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Guest Blog Post: Moving From Stakeholder To Network Weaver

By Debra AskanaseCommunity Organizer 2.0
Originally Posted on the Blog


Can an organization build a “success strategy” for moving stakeholders, those already invested in the success of an organization, up a ladder of engagement to become network weavers? To become online fundraisers, too? These were the key questions I considered and spoke about during a presentation this week at the Women in Philanthropy speaker series. The audience, primarily women in development and marketing, wanted to know how they could find, connect with, and motivate their own fans to become even more engaged online.

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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: January 2013

On Nonprofit Leadership…

Nonprofit social media expert Beth Kanter is interviewed on her advice for developing nonprofits and her thoughts on the changing dynamics of philanthropy and use of social media in this month’s FastCompany Co.Exist article by Rachael Chong. Curtis Ogden of the IISC Blog references the emergence of social media and other social and economic factors on the changing demands of leadership in his article, New Calls to Leadership. The Monitor Institute also features an article on adaptive leadership this month, where the classic model of strategic planning is examined against the organizational demands of a rapidly changing world.

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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: November 2012


On Social Change…

As part of the Management Assistance Group’s Network Leadership Innovation Lab, a new case study has been released that focuses on highly effective network leader, and social justice pioneer, Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice. The IISC Blog follows the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s annual conference, Rising Beyond the Challenge, where race and racism are explored as the backdrop for social change work. Cultural competence was a primary focus at the recent AEA national conference, causing us to revisit at the 2011 publication, the American Evaluation Association Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation.

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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: September 2012


On Networks and Resilience...

In Curtis Ogden’s article Dimensions of Network Success, he revisits IISC’s framework for assessing the determinants and definitions of success and draws parallels with Plastrik and Taylor’s  matrix on Differing Characteristics of the Three Networks from their 2006 publication NET GAINS: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change. Valdis Krebs writes on Infrastructure Resilience in his article reflecting on lessons from the book, Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Krebs poses that using Social Network Analysis to identify and create alternative paths in a network is key for network resilience.


On Evaluation...

The podcast Making Change recently featured Hildy Gottlieb’s interview with Michael Quinn Patton, an author of five books on program evaluation. In the podcast, Patton discusses evaluating programs in times of rapid change. Ellen Remmer of The Philanthropic Initiative Inc., writes on the recent proliferation of the concept of social capital, following several examples of foundations, including Barr Foundation with the eight-year-old Barr Fellows Network, that have put forth effort in this area.


Image Source: IISC 2012

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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: October 25, 2011

On Civic Engagement... read more »

  • Volunteering and high levels of civic engagement have helped certain communities weather unemployment with greater ease. The National Conference on Citizenship has created a report based off of U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Labor Statistics. Working with neighbors in one’s community resulted in a decrease of .256% unemployment. The report calls on community and business leaders to foster a local discussion in their community on civic engagement.
  • This follows a new study where social change was found to be a priority for Americans. Walden University and Harris Interactive conducted a survey of 2,100 people and found that 85% believe that their individual actions can effect social change and more than 50% plan to engage in creating social change in the future.

LLC Partner Spotlight: Marc Smith, Connected Action


We are pleased to have Marc Smith as August's featured partner.  Marc specializes in social network analysis applied to social media. He leads the Connected Action consulting group, and is a co-founder of the Social Media Research Foundation.  We met Marc earlier this year when we attended a workshop on mapping social networks with NodeXL sponsored by the Community Foundation for Monterey County.  We were impressed by the power of the NodeXL tool, and also by Marc’s ability to explain network analysis concepts and make the information relevant and compelling.  When we had the opportunity to work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on a social network analysis project, we immediately thought of partnering with Marc to leverage NodeXL and his expertise in the area to help analyze Twitter networks.  We are thankful for Marc’s valuable contribution to the project and look forward to working with him in the future.

