This is worth reading #7
You know the drill. People share things with me via a certain social network (which the French government says I shouldn't name, but that's another story). And I pick the ones that I think you would like. So here's a bumper crop of stuff people shared with me over the last week or so. Some are a bit older, but I'm still in catch up mode.
1. Top 15 Non-profit Board Governance Mistakes. From a legal perspective. In the USA. But please don't let fear of irrelevance put you off: this is good common sense stuff that trustees should read. Because, as the old saying goes, common sense isn't that common. Anyway, one insight was "A board that passes every resolution “unanimously” should evaluate whether it needs to do more to encourage a thoughtful and open discussion." Indeed. Hat Tip: Debra Beck
2. Everything you want to know about virtual/online volunteering. This is from Jayne Cravens, who has produced a concise, extremely useful review of research studies on the subject here. Jayne is collecting studies, so if you know of something that isnt there, please share it with her. Along similar lines, take a look at the Science of Generosity project: this is everything you need to know about why people are altruistic, with evidence reviews of gift giving, volunteering, pro-social behaviour and other areas.
3. Why Ranking Charities by Administrative Expenses is a Bad Idea. Here at NCVO Towers we've been thinking a bit about charity ratios and how we develop and use ratios to understand the sector better. So, I'm interested in this blog from Freakonomics blog, which touches on issues of impact and effectiveness. In short: they looked at charities that the US rating agency Givewell thought were excellent and these organisations had relatively higher management and administration costs. There's clearly a lot going on behind the numbers, which is sort of the point the blog is making. Caveat emptor and all that. H/T: Bluefrog's Mark Phillips
4. Giving, nudging and spontaneity. Along with many others I'm really interested in how we can use technologies and new ideas from behavioural science in relation to giving. And new ideas - such as rounding up loose change as a gift - are really interesting. But we absolutely need to listen to people with fundraising experience at the sharp end - and this blog from PFRA's Ian Macquillan fits the bill. He makes the point that we might be reversing a gradual progression to planned giving by encouraging ad hoc/spontaneous methods. Possibly worrying too is that we might be shifting downwards the price point at which people think they have done their bit. Hmmm. H/T: Rachel Beer
5. How big business and social business can work together for mutual benefit. This thoughtful blog/site from UnLtd's Dan Lehner is a well-reasoned piece of analysis that explains the problems with business, CSR and social business. In respect of the latter, my favourite line was "These are tough times for social entrepreneurs – in fact, all entrepreneurs – to grow a sustainable business. If growing a business is tough, then solving a social problem at the same time is tougher still." Dan's solution: shared value supply chains, where social businesses work closely with the private sector, is an approach that fits with the blurred boundaries and overlap between the private and voluntary sectors that increasingly characterises our world. H/T: CAF Venturesome
6. Why cant social investors find enough opportunities to invest in? I don't know if its a reflection of the people I've talked to recently, but I've heard on a number of occasions that social investors are out there, waiting to put their money into organisations, if only they could find something that was investable. Now this is not my area of expertise at all, but I was interested in this blog from Eva Yazhari of Sequoia Lab. Following a visit to the Social Capital Markets Europe conference, Eva argues that investors are only interested in 'mature start-ups' and that we need more funding for social organisations right at the beginning of their lives. H/T: SOCAPmarkets
7. The emancipation of the charity employee. This is from my good friend Steve Bridger, who is arguing that the best organisations are letting their employees connect with the outside world in a way that challenges older notions of control, hierarchy and the corporate silo. Steve argues that "Loyalty to a charity brand is being slowly augmented by a closer affinity with charity employees." Interesting stuff. Take it to the manager who thinks social media is a misuse of your charity's resources.
8. And finally...This blog made my day. A 3yr old writes to a major supermarket:
In return, the supermarket sends this back:
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Karl Wilding, Head of Policy, Research, and Foresight discusses the research reports that land on his desk and other research related topics.