It’s March in the annual fund. If you’re on a calendar fiscal year, you’re starting to get those first results in and get a feel for how people are responding in 2014. If you’re on an academic fiscal year, you’re seeing fourth quarter looming on the horizon and planning those final appeals. If you’re on a...well, it’s always “That Time Of Year” in the annual fund, isn’t it? And the goal remains the same – more people giving more dollars.Read more

The social evolution of consumers brought about by the ubiquitous spread of social media has had a consequence likely not anticipated by many in the nonprofit or business communities: an unprecedented increase in Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR.  CSR is nothing new – corporations and businesses of all types and sizes have aligned themselves with nonprofits through cause-marketing and other co-branding initiatives for decades.  Yet the advent and spread of social media communications, which has effectively broken down the barriers to interaction between consumers and corporate entities, has ushered in an era of openness and transparency that few could have foreseen.Read more

Data is being created at an alarming pace, as information is collected from a growing range of sources such as social media, smart phones, tablets, cameras, satellites, remote sensors and other emerging technologies.  In fact, IBM estimates that as of 2012 an additional 2.5 exabytes of data is created every day – the equivalent of all words ever spoken by every single human being in history.  Data is neither intrinsically good nor bad – it simply is; it exists.  It is what we use data for that causes controversy.  It’s hard to be for or against data, but the use of data by government and businesses to determine buying behavior, track calling patterns or display advertising as we surf the web – are popular topics in today’s digital world.Read more

2013 saw a growing and widespread call for a fundamental change in the way we evaluate nonprofit effectiveness.  For far too long, nonprofits have been rated based on overhead ratios, and 2013 saw a long-overdue call for sanity in the sector.  Overhead ratios have a place in nonprofit management, but unfortunately in the nonprofit sector, over reliance on this one metric to the exclusion of all others has led us down the dangerous path to “The Starvation Cycle,” wherein nonprofit funders use low expenditures on overhead as a criteria to grant funding and nonprofits squeeze overhead at the expense of important management and infrastructure investments, and at times even misrepresent spending, in order to gain funding.  Low expenditures by some cause an increase in competition, and the entire sector becomes a victim of the starvation cycle. Read more

Over the past several years, Big Data, Data Analytics and Data Visualization have become some of the noisiest buzzwords in the nonprofit lexicon.   Data, analytics, and reporting together form the basis of business intelligence, and while many nonprofits are developing core competencies in one or the other of these key functions, it takes a true organization-wide commitment and approach to achieve the benefits of BI and data-driven decision making.  Read more

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