GuideStar International's Blog

November 21, 2011

Foundations & practice in data visualisation

by Keisha Taylor

As data visualisation becomes mainstream, foundations are also looking at ways to use the data that they have to visually demonstrate their impact. The European Foundation Centre (EFC), in collaboration with TechSoup, held a webinar on Foundations & practice in data visualisation (on 16th November 2011) thanks to a grant by Microsoft Community Affairs.

Cole Nussbaumer, of StorytellingwithData.com covered the basics of infographics and data visualisation concepts. She touched on some key points that not just designers but all interested in using data to communicate should consider when creating and using data visualisations.

The webinar was open to European foundations only. However, it was a great webinar and I’d suggest you look at the video online.

July 20, 2010

Philanthropy in Russia: Public Attitudes and Participation

The book “Philanthropy in Russia: Public Attitudes and Participation” was released this year. Free to download, the book provides some useful information for those interested in Russia’s philanthropic sector.  It examines the involvement of Russian citizens in various philanthropic practices, including their participation in and use of services offered by community foundations. It also presents the results of public opinion surveys on participation in charitable activity in Russia, analyses Russian philanthropic trends and looks at public attitudes regarding interaction between the State and organisations that provide charitable services. The book results from collaboration between the CerPhi and the State University, Higher School of Economics (Civil Society Monitoring) in Russia and aims to encourage further research on Russian philanthropy.

June 2, 2010

European Network of Foundation Communications Professionals

Chris Worman, Executive Director, Odorheiu Secuiesc Community Foundation

European Foundation Week session: European Network of Foundation Communications Professionals organised by Robert Bosch Stiftung, 31st May 2010

This session, which was organised by Robert Bosch Stiftung, was the first meeting of the European Network of Foundations Communications Professionals. It aimed to set a baseline for a potential network and examine needs/interests/potential questions. Approximately 30 foundation communication professionals, primarily serving as communications officers for major foundations across the continent heard short presentations from the Communications Network in the US and from the Foundation Strategy Group before discussing what they might hope to achieve.

Outcomes: At the close of the session, all were encouraged to write down a value proposition for such a network and their current needs/challenges. The value propositions (defined in terms of what would bring them back to the table) were primarily seeking an actively engaged, though low-input, network offering best practices and worst cases while talking about how those results were achieved. There is some interest in having face to face meetings but it was generally agreed this should begin online. Challenges that the comrades were discussing focused on social media and its role in the movement, learning how to measure the efficacy of communications, and communications tool kits.

Specifically related to technology and data was the overwhelming interest in new forms of media that may help foundations communicate. There was an understanding that they all needed to learn more but most of these organisations have a huge amount of data to work with. Presentation and framing are challenges but there is no shortage of data.

I was impressed by the group’s interest in learning and exploring tools that might help them. There was a realisation that foundations had often considered communications secondary or fairly unnecessary beyond an annual report. Some points were made that perhaps new media forms might not be very useful but perhaps could be used to focus on informing grantmaking through group-sourcing policy and program interests that were close to the community.

With all of the social media interest (including the question: is it really useful?) there may be a role for TechSoup Global as an organisation, which is tapped into developments in this area.

TechSoup Global, Fundacja TechSoup and GuideStar International at EFC Foundation Week and AGA

Filed under: civil society legislation and regulation,Philanthropy — guidestarinternational @ 11:03
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Techsoup Global, Fundacja Techsoup and GuideStar International staff are spending the week in Brussels. Thus far we have hosted the TSG Network Partners meeting and attended some interesting sessions at European Foundation Week.  Fundacja TechSoup also hosted the session “Leading the charge: innovative uses of technology and information to connect funders to communities”, which was very well attended.  Some of us will be staying on for the EFC Annual General Assembly.  A very busy and productive time!

There is a great crowd here in Brussels this week with a wealth of ideas and experiences to share both in formal sessions and the networking events that surround them. We want to share our views and reactions to all of this and will be doing so via the GSI and TSG blogs. We would love to hear your reactions too!

February 3, 2010

Glasspockets website launched to improve transparency of US Foundations

Filed under: Access to information,Accountability,Philanthropy,Transparency — guidestarinternational @ 12:09
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The Foundation Center has launched Glasspockets.org to promote and facilitate greater transparency among private foundations. It encourages foundations to share their successes and failures and highlight good performance of peers. The site provides important facts about all 97,000 U.S. foundations, examples of philanthropy’s impact on important issues, and information about the transparency efforts of foundations. The site also has a real-time foundation Twitter feed; a Transparency 2.0 section that showcases the growing number of foundations using social media; and a Who Has Glass Pockets? section that shows the online communication practices of foundations based on what they make publicly available.

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