Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Conference differences

I just left the COF Fall Conference for community foundations. This year's big innovation - a daily printed newsletter available to participants. Compare this to the live blogging capacity that is now a core part of every other conference, including the Clinton Global Initiative (underway now) which is being webcasted, podcasted, and blogged.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I have several new articles coming to press in September:

Foundation News and Commentary will publish the first issue of Future Matters, "Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve," in the September/October 2006 issue (Just in time for the Council on Foundations Community Foundations Conference). This piece was co-authored with Gabriel Kasper and Katherine Fulton,

Issue # 2 of Future Matters "Community Leadership: What's race got to do with it?" and Issue #3, "Philanthropy Marketplaces: Inventing the future of community philanthropy" will be released at the Conference. They also will be posted for free download at the Future of Community Philanthropy website and on Blueprint's publications page. These are also joint publications with Kasper and Fulton.

You can pre-order The World We Want, edited by Peter Karoff and Jane Maddox. It includes an interview with me paired with one from Dave Bergholz called, "Open Sesame: Networks of Cooperation and Open Source Solutions." The book should be in stores near you early in 2007.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More than enough info on cause marketing

My previous cranky post about Travelocity, Go Zero, and Travel for Good reminded me that SavyyGiver has info on every possible such scheme - or as the site states, "all the info you need on who is selling what to help whom." Or something like that.

Measure your own ecological footprint

Regarding my previous post, here's the link to measure your own ecological footprint. In the interest of full disclosure, mine was a "20." The average in my area is "24." If everyone lived like me, we would need 4.4 planets to sustain us.

I gotta go order solar panels, find a vegan cookbook, cancel all plane trips, and unplug the computer. At least I have (and use) a bus pass.

Pack up your guilt and leave it behind

Suddenly, carbon trading is hip. Travelocity has announced its Go Zero program - book your trip through the site, pay an extra fee, offset your carbon use, leave your guilt behind. It's a feel-good way to pollute.

From the fund development side the deal with Travelocity is a great boon for The Conservation Fund. Travelocity also has a Travel For Good Program - which sets travelers up with groups like Earthwatch and Cross-Cultural Solutions. These groups set up volunteer trips that give travelers the opportunity to do good works in cool places.

OK OK, these are all good things and Travelocity is being a good corporate citizen. I'll stop being so cranky. As a far-too-frequent traveler and thus someone who's ecological footprint is way way way too big, I'm not opposed to things that can ease our guilt. (Maybe I can bill the carbon offset fee to clients? Or count it as part of my company's corporate giving?) Heck, I'm all for easing my guilt. I just think we need to do it by changing our behaviors, not just by "buying" our way into feeling better.

Fight consumerism with consumerism - now there's a bumpersticker. OK I lied, I'm not done being cranky.

Recombinant philanthropy

I'm writing a new book. (Recombinant Philanthropy is NOT the working title, though I kinda like it so that might change)

One of the things I am writing about is all the ways the pieces of philanthropy can be (and are being) recombined to take advantage of new tools, global connections, multiple language capacities, diversity of traditions and so on.

Y Combinator is a group that invests in startup companies. It has recombined some of the standard elements of angel investing, venture funding, and business incubating into a new form of seed capitalization. Its a nice example of re-arranging the pieces, the firm's title is a nice play on a concept (scroll to the bottom of their FAQ - here - for their explanation of the metaphor), and it may have some useful parallels to philanthropy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Its 10 pm. Do you know where you are?

Much has been made of GPS-enabled cellphones and the services, such as dodgeball, that they have birthed. Now, you can put yourself on the map from anywhere. Check out plazes. Or, better yet, see it in action at Joi Ito's site.

Could activists use this to help identify clusters of local farmers? What about disease hot spots? Could local philanthropists help community leaders connect with others to build stronger networks? Other ideas...?

This I Like

I think the Internet is cool for the following reasons:

I can find things I didn't know I was looking for.

I have saved a lot of time.

I have even saved some money (thank you

I have connected with people I would not otherwise have met.

My communities of interest have all expanded. Many exponentially.

Here are two things I like. The Media Venture Collective and BooksWeLike. Check 'em out.

Communities in search of communities

Here's a question I get asked a lot: "How do we reach out to ____ as donors? They just don't seem interested in giving. They are not very philanthropic." You can fill in the blank. You can also guess who asks this question. (You might also be able to guess at my frustration regarding the analysis behind the question).

If the "they" are people younger than the person asking the question, chances are good that the old fogey asking the question has not a clue about what younger people do with their money, do with their time, talk about with their friends, or think about their community. Here's one way to find out (asking them directly is, of course, another).

Check out the Under 30 honor roll of personal finance blogs and the Personal Finance Blog Aggregator. Read what they have to say. Listen. It almost always works.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New News is Good News

Jed Emerson, John Elkington and others have launched a new news magazine, Value: Tomorrow's Markets, Enterprise and Investments. The site has been up and running since January 06 and includes a blog.

Good analysis and resource on disaster giving

Found this link through ext337.

Here you'll find tips for disaster relief bloggers. The article links to Network for Good's study on "Impulse on the Internet." Great statistics on online giving and some interesting insights about who, for what, and what to look out for when (or before) clicking on the "donate now" button.

All these links made me smile. Very good to see all the women bloggers from the BlogHer conference and community paying attention to giving, philanthropy and community. Here is the link to the BlogHer community page on social change and nonprofits/NGOs.

Good stories on donors working together

This article, from the Christian Science Monitor, was circulated via HNW News - provides good examples of smaller donors pooling their funds.

The Community Giving Resource, a project of the Neighborhood Funders Group, also has some great stories on donors working together. Sign up here for their newsletter.

Help Wanted

Fortune, September 4, 2006 p. 26 (courtesy of BridgeSpan and The Nonprofit Times) notes that the nonprofit sector will need 640,000 new senior managers by 2016.