Thursday, December 17, 2009

What would you do with ONE million dollars?

Lately I've had the song "If I had a million dollars"
in my head and been thinking what I'd do with a million dollars. Nope..I wouldn't buy a house, or a car! I would DONATE it all, every last cent to the wonderful charities I have worked for over the years. Without them I wouldn't be the HAPPY, nonprofit lovin, blogger, and PhD student that I am today.

If I had a million dollars, I give part of it to:
  • Establish an American Humanics certificate program at Cottey College in order to equip students to become skilled professionals and leaders in America's nonprofit organizations (approx. $8,000 per year).
  • Fund scholarships for Christian leaders from emerging world countries to study in the United States (approx. $15,000 per scholarship).
  • Empower low-income parents to determine, pursue and achieve their goals for education, employment and economic security.
  • Provide leadership training and opportunities for young women and serve people in their journey through grief. (approx $2,500 for a young womens leadership event & $1,000 for a bereaved family).
  • Fund research to create a statistically sound (and replicable) survey to study the impact and use of nonprofit masters students' projects on the nonprofit organizations for which the projects were developed. (approx. $50,000 to design survey, collect and analyze data, and write report). Ok, I admit, this one is selfish because this is research I really want to conduct and share with other nonprofit programs, but I don't have funding to do it...yet. :)
What would you do with one million dollars, what charities would you donate it to?

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ARNOVA: Wrap up and Future of the Nonprofit Sector Discussion

The 2009 ARNOVA conference was a social networking success. There were approximately 10 of us tweeting and blogging throughout the conference. A compilation of our tweets can be found on the ARNOVA Ning site and blog posts from the conference can be found here, here and here. Guest blogger Taylor Peyton Roberts put an amazing Woordle (word cloud) together with the conference program and also wrote a post about one on the sessions she attended. Graham Dover, John Ronquillo, Debra Beck, Carrie Sosbe and Julia Craig wrote posts about the conference as well on their blogs.

During the conference newcomers also came together to network and discuss the future of the nonprofit sector, more specifically the future of nonprofit research as it relates to these topics: Accountability & Evaluation, Advocacy & Civic Engagement, Fundraising & Philanthropy, Leadership & Governance, Issues in Nonprofit Management, Intersectoral & Networked Relationships, and The International Arena.

Here are the notes from these table discussions. The future of nonprofit research will provide:

Accountability and Evaluation

  • Increased transparency – accountability by uniformed observers. Comparatives between for-profit and nonprofit.
  • Tensions between press for accountability and possible efforts of nonprofit to deceive.
  • Robust theory (ies) of the “product” for specific programs.
  • Accountability literacy.
  • Affordable evaluations.
  • Increased resources – human software etc.
  • Access to cost benefit analysis
  • A move from simple input/output measures to outcomes and meaningful data.
  • Further theory development to make evaluation more affordable and feasible and applicable to a wide variety of evaluation needs.
  • Application of for-profit methods to nonprofit orgs.
  • More ways of communicating accountability.
  • A focus on organizational mission and values (not just $).
  • Formative evaluations (useful to organizations).
  • Program/management performed by 3rd party evaluators versus in house top-down or bottom up strategies.
  • Evaluation tied to strategy (Action oriented).
  • Peer accountability versus mandatory evaluation.
International Arena
  • International giving
  • Cross cultural research
  • Global civil society
  • South-south collaboration
  • More gladiators, fewer lions
  • Trend of local ngo/npos moving towards transnational work/engagement/collaboration/diffusion of practice
  • Competence
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Increased research of foundations
  • Farm labor groups
  • Trainings to college students in philanthropy and giving.
  • What is the value of informal giving? Specifically in communities of color?
  • Cross cultural paradigms of giving? How do we capture it?
  • What is the impact of remittances? Remittances across states?
  • Assuming slow-rebound, jobless recovery, without living wages, what are the implications? Will nonprofits be able to adapt?
  • Mid-sized organizations/local organizations that depend on donations?
  • How to give individuals confidence to continue to be donors in times of uncertainty?
  • How to accommodate shift to volunteerism?
  • How do we increase public confidence that the money they give to charity goes to charity rather than for profit, and professional support used for legitimate purposes?
  • Civic engagement – the internet is still a new way to engage – does it spark long-term commitment or is it an impulsive action?
  • Accommodation of generational differences in our fundraising tactics – how to appeal to those differences using new media to maintain existing relationships.
  • Preparation of professional staff for significant increase in bequest giving as baby boomers age.
  • Creation of more robust websites as informational and accountability tools.
Intersectoral and Networked Relationships
  • Alternative associations – egalitarian, collective
  • Research on the effect of commercialization on nonprofits
  • A move to public sociology
  • A spread of nonprofits to for-profit sector
  • More bottom up evaluation from community viewpoint
  • Funding opportunities so that nonprofits don’t have to cozy up to foundations
  • Increased training
  • Depends on direction of government
  • Is survival of the sector necessary (represents government failure)?
  • Attraction of funds-accountability
  • Can we afford professionalization?
  • Social media as a new outlet for nonprofit promotion
  • Less inequality between the have and have nots
  • A definition of the role of civil society
  • A change in demographics
Advocacy and Civic Engagement
  • More advocacy and civic engagement
  • Theory: The relationship between national service and 1. Co-opting participants 2. Nonprofit Careers 3. Advocacy
  • How technology has changed the definition of civic engagement.
  • An increase in trust among communities and overall increase in civic engagement.
  • Research: Measuring the impact of volunteering.
  • How technology will impact 1. Generational/civic engagement 2. Forms of civic engagement 3. Awareness and participation 4. Globalization of civic engagement
  • Practice: Impact of civic engagement on communities
  • Increased participation by gen y
  • Blurred line between for-profit and non-profit social responsibilities concerning engagement.

Nonprofit Management
  • Image of nonprofits in a market society
  • An understanding of the unique aspects of management in nonprofit organizations
  • Emphasis on cross sector skills and theory
  • Methods: qualitative, process oriented, case studies
  • Theory building: case studies, new models of governance
  • Empirical research: Rethinking governance, leadership, and relational governance
  • Internal: group relations
  • External: social capital
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these ideas and statements?