Archive for the ‘Media and Technology’ Category

I recently began learning about social network analysis (SNA), an innovative tool that helps professionals understand the often hidden relationships between people, groups, and organizations. This can be important for anyone seeking to identify the key stakeholders and relationships that affect the success of grant-supported work. It can also help organizations that are looking to identify [...]

As I sat in the lobby before a recent meeting at a nonprofit, I saw a woman carrying a stack of folders in one arm and tugging at her luggage with her free hand. She tripped, but caught herself before she spilled the stack. As she made her way out the door, I wondered if [...]

I recently presented an infographic learning session using Google+ Hangouts on Air. While I’ve scheduled virtual learning sessions through my affinity group and another organization in the past, registration numbers for these events have usually topped out around 70. But this event grew to almost 160 registrants. In order to understand why, I conducted a [...]

2013 Knight Community Information Challenge from Knight Foundation
Starting May 1, Knight Foundation will again be offering matching funds to community and place-based foundations seeking to make an impact by funding news and information projects. This year, however, the Knight Community Information Challenge is evolving.
While the challenge will continue to be an open [...]

I had a great time at the Council’s Annual Conference in Chicago. There were so many highlights and packed workshops, especially the lunch plenary featuring the mayors of Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.
One thing that made it especially fun was the cool new app sponsored by the Knight Foundation. When I first downloaded it, I [...]

Thomas Jefferson is often quoted as having said: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Even a man of Jefferson’s brilliance could scarcely imagine the collapse of the newspaper industry, which was [...]

It’s a little unfair to sit through a 90-minute panel and laud it for what it covered and rap it for what it missed, but in a way, that’s the challenge of sessions at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference. Listening to the discussions is a matter of looking for trends and patterns, the big [...]

This nation has a proud history of journalism, long tied most closely to newspapers. But the newspaper industry, as we know, has experienced a severe decline in recent years. The signs of this decline were evident to many of us in my hometown of Detroit back in 1987, when our two highly competitive newspapers, the Detroit [...]

Over the last several decades, accountability reporting, especially at the local level, has contracted dramatically, with potentially grave consequences for communities, government responsiveness, and democracy. Nonprofit media has the potential to partly fill this vacuum but faces obstacles as a result of outdated IRS rules.
A report by the Nonprofit Media Working Group (NMWG) of the [...]

I recently gave a presentation and created an infographic that shared what I learned about conducting a financial analysis of a nonprofit. I passed out copies of the infographic for those that couldn’t make the initial presentation, but realized they could have benefited from more than what was shared on the page. Was there a [...]

You’ve probably heard of Google+ Hangout and perhaps even used it to connect with family and friends over the holidays. But have you thought about the uses it could have for foundation staff and grantees?
I started thinking about the possibilities after using Google+ Hangout for a team project and a virtual meeting. I’ve created a [...]

It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.
Silicon Valley has been the workshop of some brilliant entrepreneurs. People like Steve Jobs, William Hewlett, David Packard, eBay founder Pierre [...]

In 2012 there were further signs that the once staid tradition of employees taking part in annual workplace giving campaigns has been upended by digital technology, younger workers with new ideas, and the need for more engagement between employers and employees. Those are the preliminary findings from America’s Charities 2012 Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees [...]

If you’re a busy professional, you may be interested in locating apps that can help you be more effective. But with more than 700,000 apps currently available in Google Play, finding the right ones to install on your Android phone can be difficult. With that being said, here are five free apps I’d like to [...]

Cities like Cleveland typically have rich assets in their “eds and meds”: top-tier academic and medical institutions that draw people from around the world. In NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology, we at the Cleveland Foundation and our partners have created a dynamic resource that plays in both sectors, opening young minds to the [...]

At next month’s Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference, consultant Nathan James and I are hosting a session, “Is Family Philanthropy Ready for Adventures in New Giving?” We’ll be discussing potential intersections between family philanthropy and the new wave of giving tools enabled by technology and fueled by problem-solving approaches of millenials, entrepreneurs, and [...]

While at a food court for a late bite to eat, I overheard other diners talking about a young woman who had her unattended phone stolen. While some privately chided her for leaving it unattended, I started to think about how common it is for others to run into a similar situation. As a result, [...]

It’s Community Foundation Week, a time to focus on philanthropy as the giving season warms up and the temperature outside cools down. Many of us look forward to evenings spent snuggled up under a warm blanket, sipping a hot drink, and settling in to catch up on some reading. Any chance your reading list includes [...]

The Knight Digital Media Center is expanding its reach to help community foundations shape their strategies to inform and engage communities in the digital age.
To reflect this new emphasis, we have redesigned and refocused the KDMC website as a learning resource for community foundations and others seeking to develop and sustain local news and information.
On [...]

Have you ever had to present a large amount of data to time-crunched colleagues? Instead of using tables or spreadsheets, think about using an infographic to tell your story. An infographic is a visual representation of data or information. Instead of making your audience do lots of reading or comb through tables full of numbers, [...]

