For the nonprofit data nerd in all of us, there are many productive ways to slice and dice the data from this year’s survey. The Nonprofit Finance Fund and Bank of America surveyed more than 6000 nonprofits and derived a few key learnings. One that stood out to me:
Under these challenging [financial] conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:
- For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.
- This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.
- Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.
- 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.
For me, the survey re-highlighted to (the cynic in) me how struggling nonprofits need to humble/smart enough to fold or merge. While I certainly don’t want to see their constituencies’ needs completely unaddressed, I do want to see more collaborative and stable approaches to tackling concerns like jobs and housing. Right now, segmentation is huge, creating a greater-than-necessary competition for resources, which means nobody can do their job and address needs quite as well.
Originally I was hoping to do some data visualizations with really old census stuff, but then I stumbled upon all of these amazing ones that had already been done.
Jonathan Soma, the Brainery co-founder who created A Handsome Atlas, which is basically a treasure trove of awesome data depictions. He’s doing a great job of finding and re-presenting archival material through a fresh lens, so check it out!
Bottom line: This article argues that 20 and 30-somethings with wealth want to clearly see how their financial gift will advance a cause, but that they also respect established histories of giving in their family. Makes sense. I’m excited to see more stories in the coming years on what causes specifically millennial donors are giving to, and how exactly philanthropic gifts from these young, wealthy donors have impacted communities.
The Super Bowl statistic we aren’t talking about.
via The Enliven Project:
1 out of 6 men on the field next Sunday could be survivors of sexual violence.
That’s right, 1 out of 6.
Just to be clear, we don’t know whether specific players have had specific experiences. We simply want to you to look at the men in your class, the men in your family, and the men on your favorite sports team with this statistic in mind.
Too much shame and stigma exists for all victims of sexual violence. But the stigma is even greater for men, many of whom believe they should have been able to protect themselves or fear that friends and family members will think less of them if they come forward.
There have been a handful of brave and courageous men – R.A. Dickey, Tyler Perry, Scott Brown, and Keyon Dooling to name a few – who have stepped forward and are generous in sharing their stories and experiences so that others can be less afraid to break silence. But these men are not the exception. And their stories are more common than you think.
I respect and support this awareness campaign. Share if you do, too.
For staff members to feel empowered, they need to believe that management communicates a clear direction for the future, that they are working in alignment with the CEO and board, that the foundation cares about them, and that their performance reviews are fair and helpful.
One of the key findings in the recently released study by the Center for Effective Philanthropy: Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction.
As always, CEP put together a thoughtful report that is well-researched and helpful for guiding best practices in the foundation world.
Gmail being down feels scarier than expected. Realizations:
- I am so used to having it passively open at all times that I feel disconnected and anxious when it goes away.
- There is so much personal history / record-keeping on it that if something ever were to happen with gmail, I would lose that life data.
- I should research and cover backups in my gmail class.
- Google is assumed to be fairly perfect. It has changed how things on the Internet are done. We trust it, partially because there’s little choice not to and partially because there hasn’t been a convincing reason not to. Will this change trust? Probably not. Should it? Not sure.
- Others share my addiction to gmail, need to connect, and fright. Citing: Twitter.
It’s back up now (kind of; still not working properly), like that last 5 minutes were a strange blip in my reality, but these thoughts remain.
Does your organization want to know more about your younger donors and volunteers?
Yes? You should make your organization a Millennial Research Project partner!
Since 2010, more than 10,000 Millennials have participated in the Millennial Impact Research studies. The Millennial Impact Project is the most comprehensive research on Millennials, covering topics including how they (my generation) connect, involve and support causes. The intent of the research is to understand engagement preferences of the next generation of donors, volunteers and leaders. Building on previous research, the 2013 Millennial Impact Project will provide findings on the specific triggers that motivate Millennials to give, volunteer and lead. The 2013 research will include two parts:
- A nationally disseminated online survey to Millennials.
- Video recorded feedback from Millennials on messaging and collateral – including direct mail & email solicitations, newsletters, social media posts, and nonprofit websites.
The goal is to understand the influence of peer engagement, design, and messaging and to help Millennials act in the moment. The research findings will be released in July 2013 at the next MCON, a virtual and in person conference on Millennial engagement.
Organizations can participate in the Millennial Research Project as a Distribution Partner (help disseminate the 2013 online survey to Millennial constituents) or Content Partner (providing materials like newsletters, solicitations, and volunteer recruitment flyers to directly advance research). Both have benefits, of course!
I care about this research, because our generation, the Millennial generation, is an important constituency that has not always had the best reputation. But, we’re already making impact, and we can make more by better understanding and tapping into our potential. Research works; it makes skills and tools for engagement concrete, and it proves a track record of engagement. The more organizations that participate, the more accurate and helpful the data gathered will be. I don’t want to see just the top tier of engaged organizations, for instance, participate, because the research wouldn’t be representative. With a greater, more diverse, pool of participants, I think our communities and country can really learn something and leverage the Millennial generation for good.
