Disclosure: Below are products and other resources in which I truly believe because I depend on them every day. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to some of the resources below. (Many are absolutely FREE). Your purchase through the link will NOT result in an extra charge to you and will support my continued efforts to provide the latest and best content on helping you and your organization grow.
BLINKIST. Blinkist is a digital learning app that distills the key insights of the world’s bestselling nonfiction books into powerful packs you can listen to in just 15 minutes or read on your favorite device. Blinkist’s expert editorial team carefully selects titles that belong on your radar, teases out the concepts the author wants you to know about, and frames them with vivid examples and data so they’re useful and fun, too. For those of us in the nonprofit world who are up to our eye sockets in alligators much of the time, finding it hard to stay on top of the latest trends and ideas, Blinkist is a godsend. It's available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and Web and the "blinks" about books are available as text files (Plus Account, $49.99 per year) or both text and audio (Premium Account, $79.99/year). Finally, with a Premium Account, you can save the blinks to Evernote, which is a great way to be able to reinforce what you've learned.
CAMTASIA. Camtasia empowers you to make amazing videos—even if you’ve never made one before. Record a video of your screen or bring in your own video footage. Then, use Camtasia’s drag-and-drop editor to easily create remarkable videos you can share with anyone. Keep your audience engaged by adding eye-catching animations, music, and captions in record time. With Camtasia, you’ll be able to produce stunning videos without being a professional video editor.
EVERNOTE. From small tasks to major projects, Evernote is where you’ll achieve your best work, day in and day out. As one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer, Evernote is the most productive office for modern teams. Write free from distraction, collect information, find what you need, and present your ideas to the world—all more efficiently than you ever imagined, giving you more time to take your ideas from inspiration to reality. There are 4 Evernote subscription types: (1) Basic (FREE); (2) Plus ($34.99/yr); (3) Premium ($69.99/yr); and (4) Business ($12.99 per user/month, discounted to $6.50 per user/month for nonprofits). Click here for guidance on picking the account type that is right for you.
NETVIBES. If you're striving toward inbox zero and struggling to keep up with various email newsletters, blogs and RSS feeds, you're going to love Netvibes. For those who remember iGoogle, and were as devasted as me upon its demise, take heart. Netvibes is iGoogle on steroids and it's FREE. At some point, I'll make a quick video of how Netvibes works and post it here, as setting it up can be a little challenging. But the end result is very much worth the effort expended to learn how to use the software.
NITRO PRO. Nitro Pro is PDF software that packs a lot of punch. Its major benefit for a small organization has everything to do with improving efficiency. With it, you can combine different types of documents, e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, into a single PDF, e.g., a board agenda packet. It also allows you to edit PDFs and to sign them without printing them out. Other laudable features include the ability to edit and add text to PDFs, OCR documents (i.e., convert PDFs to editable text), and convert PDFs to other file formats like Word, Excel and JPG. If you use Evernote, there is also a free add-on that allows you to send documents to Evernote. Learn more about the features, here. Get 15% off a license for 1-10 users by clicking the icon at left.
NOZBE. Busy people and effective teams get tasks and projects done thanks to Nozbe system and apps for the Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad and iPhone. Nozbe has been helping hundreds of thousands of busy professionals and organizations large and small get more done for the last 9+ years. Thanks to its intuitive apps you'll easily become a productivity ninja. You'll learn how to deal with your incoming tasks, prioritize them, manage them within projects and get them done quickly and effectively. There several plans to choose from including one that's FREE.
SNAGIT. Create visuals that speak louder than words A visual really is worth a thousand words. Snagit software gives you the complete tool for screen capture and video recording on Windows and Mac. Combine traditional screenshots, video recording, image editing, and file sharing. It's fast and easy to visually explain anything on your screen and at $49.95, the cost is reasonable.
TRIPLOG. The most feature-rich automated mileage log tracker to keep track of mileage logged on your personal vehicle for your nonprofit. The TripLog app, available on iOS and Adroid, automatically records trips and categorizes them based on your preferences. Download spreadsheets of monthly activity via TripLog web, all for as low as $3 per month, or $30 billed annually.
BOOKS & MONOGRAPHS
BEN DELANEY'S NONPROFIT MARKETING HANDBOOK: THE HANDS-ON GUIDE TO MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS IN NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, Ben Delaney (2014). The definitive guide to marketing and communications addressed specifically to small nonprofits. If you have little formal knowledge of marketing and need to tell your nonprofit's story, solicit donations, sell services and recruit volunteers, this book is for you. I especially like its checklists and actional tips designed to make your marketing efforts more effective.