Telluride, Colo., a picturesque historical mining town perched just below 9,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains, has a rich history of innovation, invention, and reinvention. The well-known collaboration between LL Nunn, Nikola Telsa, and George Westinghouse in 1891 forever changed the delivery of energy. The mining era transformed the region into an economic engine [...]

I recently had an eye-opening experience that helped me realize that many organizations promote their content but do nothing to ensure that it is being utilized appropriately. While some nonprofits allow others to make use of their content with proper attribution, some content users decide to make use of content inappropriately. Specifically, I am referring [...]

Nonprofit charity: water recently launched its innovative, annual September Campaign, seeking to raise $1.7 million in order to bring clean, safe water to nearly 26,000 people in Rwanda. Under the leadership of founder Scott Harrison, the organization is reinventing the nonprofit model by marketing itself like a tech company, guaranteeing 100 percent of donations to funding its water [...]

Our world has become increasingly dependent upon content to attract people’s attention. This content ranges from blogs on the Internet to television shows. Due to global shifts in our economy, economic developers have to work harder to attract companies and individual entrepreneurs. What used to be local efforts to attract job creators from neighboring cities [...]

As a grantmaker, you may be familiar with the usual measures of impact for a program that you have helped fund. But have you ever thought about measuring the impact of the publications that may be produced as a result of your program work? If you are interested in learning more about measuring the spread [...]

In preparation for the conference, I scanned the event schedule a few times for the sessions most relevant to my involvement in the community foundation world. The conference has a breadth of participants, and technology is making it easier than ever to explore resources and connect with people who share an interest in civic engagement. [...]

As the current chair and webmaster for an affinity group, I decided to create a Flash-based website because I believed it would be more aesthetically pleasing than a site coded in regular HTML. I have been pleased with the results, but recently found out that Android’s new mobile operating system, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), would [...]

Two years ago, the Foundation Registry i3 was a lifesaver for me.

I was working as a philanthropic advisor and was looking for an opportunity to lead a group of emerging philanthropists interested in education reform from talking about collaboration to taking action. The U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive [...]

The prevalence of computers in modern society has led to a greater need for technology-based curricula and wired classrooms for students of all levels. Top online PhD programs are now available, but some primary schools don’t have a single computer. As a result, companies and organizations nationwide are providing under-funded classrooms with state-of-the-art, electronic educational [...]

I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper? For those who are interested in going green for their own events, here are four ideas to cut down on the paper [...]

I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting. After learning about issues several were facing that ended up complicating work with grantees, I immediately suggested several free technology tools that could streamline their current work.
Here are five tools that could help you connect better with [...]

With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development.  Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and [...]

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Center for Digital Information’s session on philanthropy and the digital public dialogue at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Jeff Stanger, director of the center, arranged a session that brought together 21st century thought leaders from across the country, including The Patterson Foundation’s Debra Jacobs, [...]

“The movement towards outcomes-driven philanthropy has done a lot to diminish creativity,” concluded one CEO at a recent GMA Foundations’ NPO Conversation on creativity. At this regular lunchtime forum, leaders of seven Boston-area nonprofits were asked to open up about their organization’s most creative moments, their innovation wish list for 2012, and obstacles to organizational [...]

Funders, nonprofit journalists and academics gathered this week at the Council on Foundations convention in Los Angeles to discuss challenges nonprofit news outlets face in getting charitable 501c3 status. It’s part of a project called the Nonprofit Media Working Group, a partnership between Knight Foundation and the Council.
The working group [...]

Don’t get me wrong: I love Madonna. Really, I do. But for a while there, anytime I searched the topic of global philanthropy, the only news that surfaced focused on Madonna and her effort to build a number of schools in Malawi. I’m not saying it’s not important or that she’s not doing great work, [...]

Wayne Gretzky famously said that a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. These are instructive words for philanthropic foundations and other groups confronting fundamental and rapid shifts in the communication landscape. Two disruptive forces are reshaping the terrain on which [...]

“The nonprofit sector as a whole has the opportunity to harness the power of innovation to improve the quality of service delivery.” That’s one of the key findings from “Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services,” a new research report from MAP for Nonprofits funded by the ADC Foundation and researched by Idealware.
Sound [...]

Like many of us, I hate to lose when I play a game, whether it is cards, sports, or video games. The serious online game Catalysts for Change that I invite you to play this week (April 3- 5) counts on the playful and competitive nature in all of us to propose, debate, and improve [...]

At the invitation of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Games for Change is part of the curatorial team introducing a new theme around games that will run throughout the Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations. CoF is a national non-profit, membership association whose [...]

Attending this week’s annual Knight Foundation Media Learning Seminar in Miami, we were struck not only by how much has been accomplished by the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), but also by how much the conversation has evolved. It was just a few years ago that Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO [...]