Brainstorming: A History and Future
I really liked this infographic and experiment. Below it, I’ve included a few more brainstorming exercises that I think work well. I don’t think there’s a catch-all answer.
Brainstorming about Brainstorming… more exercises to try
These are a few from my experience; please add yours, too!
- Pitch Not-Your-Own Idea: Write your idea down on a sheet of paper. Mix the ideas up and distribute randomly. Every person pitches the idea they now have (likely not theirs), meaning they have to own it and do whatever they can to support it in front of the group. It forces people to challenge their own biases stemming from who pitched an idea or how it was pitched, and everyone contributes. (via MaxFunCon 2011 workshop with Kasper Hauser)
- Stickywall: People contribute ideas (either outloud or written) that are then literally stuck to the wall. The facilitator can then physically rearrange and cluster thoughts. It’s a great visual tool and a way to include as many ideas as exist in a room without being overwhelming. (via Rachael Swanson from my time on the LIFT student advisory board.)
- Build-the-Idea: Someone gives an idea. Someone else builds on it through acceptance of the idea and addition of information. Still another person builds on that by again accepting all pieces of the idea and then adding to it. Each idea should go through at least 3 iterations before moving onto the next. This allows the group to really play with possibilities of an idea, support oneanother, and have some fun. (via my improv classes and inspired by an earlier post).
Analyzing Networks // Wolfram Alpha Takes on Facebook
Wolfram Alpha, a cool tool for learning anything about everything, just added integration with Facebook so you can analyze your network. As someone who is fascinated by the people who surround me, I tested it out and it was definitely both fun and interesting.
Some of my favorite findings worth sharing here (though I question the complete accuracy):
Most common friends’ names:
Sarah (23) | Rachel (22) | Michael (19) | David (18) | Jason (18)
Single (24.5%) | Married (29.5%) | Engaged (9%) | In a Relationship (34%)
Female (58.3%) | Male (41.7%)
Most commented on status:
The one after I was hit by a truck last summer (37 comments)
Word frequencies for wall posts:
friends (96) | know (79) | new (70) | fun (69) | please (69) |
people (66) | good (63) | really (62) | day (61) | awesome (58)
And my visualization of my network, which I think I might adopt as a personal branding tool / logo for all things connector. (What do you think?)
Sam’s new project, ACMEScience News Now launched today, and wow is it fascinating! I’m so proud! Here is the full first episode, in which we learn about crowdsourcing as a scientific tool. I love crowdsourcing* and really appreciated the perspective in this interview.
“The crowd identifies things that are unexpected.” - Paul Hines
*look for a post based on crowdsourced information regarding toilet paper early next week!
Check out Arts for Transit (the app or the website) to learn more about the incredible artwork in the NYC subways. There are a lot of gems and significance; read up on your favorite stations to appreciate them even more. As an example, here’s what I see as I arrive at work every day:
and here’s what they have to say:
57th Street - 7th Avenue
Carnegie Hall Montage, 1994
Ceramic tiles on north and south mezzanine walls; porcelain enamel on north mezzanine wall
Carnegie Hall Montage is a colorful arrangement of images in porcelain on steel that shows the range of artists who have performed on the world-renowned stage. Some depict Carnegie Hall’s classical pedigree, such as Leonard Bernstein and Marian Anderson, for example, while others portray the Beatles, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Eleanor Roosevelt, as testament to the importance of the stage. Nearby, hundreds of white tiles with text commemorate the names, professions, and appearance date of notables who graced Carnegie’s stage. In the words of Carnegie Hall activist Gino Francesconi: “I have always felt that the subway station directly below Carnegie Hall should reflect the history of the building just as the subways of Moscow and Paris do their own cultural institutions … It reminds one of the connection between the city and its art.”
Idealist.org Releases Surveys About Employment in the Nonprofit Sector
- They are experienced: 30% of job seekers are over the age 50; 26% have more than 11 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
- They value opportunities for career development: In fact, this is one of the top reasons job seekers who are currently employed full-time (33%) are looking to leave their current organizations.
- They are committed in and outside of the office: 83% of job seekers have volunteered, demonstrating an interest in staying and growing in the sector.
- They want to hear from hiring managers: The number one challenge job seekers face is the lack of communication from employers. In fact, 86% say they never receive any feedback or follow up at all.
- They wear many hats: 84% have responsibilities in at least one other area, most often program management, office/facilities management, and communications.
- They appreciate attention to detail: Because they have to juggle multiple responsibilities, hiring managers place emphasis on potential employees following instructions in order to move through the hiring process as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- They also prefer job seekers not call: Also because of their limited time and resources, 40% of hiring managers prefer that you not follow up about your job application status.
- They value passion: 86% say that understanding their organization’s mission is very important.
Looking forward to combing through!