is geared towards …read more

Better Leverage Your Community’s Assets

Asset Map from March Social Innovation Forum (Photo credit: Aaron | Dan)

We’ve spoken in the past about how communities have within them many of the resources it needs to prosper and about how you can uncover these hidden assets through a process called asset mapping. Asset mapping is the process by a community inventories its assets and capabilities. The process can take many forms, but is a positive way of identifying both strengths and gaps and identifying a plan for moving forward. Asset based approaches to building community are not prescriptive, but rather are forms of engagement and …read more

Make That Connection Personal

Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, smartphones, and other social media tools mean we can pass messages much faster and more frequently. With everyone in a time crunch and trying to cover as much ground as possible, these tools can help us, especially when we need to transmit messages to many people. However, these tools also serve as a wall that protects us from real interactions.

In their book The Generosity Network Jennifer McCrea, Jeffrey C. Walker and Karl Weber show us how person-to-person connections lead to discovery, growth—and often amazing results. Below they give us some tips to make our …read more

Is It Your Head or Is It Your Heart?

A recent exposé detailed the failings of the 50 Worst Charities. The inquiry by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, joined by CNN, highlighted charities that channel most of the money they raise to professional solicitors, mimic other charities’ names, deceive donors on telemarketing calls, divert money and contracts to people with ties to their organizations, and use accounting tricks to inflate the amount they report spending on their missions.

This report is a hard call for donors to perform due diligence on the organizations they are asked to support.

Of course there are many nonprofits …read more

Given by Anonymous?

English: This statue is also known as “Statue of Three Lies” Lie # 1 : This is not John Harvard’s face; no picture or statue of John Harvard survived. Lie # 2 : John Harvard was not founder of Harvard University; it was founded two years prior to being renamed Harvard in 1638. Lie # 3 : The inscription says that Harvard was founded in 1638; in fact, it was founded two years earlier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it better to be an anonymous major donor? Or do donors have a need to see their names on buildings? Does …read more

Is Generation C Really Connected?


Somewhere along the line of naming generational groups from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials and on down, someone decided to name the current generation moving into adulthood Generation C. They’re the Connected Generation—connected through Facebook, Twitter, Meetup and all of the other social networking tools that were birthed along with them.

Thanks to the internet we can take online courses, interact with co-workers on Skype, play virtual games and share our life stories in a blog. Technology now makes it possible to graduate from college, find a job, perform a day’s work and get a date without …read more

A Problem that SHOULD NOT Exist

Our communities, government and the human population are becoming desensitized to the homelessness and the disenfranchised. Everybody deserves a place to sleep and something to eat. This video was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Messer and Nicole Malovany with the help of DePaul University in Chicago. Homelessness is prevalent in the United States and even more so in urban areas.

I live in Baltimore City and almost every day I see someone asking for change or food. If I have it to give I do. I watch others who will do the same and more often than …read more

Spring Fundraising Cleaning: Get the Dust Bunnies out of your Database

Spring has finally come and it’s time to throw open the windows, clean out the closet and sweep under the bed. If you haven’t cleaned up entries in your nonprofit database in a while, it’s probably a good time to do that now.

A robust database with correct names and addresses and accurate giving information is essential for effective fundraising.

Are your aware that approximately 15 percent of people move households every year and 70 percent of business contact data is out of date within one year? Ideally, your database should be thoroughly updated and scrubbed annually, but at minimum …read more