As community foundations become active leaders in local news and information, many are learning they don’t need to go it alone. A variety of different partnership models are emerging and they are detailed in a new report by FSG for Knight Foundation.
The report is aimed primarily at foundations entering the news and information field, but other [...]

A new kind of charitable giver is emerging in the mobile age.
A report underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has found that this donor is younger and more likely to be African-American or Latino than traditional donors. Moreover, new donors often use their mobile phones to make contributions through text messaging [...]

I’ve long been wary about in-house videos. Because, let’s face it, videos can be tough to pull off. So it was with some trepidation that we decided not just to make our first set of short videos this year, but to feature them at our 25th anniversary annual meeting-indeed, to make them the centerpiece of [...]

As a librarian, some of the clients I deal with come to me because they know what they want but just can’t find it. Then there are those who never truly understood their information need in the first place. A while back, I was forwarded a question from someone interested in making their company an [...]

Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) is a part of a much larger movement that is nearing the end of its first century of existence. As we compare ourselves with older community foundations across the nation, we realize the magnitude of the work we are doing — and the work that’s ahead of us. Established 16 years [...]

As a community foundation, we are always talking about our role connecting “people who care” with “causes that matter.” When we award grants from our funds, people don’t usually know who’s behind the fund name-and they should! It’s time we tell our fund founders’ stories. So we created some public service announcements to bring donors’ [...]

We are gearing up for our third annual Give to the Max Day in Minnesota on November 16-an online “holiday” that kicks off the year-end giving season for nonprofits across the state.  As I write, my e-mail inbox is dinging, hopefully with another message from a nonprofit promoting the big day!
GiveMN is a collaborative venture [...]

Have you ever had a tough information problem you didn’t think you could solve? As a librarian, I am on the receiving end of other people’s information problems and am usually able to find the solution quickly. But every so often I come across a real challenge. One request stands out in my mind. It [...]

As an information expert, I see several common information hurdles that my clients come across that prohibit their ability to access information. Here are four solutions that can improve your information experience:
1. Information Hurdle: I can’t access an article because it doesn’t look like it’s available online anymore.
Solution: You can sometimes access items by checking [...]

I was incredibly inspired during last week’s fall conference after leaving the remarkable session “Once Upon a Time: Reaching Beyond Your Windows Through Storytelling,” which shared the amazing success story of the Pittsburgh Foundation’s outreach through community video storytelling. I had several initial thoughts: “How do I start a video storytelling program in Fremont?” “Who [...]

With community and place-based foundations increasingly supporting local news and information projects (they spent $58 million on the sector last year) the audience for Wednesday’s “Journalism and Media Grant Making” session at the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations came prepared with sophisticated questions and their own insights to share.
Here’s a sample of [...]

We’re excited to share with you the latest winners of the Knight Community Information Challenge. They will receive a combined $2.26 million in matching grants for news and information projects.

As traditional media continue to struggle, community and place-based foundations have an increasingly important role to play in helping groups provide local news and information. And [...]

Avery, who are you? A young African-American? The daughter of white Jewish parents? A girl with two mothers?
Avery’s transition from child to adult, her search for her birth mother, and her search for the black culture she did not experience as an adoptee came together in a compelling film Sunday afternoon here at the Council [...]

Here we are in San Francisco, with many of us attending our first CommA gathering in several years. It’s a happy reunion and a time to make new acquaintances—and match faces with listserv names. The veterans reminisce about the early years; the newbies jump right in as if social media always existed. It’s constant CommA.
We’re [...]

On Monday evening, September 19, at the Council’s Fall Conference for Community Foundations, a special screening is planned of a documentary film,  “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.” The film is based on a Gallup poll of Muslim women and men in more than 30 countries across the globe. They were asked their [...]

How does philanthropy meet the public? How does the public find and meet philanthropy?
Up until now, interactions between single charities and individual donors have happened accidentally, occasionally prompted by media. No comprehensive, coherent interface has existed to facilitate them.
Four obstacles have impeded public-philanthropic interaction: (1) print technology, (2) no clear definition of philanthropy; (3) confusion [...]

If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch: NBC News anchor Brian Williams, as a guest on Morning Joe last December, goes on a hilarious rant about The New York Times’ “discovery” of Brooklyn in 2010, calling it his “media story of the year” for its relentless, multi-angled coverage of the borough’s hipsters, [...]

With so much information produced daily, foundation professionals are facing information overload. Search engines can deliver more than a million results, but they are not always authoritative or relevant. So how can you search smarter and not harder? Below are four tools and tips that can help you save time and money.
1. WorldCat
A catalog of [...]

Today we are making a number of updates to our global software donations program designed to give more nonprofit organizations access to the technology they need, when they need it.  We’re currently reaching more than 40,000 organizations around the world each year – translating into over $3.9 billion of donated software since 1998 - but [...]

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


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