NewsBits: Endowment for a Rainy Day; Charity Evaluations and One Look at 2010

from Stanford Social Innovation Review:

Endowment for a Rainy Day

In recent decades, nonprofits have significantly increased the size of their endowments. Yet during the current economic crisis, they made scant use of their sizable holdings. Instead of drawing down their endowments to offset losses of income, nonprofits resorted to cutting programs and personnel, sometimes dramatically. To prepare for future financial downturns, nonprofits should treat endowments as rainy day funds, not cut programs to preserve the endowment.

from Tactical Philanthropy:

The Future of Charity Evaluation

The “newsworthy” element of the anti-overhead ratio press release yesterday was the involvement of Charity Navigator. The group has 3 million users, is regularly pointed to by the mainstream media and studies show that their ratings affect donor behavior. The fact that they are transforming their system, a system that they’ve successfully built their organization around, is big news.

But of course the flipside here is that Charity Navigator is playing catch up.

from Mal Warwick’s newsletter:

The outlook for fundraising in 2010

But it’s important to remember that it won’t be possible to innovate ahead of the donors. Many of the social media tools are being created and refined by a generation that’s nowhere near its years of prime philanthropic potential. That means while they’ll be important for lead generation, community building, and cultivation, they will not be able to replace the more traditional channels—at least in the next 12 months.