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March 2010

the latest from
Suite 603


March 22, 2010

What women do you admire—and how do you share that information?

On the road with Chairman Leach's Civility Tour
Sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders

NPQ makes an introduction to donor advised funds

Federal/State Partnership's Digital File Cabinet

"The Census must count every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010." —opening statement on the census form

We the People application deadline, May 5

Compliance plans are due June 1: information has already been sent via email and Humtalk2

New general liability insurance policies go into effect April 1—downloadable copies of the policies will follow

What women do you admire—and how do you share that information?

Pictures of women Texas Humanities admires.
Pictures of women Texas Humanities admires.

Humanities Texas celebrates Women's History Month by asking board members, former board members, and a selection of friends to tell them about women they admire—and commenting about it on Facebook.

The Delaware Humanities Forum posed the same question on Facebook.

Oregon Humanities hosted a Think & Drink on "Women, Global Media, and Pop Culture" with Jensine Larsen, Andi Zeisler, and Sarah Dougher and posted pictures on Facebook, inviting comments. For more on O Hm's Think & Drink program, see last month's e-newsletter [login fedstate, password partnership]>>

The Indiana Humanities Council posted these stories about grandmothers and food on Facebook: "I love that my late grandma could even burn coffee and yet insisted on us eating meals together. ‘Even bad food brings people together,’ she said." "'My grandmother had an amazing garden (vegetables, raspberries, apple trees). I have great memories of pulling carrots from the ground and eating them (dirt and all). Amazing how much better fresh food tastes.' —Kip Normand"

How is your council celebrating Women's History Month and how are you letting people know about it?

On the road with Chairman Leach's Civility Tour

Jill Lepore
Jill Lepore
The next stops on Chairman Leach's Civility Tour are in Arizona, California, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. On April 14 he will participate in "Uncivil Discourse: A Conversation with Jim Leach and Jill Lepore" in Worcester, MA. They will discuss the state of political discourse in America, past and present. This event is sponsored by Mass Humanities. Historian and essayist Jill Lepore was recently featured in an interview in Humanities magazine.

Sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders

Sabbaticals improve organizational capacity. Here's what a new study shows, as reported by GEONews, the free e-newsletter of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. All state humanities councils can be members of GEO by means of Federal/State Partnership's membership. There's more information about GEO on the Federal/State Partnership website [login fedstate, password partnership].

"Sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders can be a relatively inexpensive but highly productive capacity-building tool that yields measurable results. Creative Disruption: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building and Leadership Development in the Nonprofit Sector [the link provides a download of the full study] provides emerging evidence of the benefits to nonprofit organizations, leaders, funders, and the sector.

"This study, written by TSNE's Deborah Linnell [and 2008 site visitor to the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities] and CompassPoint's Tim Wolfred, exposes the myth that an executive sabbatical will be a chaotic disruption, finding instead that the creative disruption of a well-planned sabbatical can be productive for the entire leadership of an organization.

"Organizational capacity is increased as the second tier of leadership takes on new responsibilities. Governance is strengthened as a result of the planning and learning that goes with a sabbatical process. Executive directors come back rejuvenated, with a fresh ..." read more >>

NPQ makes an introduction to donor advised funds

Donors rely on Guidestar for their due diligence. Every nonprofit's IRS 990 is posted on Guidestar. Be sure that your 990 sells your council well.
Donors rely on Guidestar for their due diligence. Every nonprofit's IRS 990 is posted on Guidestar. Be sure that your 990 sells your council well.

The Nonprofit Quarterly's e-newsletter asks to be able "to introduce the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund to you in this NPQ interview with the Gift Fund's CEO, Sarah Libbey. Do note that you will not find a magic bullet here to tell you how your nonprofit might access the billions in Fidelity's donor advised funds. But you might just get a better understanding of the future shape of philanthropy with commercially affiliated charitable funds such as Fidelity's in the future."

Key points to take away from this interview are (1) how donor advised funds work and that (2) it is crucial that nonprofits make themselves attractive and accessible to donors.

"To be visible to Fidelity’s donors, or to the donors behind any donor advised funds for that matter, Libbey has some specific suggestions that adhere to some old saws of effective fundraising. Fidelity’s own survey of its donors suggests that they are likely to give 10 times more money to groups where they volunteer than to others. They want to volunteer using specific skill sets, so Libbey strongly advocates nonprofits designing smart volunteering opportunities to attract potential donors.

"She also recommends that nonprofits learn and use the language of donor advised funds. She cites as an example the language on pledge cards at nonprofits’ fundraising events, that usually provide a space for potential donors to write in a credit card number, but miss an opportunity by failing to provide a check-off box for a donor to pledge from a donor-advised fund.

"Fidelity donors, Libbey says, tend to rely on GuideStar for their due diligence research, and Fidelity prominently features GuideStar as a tool on the Fidelity Web site. Libbey advises, 'You ought to make sure you like the way you’re presented on GuideStar, you have to make sure that the message on GuideStar is the way you want it to be, because that’s what donors see.'" read more >>

The Nonprofit Quarterly's e-newsletter is free.

Federal/State Partnership's Digital File Cabinet

login: fedstate — password: partnership

The Federal/State Partnership website is a resource for executives, boards, and staff of state humanities councils. All the documents and information you could want from Federal/State Partnership are available for perusal and download at your convenience.

Please note that there is no individualized login and password for the Federal/State Partnership website. Just remember (or write down) fedstate and partnership. Then you will have access to all documents related to your NEH General Operating Support Grant plus a host of other information about nonprofit work, the achievements of state humanities councils, and an archive of all Federal/State Partnership's e-newsletters.

Stay up to date: be sure that everyone you work with at your state humanities council has signed up to receive the monthly e-newsletter. Join the Federal/State Partnership email list from the first page of the website.

National Endowment for the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 603
Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number
202.606.8365, fax

Edie Manza, director [about ]
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer [ about ]
Shirley Newman, program assistant [ about ]

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National Endowment for the Humanities

Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils