Although December was a “shorter” month because of the holidays, there was still much to read, particularly about what the new year might bring. Below are my 10 favorite reads from the past month, but as always, please tell me what I missed in the comments. And you can read other months’ 10 Great Reads lists here.
- Since December was the last month of the year, there were lots of look back and look ahead posts. The PhilanTopic blog did a whole series of posts on 2011 Year in Review: What To Expect in 2012. And there is also 50 Economic Numbers from 2011 Too Crazy to Believe. And best of all, the Chronicle of Philanthropy launched a whole Outlook 2012 section of their site.
- A follow up to the Money for Good report released a couple of years ago, the new Money for Good II report finds that donors would shift $15 billion to more effective nonprofits if they had better information. This is food for thought for the growing efforts (GuideStar, GiveWell, CharityNavigator, to name a few) to track and report on nonprofit results.
- We are two years into the 5-year Social Innovation Fund experiment launched by the Obama Administration and what have we learned? Carla Javits from REDF and Lisa Jackson from New Profit, two recipients of SIF intermediary funding, offer their views.
- From Capital Institute, an impassioned plea for foundations to make use of mission-related investments in order to tap into their (much larger) endowment assets and create even more social impact.
- Rebecca Thomas and Rodney Christopher of the Nonprofit Finance Fund provide a fabulous description of how general operating support, capacity building grants and change capital differ in the nonprofit world. These are distinctions that every nonprofit leader should understand and employ.
- A new group, Insight Labs in Chicago, provides nonprofits with a roomful of big thinking volunteers to hash out solutions to challenges the nonprofit is facing. Kind of a cool approach.
- The Dowser blog profiles Project Interaction, a really interesting approach to educating kids. It is design thinking meets public education meets social problem solving. I love it.
- Jessamyn Lau from the Peery Foundation writes a provocative post on their blog arguing that we need more patient changemakers in the social entrepreneurship field.
- In the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Lisa Witter and Courtney Martin argue that we need to make a distinction between cultural and social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship, they argue, changes markets and systems, whereas cultural entrepreneurship changes hearts and minds. Fascinating.
- I always like finding a new “tell it like it is” blog, and so I was happy to find Nonprofit Nate, and his post Thank You For Your Trash, about how nonprofits need to take a step back and weigh the costs/benefits of in-kind gifts.
Photo Credit: Kenski1970