Fairmount’s Favorite Tweets: 1/27 – 1/31 Edition

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Who says you can’t teach an experienced dog new tricks? Fairmount Ventures has joined Twitter!

The Twitterverse is alive with stimulating conversation. Weekly we’ll share some of our favorite tweets. We view it as a quick way to stay informed on the facts, news, and quotes that introduced something we think is neat, interesting, or even funny.

If you’d like to be considered for Fairmount Favorite Tweets, share your content with us at @FairmountV!

Favorite Tweets, Week of Jan 1-27If you liked this post: Sign-up to ReSources, Fairmount’s monthly collection of smart, timely ideas for people changing the world through a better nonprofit sector. Say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.

What LinkedIn’s New Volunteer Marketplace Means For You

You may not be aware yet, but earlier this week LinkedIn opened its Volunteer Marketplace – designed specifically for nonprofits looking for skilled volunteers.

For instance you might serve on a small, relatively unknown nonprofit with aspirations to expand your visibility. Using Volunteer Marketplace, you can post an opening for a Volunteer Director of Marketing, along with a description of the skills and experiences you seek. Chicago Family Directions, a nonprofit who provides long-term literacy tutoring to Chicago Public School K-12 students did just that using the marketplace and had 12 applicants one day after posting its position.

Looking for more specific talent like a volunteer board member with grant writing experience and a background in education? You can target those skills too.

So what’s the catch you ask? Well, currently, posting in the Volunteer Marketplace will cost you.

Rates vary depending on where the position is posted but a single, 30-day posting costs about $20. If you want to post multiple volunteer positions, you’ll pay even more.

A few takeaways to consider if using Volunteer Marketplace can benefit your organization:

  • Especially if you’re a lesser known nonprofit, posting your volunteer needs through the marketplace can serve as a double-win for your organization. Not only are you reaching skilled volunteers but just as important, you’re raising awareness of your nonprofit and its mission among LinkedIn’s massive audience of 259 million members.
  • Similar but smaller volunteer matching services like CatchAFire, VolunteerMatch, BoardSource and the Taproot Foundation each are partnering with LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, which means the service is now your best bet to find qualified candidates.
  • Don’t view the Volunteer Marketplace as a must. It’s only another tool in your toolkit. When it comes to developing a long-term sustainable pipeline of volunteers, nothing compares to well-planned strategy.

If you liked this post: Sign-up to ReSources, Fairmount’s monthly collection of smart, timely ideas for people changing the world through a better nonprofit sector. Say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.

Quick: I’m Double Parked, Want to Collaborate?

We were delighted by the recent splash heard on local and national news this week. President Obama announced that West Philadelphia is one of just five communities nationwide selected to be a “Promise Zone.” This is a new federal initiative to target resources to areas with significant poverty in order to transform the lives of area residents without displacing them.

Fairmount is proud to have served as the lead facilitator and author of the City’s successful plan and application. Why was Philadelphia successful against steep competition from across the country?

What was most striking throughout the process was how people from 20 different organizations came together. Typical to any major federal proposal, there was a ton of data collection and analysis, program design, strategic decisions, budgets, overly-complicated forms, mapping and writing to be done in a very short period of time. We had about 3 weeks. Participants included community representatives, multiple city departments, the school district, the zoo, higher education institutions, nonprofit service providers, and content experts. Ideas flowed back and forth with thoughtfulness and respect.

The process worked and we were successful because the people and organizations in the room mostly knew one another, or had at least one degree of separation. Even though they represented very different types of organizations – and on occasion advocate at one another, or compete with one another – everyone was familiar with each other. The group was able to focus on the tasks at hand.

What are the lessons here?

  • If you want to create a winning proposal or program with another organization(s), don’t wait till the RFP is out to meet or figure out with whom you want to work, and how to work together. Relationships take time to nurture.
  • Creating a big tent where every organization’s interest is advanced is difficult but can be achieved if you begin by building trust and find common ground.
  • Recognize the larger ecosystem in which you work and who else needs that system to be healthy in order to find that common ground.

We’re thrilled that Philadelphia won this recognition and the resources that will follow. The award holds promise for the people of West Philadelphia both for the federal resources that will hopefully follow, and because the organizations working in and for the community have already strengthened their capacity to better work together.

If you liked this post: Sign-up to ReSources, Fairmount’s monthly collection of smart, timely ideas for people changing the world through a better nonprofit sector. Say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.

 

When all else fails, look for the facts

At a time when we are making difficult choices about what to fund in society and particularly in schools, it may be time to consider some research-based facts.   Recent research published in the journals Education Next and Educational Researcher reveals that students participating in art education demonstrate higher levels of critical thinking skills, social tolerance and historical empathy when compared to students without contact to the arts.

While previous studies have proven a correlation between rising student test scores and social responsibility with art education, for the first time evidence shows that art generates these significant benefits – especially for minority students, and students from low-income families.

Whadya’ say Philadelphia?

We have some of the nation’s greatest arts and cultural institutions within a short bus ride from some of the nation’s most disenfranchised communities. We have fabulous community-based arts programs, from Art-Reach to the Village of Arts & Humanities.  What untapped opportunities can we find and nurture?  Is it really naïve to say that if we want to improve academic outcomes, reduce youth violence and help foster success of the next generation that it would be worthwhile to include more arts and culture in the mix?

Not if we buy into data-driven decision making.

If you liked this post: Sign-up to ReSources, Fairmount’s monthly collection of smart, timely ideas for people changing the world through a better nonprofit sector. Say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.