Looking to round out your reading on philanthropy and nonprofits? Thread's own Holly Richardson shares her list of must-read and must-share resources
When I joined Thread in May 2017, I was immediately delighted to learn that above and beyond being fellow readers, my team likes to share what I lovingly call “gerbil clippings.”
“Gerbil clippings” are random articles and postings I missed on my own but am absolutely thrilled to read. My mother and I coined the term, as she has a long history of sending me unexpected articles from a motley variety of publications – think The Economist, Philadelphia magazine, and People. She still sends me clippings two to three times per week, always with a post-it note with a smiley face stuck on top.
At Thread, we read and share all manner of opinion pieces, research studies, webinar notes, memes, screen shots from social media, and more. Most often the articles relate to trends and happenings within fundraising (we are development professionals, after all!), but they are also just as likely to be something silly to make us laugh.
Gerbil clippings are a wonderful and easy way to build not just knowledge, but camaraderie on your team as well. To encourage all our partners and friends to read and share more, I’m happy to offer my favorite sources of nonprofit and fundraising news, analysis, and opinion. Happy reading, clipping, and sharing!
Nonprofit AF – Vu Le, the author of this weekly blog, is an absolute treasure to the nonprofit sector. He deploys humor and wit to unpack and contextualize the biggest issues and trends characterizing #nonprofitlife. Vu is not just an astute critic, though. He always offers concrete, tangible suggestions for how we can ALL do better in this work. And he includes adorable pictures of baby animals. And I always laugh at least twice in each blog post.
Nonprofit Happy Hour Group on Facebook – If you haven’t joined 37,000 of your fellow nonprofit professionals in this group yet, do so! People ask for help in solving their real-world problems, from what to name a new special event being held at a chocolate factory to how to deal with an employer that can no longer meet payroll. It’s informative without losing a sense of fun.
Blue Avocado – In total candor, I just started subscribing to the Blue Avocado newsletter. I was looking to share with a partner an article about the conundrum of nonprofit overhead, and Blue Avocado served up an absolute winner. I’m excited to read more from them!
The Daily WRAG – The Daily WRAG is the perfect digest of news, events, and thought leadership out of my local nonprofit sector here in Washington, DC. It sources from a wide variety of outlets, and I count on it to keep me in the know on what’s important in my region. It also hosts a terrific job board on Fridays, which I like to read to keep tabs on how our sector is hiring. If you live outside the DC-area, search for a similar regional grant maker organization in your area!
The Chronicle of Philanthropy Daily Update – The Chronicle is both top-notch journalism on the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors and an incredible destination for how-to, knowledge building resources. I start every work day with the Daily Update so I can understand and translate national level happenings to our community-based partners.
Foundation Center’s Philanthropy News Digest – PND tends to highlight big gift announcements to brand-name nonprofits and institutions of higher learning. Beyond making me drool over those gifts, PND is great for linking to recent research studies about fundraising and nonprofits.
Stanford Social Innovation Review – This is the one publication where I’m old school and still only read the print version. SSIR focuses on innovation, new ideas, and what’s on the vanguard of philanthropy. SSIR is definitely my inspirational reading!
Inside Philanthropy – When I was a full-time grants person, I read Inside Philanthropy religiously because its sweet spot is foundations. There’s some awesome thought leadership coming out of this publication, to boot!
The Management Center – Every time I read The Management Center’s newsletter, I feel more thoughtful, prepared, and awesome at every facet of my professional life. The Management Center is dedicated to helping social change organizations abandon managing by good intentions and instead managing deliberately, smartly, and accountably. And they 100% deliver on their mission. In addition to their own content, they link to the superbly helpful articles, the types that make you go, “Ohhhh! THAT’S how I should be doing hiring/salary negotiations/my 1:1 check-ins/annual performance reviews/everything!”