THE FIVE-MINUTE JOURNAL. The simplest way to start your day. Using the science of positive psychology to improve happiness, The Five Minute Journal focuses your attention on the good in your life. Improve your mental well-being and feel better every day. Also complain less, appreciate more. The Five Minute Journal helps you cultivate gratitude. It changes how you feel, alters the actions you take, and therefore the results you will create...negativity be gone! Finally, keep a journal. With a simple structured format that takes just 5 minutes, The Five Minute Journal is simple, quick, and effective. Whatever your excuse for not keeping a journal is, this journal will eliminate them. There is also an Android App and an iPhone App.
FORCES FOR GOOD: THE SIX PRACTICES OF HIGH IMPACT NONPROFITS, L. Crutchfield and H. Grant (2012). If you're small and striving to grow as a nonprofit, then this is a must-read. The message: Becoming a high-impact nonprofit is not simply a matter of building a successful organization and then scaling it up site by site. Rather, it is by working with and through organizations and individuals outside themselves that successful nonprofits are able to achieve real impact.
THE FUNDRAISING HOUSEPARTY: HOW TO PARTY WITH A PURPOSE AND RAISE MONEY FOR YOUR CAUSE - 2ND EDITION. Morrie Warshawski (2007). This is quick read with a lot of practical advice and something I have used successfully to grow the base and raise money from individuals.
MAKING MEETINGS WORK: ACHIEVING HIGH QUALITY GROUP DECISIONS, John E. Tropman (2003). Everything you need to know about organizing engaging meetings, including preparing agendas, controlling what happens behind the scenes prior to and after meetings, and managing conflicting values and personalities. Well worth its somewhat hefty price.
MAKING MONEY WITH DONOR NEWSLETTERS. Tom Ahern (2012). Tom Ahern, one of the world's foremost authorities on donor communications, reveals the secrets behind highly successful and shockingly lucrative charity newsletters. Inside this fast and practical guide, you'll find all the training and checklists you need to succeed even if you're a novice, even if you don't consider yourself a professional writer.
THE MIRACLE MORNING: THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS SECRET GUARANTEED TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE (BEFORE 8 AM). Hal Elrod (2012). What's being widely regarded as "one of the most life changing books ever written" may be the simplest approach to achieving everything you've ever wanted, and faster than you ever thought possible.
What if you could wake up tomorrow and any—or EVERY—area of your life was beginning to transform? What would you change? The Miracle Morning is already transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world by showing them how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take your life to the next level. It’s been right here in front of us all along, but this book has finally brought it to life.
THE NONPROFIT DASHBOARD: USING METRICS TO DRIVE MISSION SUCCESS, Lawrence M. Butler (2012). Instructions for creating an organizational dashboard on the status of programs and their overall direction.
THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE (25TH Anniversary Edition) 2013, by Stephen Covey. There's a reason 7 Habits has sold more than 5 million copies and been translated into 32 languages. Serious work has obviously gone into it, and serious change can likely come out of it--but only with constant discipline and steadfast commitment. As the book makes immediately clear, this is no quick fix for what's ailing us in our personal and professional lives. There's nothing simple about his approach to becoming an effective person. The first three habits alone--which have to do with personal responsibility, leadership, and self-management--could take years to master. Yet the last four are unattainable, the narrator insists, if you can't acquire the personal security--the "inner core," says Covey--that presumably comes from a mastery of the foundation.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORKBOOK 2017, by Jason McDonald . With this workbook you can learn to market your nonprofit on Facebook, LinkeIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms. It contains videos with step-by-step instructions, worksheets that guide you step-by-step to social media success and other free tools. It is far and away the most helpful and up-to-date resource on social media marketing that I have seen. I found the $9.99 Kindle version to be excellent.
STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR DYNAMIC TIMES. (3rd Edition) This is a really excellent resource for doing strategic planning properly. It's easy to read and contains practical examples and advice that's withstood the test of time. I've been using this book successfully with nonprofit organizations and boards for nearly 20 years.
TRYING HARD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH: HOW TO PRODUCE MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENTS FOR CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITIES, Mark Friedman (2015). The primer on Results-based Accountability as a framework for performance management.
BLOGS / NEWSLETTERS / WEBSITES
- Board Source. Board source is dedicated to inspiring and supporting excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership. If you want to build and recruit a better board, this is the place to go for some really excellent materials.