In talking about patterns of connections, Marc says it best:

Almost everyone is connected to someone else, but not everyone is connected equally.  The study of patterns of connections, called network analysis, is a way of understanding the dense webs of links, ties, and relationships that surround each of us.  In a world of social networking services, mobile devices, and persistent connections to data networks, we now live connected to one another in a way that is historically unique.  Network analysis is a method for measuring and visualizing these patterns to find the key people and groups within them.  

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News Update: Communication Revolution, Network Weaving, and Leadership!

On The Communication (and Political) Revolution… 

  • As we have watched events in Egypt unfold in the recent weeks, we have to be amazed by the incredible connective technologies that have helped to spur this historic revolution.  According to Marcia Newbert of Edleman Digital, we are witnessing a communications revolution as well as a political one.  She points out and discusses several points that suggest social media has had a very significant impact on unfolding events.

  • Meta-Activism Projects posts a framework for examining the role technology has played in contributing to activism in Egypt.  The seven activist uses of digital technology include: documentation, synthesis, resource transfer, co-creation, mobilization, broadcast, and protection. 

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Weekly News Update: Shared Value, Collaboration, and Public Health

On Business and Creating Shared Value...  read more »

  • Groupon, a multibillion dollar company that offers highly discounted goods and services to its users, has roots in social entrepreneurship.  The CEO, Andrew Mason, began Groupon around the same time that he started The Point – an initiative based on the concept that people will take social action if a certain number of people also agree to take the same social action.  The two projects have now combined into what Mason terms G-Team. In Mason’s words, “Every G-Team campaign connects you with enough people to achieve something awesome that you couldn’t have done alone.” 
  • Despite its efforts to engage in corporate responsibility practices, business has been under fire in recent years because it is believed to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.  According to Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer of Harvard Business Review, the way to resolve this is not to embark on more corporate responsibility ventures, but instead to create “shared value.”  The authors write that shared value, which is defined as creating economic value while also creating societal value by addressing community needs and challenges, "is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success.”
  • A new finding by StaffShare states that a business’s staff retention “improves when skills are shared,” meaning that redundancies can be reduced if a “shared talent pool is developed” and employers learn and share the talents of their employees.

Nonprofit Leadership Weekly News Update: Networks, Collaboration, Learning

 On Networks...

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  • Valdis Krebs, the Founder and Chief Scientist at, shares his thoughts on “thriveability” and on social network analysis (SNA).  SNA – the "mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers, URLs, and other connected information/knowledge entities” – either supports or constrains cultural, organizational, and individual change.  It is the structures that maximize emergence, learning, agility, and adaptability that prompt positive change by properly preparing people for the unknown, Krebs says, while “highly homophilious networks” will only hinder us.  Leadership, also, and emerging ideas about different types of leadership, are prevalent and encouraged in networks.
  • Weaving, “an intentional practice of helping people connect to information, opportunity, each other and, most importantly, their own personal power," is propelled by institutional “helping” spaces.  In a powerful blog post, Bill Traynor of Lawrence CommunityWorks Inc., explains the importance of creating these spaces and methods by which to do so.

News Alert: Race and Unity, Innovation, Networking, and Collaboration!

On Race and Unity read more »

  • Using the “No Wedding No Womb” program as an example, Mikhail Lyubansky makes the argument that racial injustices need to be addressed at a systematic or structural level rather than at an individual level.  NWNW is a program that encourages black women not to have children out of wedlock.  It does not promote abstinence necessarily, but instead relies on statistics to show that children are much more likely to succeed when they have “physical, financial, and emotional protection,” which they are more likely to have if their parents are married than if they are not (or than if they are being raised by a single parent).  Lyubansky argues that the message of the program is positive, but it addresses the wrong issues.  Rather than focusing our efforts on helping black women to make the best of the current (unfair) situation, we should be focusing on changing the system to resolve current inequalities.
  • In South Dakota, 2010 has been dubbed by many as the “year of unity.”  The purpose of the year of unity is to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions American Indians have brought to the state and, ultimately, to get their land returned to them.  In a blog post on Race-Talk, Tim Giago writes about the necessity of bringing unity to South Dakota and also recaps some of the major gains in the past 20 years regarding ending racial injustices.
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