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Charity Navigators New Ranking and Review System

Posted October 26, 2011 1:56 PM by Dylan Miyake

We use Yelp.com to find great restaurants, Amazon.com to find quality products, and Consumer Reports.org to find everything from from the latest gadgets to the fastest sports cars.

Doesn't everyone want to know if they are getting a good deal? Don't we all want to know if we will love the result or regret it before spending any money? In the information age, everyone is looking online for this kind of insider-information before making a purchase.

In a very similar way, donors are going online before making a decision about who they support. And it's in your best interest to know what they are seeing to ensure that your hard-earned donations do not disappear.

Filed Under Reporting
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Evaluating Performance of Non-Profits – Beyond Financials

Posted October 25, 2011 10:47 AM by Ted Jackson

Good news for fans of strategy management! The watchdog group Charity Navigator has expanded its rating system beyond financials to now include governance and openness about operations. This first step in a long term effort to expand their rating system is a great first step. Transparency of operations is always a good thing and may go a long way to preventing ethical violations that harm the entire non-profit sector. But there is more nonprofits can do - use disciplined strategy management and program assessments.

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Steve Jobs and the Innovator's Dilemma

Posted October 24, 2011 9:47 PM by Dylan Miyake

On the Harvard Business School blog earlier this week, there was a post on how Steve Jobs Solved The Innovator's Dilemma. The posting was quite interesting -- and relevant to those of us in the social and public sector -- because essentially, it's not about profitability, it's about passion.

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Determining True Value of Teachers Requires Multiple Measures, According to Bill and Melinda Gates

Posted October 23, 2011 2:22 PM by Mark Cutler

A recent survey by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic found that America's teachers are open to the idea of being held accountable for their students' progress through multiple measures. Bill and Melinda Gates describe those findings and the work their foundation is doing to help teachers improve their craft in an article in the Saturday, October 22, Wall Street Journal.

They make some great points about the difficulty in developing measures of the profession, or "craft" of teaching. "We have all known terrific teachers," the Gates' write. "You watch them at work for 10 minutes and you can tell how thoroughly they've mastered the craft. But nobody has been able to identify what, precisely, makes them so outstanding."

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Teresa Amabile's Progress Principle about Motivation in the Workplace - TED Talks

Posted October 19, 2011 1:59 PM by Dylan Miyake

"The truth is, everyone is working crazy hours, doing impossible tasks, and still keeping on the cheery side of the street. God help me, I do love them so."

We are all in this crazy economy together, where budget cuts and hiring freezes, and the mantra of "do more with less" are so prevalent. But hearing an employee that is so content with the chaos is not the norm. In fact, it's outright counter-intuitive.

So how is this guy staying on "the cheery side of the street"?

We wanted to know too, so we found a video of the author speaking in Atlanta recently, and shared it here on our site for everyone to watch.

The video is an excerpt from Teresa Amabile's new book called The Progress Principle: Small ways to ignite joy in the workplace, which is the result of an intimate study into the stories of motivation in the workplace.

Filed Under Motivation
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The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010

Posted October 16, 2011 8:48 PM by Brandon Kline

The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, an update to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, has set new standards for delivering a high-performance government. Why should you care? You should care because, as an American, you should expect that your government is effective, efficient, accountable, and consistently striving to be the best stewards possible with your tax dollars. That is exactly what the bi-partisan, GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 has set out to accomplish. A recent article on GovernmentExecutive.com highlights key objectives and details agency obligations under the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010.

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Effective Meeting Preperation, Management, and Follow-up Habits

Posted October 14, 2011 4:14 PM by Dylan Miyake

After dealing with the headaches of Excel and PowerPoint reporting, version control issues, and not being able to dynamically track all the things that a leadership team needs to know, and fast, we decided to develop a new kind of tool to make strategy review meetings more effective.

In this journey, we developed a piece of software called ClearPoint Strategy. ClearPoint is more than a simple scorecard or dashboard application. This is a tool that includes fifteen plus years of best-practices accumulated by developing and implementing effective strategic plans across many high-performing organizations.

But real success does not come from a slick software alone. There are other habits and patterns that a leadership team needs to understand and value. In this article, we try to capture the people-process through which an organization can prepare for strategy review meetings, manage well organized and data-driven meetings, record decisions, and ensure accountability and timely follow-up on mission-critical items.

Continue reading for more details about each stage in the process:

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Hillside Family of Agencies to Present at the Mission Driven Summit 2012

Posted October 14, 2011 1:43 PM by Ted Jackson

For those of you that came to the Summit in March of 2011, you would have to remember Maria Cristalli from Hillside. Her presentation received the highest rank of any presentation given (even higher than our keynotes from last year). To make it more remarkable, she was the last presentation on the last day of the conference. We are excited to have her back for the 2012 event.

Filed Under Balanced Scorecard
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Boys and Girls Clubs to present at the Mission Driven Summit 2012

Posted October 13, 2011 11:34 AM by Ted Jackson

I'm happy to announce that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico will be presenting at the upcoming Mission-Driven Summit on March 6-8, 2012. This is the premier conference for mission driven organizations (governments, nonprofits, associations, and education organizations). Keynote speakers include David Norton, co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard concept, and Daniel Pink, author of Drive and other books about changing the world of work.

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Should Students Be Graded on Character?

Posted October 3, 2011 2:46 PM by Mark Cutler

Over the past few years at Ascendant, while we have worked with education organizations such as the Rochester (NY), Atlanta, Ossining (NY), and Alexandria (VA) public school systems; the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE); and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the performance measurement conversation inevitably turns to how best to measure student progress.

The common solutions tossed about include sticking to the traditional grading system, focusing on standardized test scores, tracking graduation rates or even following up with students several years after their cohort graduates to see what they are doing. One new suggestion I hadn't heard until I read about it in the September 18, 2011, issue of The New York Times Magazine is to measure them on character because, as Paul Tough says in his article "The Character Test," character may have as much to do with our children's success as grades.

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