COMMUNICATIONS & FUNDRAISING
- Hubspot Marketing. Hubspot is a software company with a first-rate marketing blog.
- Network for Good Blog. Network for Good offers a suite of fundraising software and services that helps you raise money and reach more individual donors – plus the training that will make you an online fundraising superstar. They also routinely have high quality guides on fundraising that they distribute for free.
- The Tom Ahern Newsletter. An absolutely excellent resource for developing better donor communications and quite a satisfying read, as well.
- Train Your Board. From well-known trainer Andy Robinson comes this blog about getting your board and staff to raise more money. I've been in several sessions taught by Andy and he is a transformative fundraising teacher.
- Joan Garry Nonprofit Leadership. Joan offers practical advice on effective nonprofit leadership for Executive Directors, CEOs, board members, development directors and fundraisers. She authors an informative blog and a podcast, "Nonprofits are Messy."
- The Guidestar Blog. Guidestar organizes nonprofit profiles, claiming to be the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, including IRS data. The blog covers fundraising, nonprofit leadership and communications, among other topics.
- Social Velocity. A blog by consultant Nell Edgington on accelerating social innovation through effective strategic planning, financial modeling, board engagement, and leadership coaching.
organizational performance management
- Leap of Reason. A blog aimed at inspiring and supporting great leaders and funders to build great organizations for greater societal impact.
- Perform Well. A collaborative effort of the Urban Institute, Child Trens, and Social Solutions to provide measurement tools and practical knowledge that human service professionals can use to manage their programs' day-to-day performance. Start here if you're creating an assessment (aka TouchPoint) in ETO to find specific, research-based outcomes and indicators.
- Idealware Newsletter. Idealware helps nonprofits make smart technology decisions by finding research, insights, and assessment tools to help you solve your biggest tech challenges.
- Nonprofit Tech for Good. Nonprofit Tech for Good is a leading social and mobile media resource for nonprofit professionals worldwide. The blog focuses on providing valuable, easy-to-understand information, news, and resources related to nonprofit technology, online communications, and social and mobile fundraising.
- Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). NTEN is the membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals. Its members share the common goal of helping nonprofits use all aspects of technology more effectively. A prolific source of nonprofit technology articles and resources.
- The Tech Soup Blog. TechSoup equips changemakers with transformative technology solutions and skills they need to improve lives globally and locally. Almost 300,000 organizations have received hardware and software donations from TechSoup's donor partners.
REPORTS & ARTICLES
Organizational Performance Management
- Assessing to Achieve High Performance: What Nonprofits are Doing and How Foundations Can Help (Cenber for Effective Philanthropy, April 2015)
- Building Capacity to Measure and Monitor Performance, (The Bridgespan Group, April 23, 2012)(5 keys to building internal capacity for performance management).
- How to Achieve the Performance Imperative with Results-based Accountability (Results Leadership Group, Dec. 2015)
- How Do We Build the Capacity of Nonprofits to Evaluate, Learn and Improve? (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, 2011)
- Making Organizations Better with Performance Management (The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits)(Info. on various aspects of performance management, including leadership development, logic models and planning for evaluation, additional resources for evaluation, creating a culture of organizational improvement).
- Navigating Performance Management Software Options (Urban Institute 2015) (This article guides service-delivering nonprofits through important questions to ask themselves before entering the market for a software solution and suggests key factors organizations should consider as they weigh their options).
- A Nonprofit Dashboard and Signal Light for Boards (Blue Avocado)
- The State of the Nonprofit Sector 2015 (Nonprofit Finance Fund, 2015) (While 89% of nonprofits are asked to collect data to capture the effectiveness of programming, 68% of funders rarely or never cover the costs associated with measuring program outputs or outcomes).
- True Program Costs: Program Budget and Allocation Template and Resource (Help with defining programs, identifying direct costs, allocating shared costs, and calculating and allocating administrative and fundraising costs) (Nonprofits Assistance Fund, 2015).
- Understanding Software for Program Evaluation (Idealware, 2013) (Overviews of the types of software that, when brought together, can enable your organizaiton to accurately and confidently collect, measure, and monitor the outcomes and effectiveness of its programs)
- Why Funding Overhead is Not the Real Issue: The Case to Cover Full Costs (Claire Knowlton, Nonprofit Quarterly, Jan. 25, 2016)
- W.W. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide (W.W. Kellog Foundation, 2006) (An orientation to the principles of “logic modeling” as a tool for enhancing program planning, implementation and dissemination activities)
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