The Mighty Five: November.

 

A cross-sector curation of the month’s best social impact listens & reads

 
 
 Syrian refugees dance at a wedding celebration in a refugee camp in Marj El-Khokh, in Marjaayoun, Syria. The father of the groom said, "We want to create life out of death .... People should not continue to be morbid." CREDIT: Lynsey Addario

Syrian refugees dance at a wedding celebration in a refugee camp in Marj El-Khokh, in Marjaayoun, Syria. The father of the groom said, "We want to create life out of death .... People should not continue to be morbid." CREDIT: Lynsey Addario

 
 

We read and listen to a lot around here. Articles, journals, case studies, podcasts – anything that provides nuggets of insight to fuel our mission and work. And we distill them down to our very top five in a regular monthly roundup. We hope you gain as much from reading it as we do from curating it.
 

1

No time to sleep.

The News Pakistan | 3min

Yeah, we’re homers. But there’s undeniable ROI in creative storytelling, marketing, and PR for social change. Last month, Justice Project Pakistan launched a gripping 24-hour live performance of a death row prisoner’s final hours. Entitled “No Time to Sleep,” the project gained massive national attention, garnered trending mentions on Twitter through its duration, and generated a big shift in the conversation around the broken Pakistani justice system. And if you’re interested in more media projects with a mission, check out the documentary “When Elephants Fight,” from executive producer Kwame Marfo – a new friend made at Opportunity Collaboration.
 

2

Worth a thousand...

Goats and Soda | 7min

And speaking of the power of media, we were gripped by the work of photojournalist Lynsey Addario. Her images need very little commentary, so we’ll offer only this: we appreciated her perspective on the ethics of photography and obtaining consent. (And for those of us who aren’t Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers, here’s a social media guide on how to communicate to the world from Radi-Aid and Barbie Savior).
 

3

The great zip code dream.

Hidden Brain | 52min

We’re based in Kampala but have roots in the Nashville area. Just one digit away from 37208: the zip code with America’s highest incarceration rate according to a recent analysis by the Brookings Institute. This study found that in North Nashville, one in seven children born from 1980 to 1986 can expect to end up incarcerated on any given day in their early 30s. Then, we listened to this podcast with Harvard researcher Raj Chetty and learned that the zip code in which you grew up has long-lasting effects, especially for people of color. And, the possibility of anyone achieving the “Great American Dream” is largely dependent upon circumstances outside of one’s control, like decades of housing policy and the quality of your kindergarten education.
 

4

To sell is human.

Entrepreneur | 4min

Honing a sales pitch isn’t a skill that’s reserved just for businesses. If you write grant proposals, solicit donations, seek behavior change, or pitch your model to the larger sector – you’re a salesperson. So understanding these five common irrationalities of humans might help your ability to convince them to buy/donate/agree with you – and in turn, increase your organizational impact. And if you’d like a deeper dive into pricing theory, we dug this webinar by value-based pricing expert Ronald J. Baker and this related HBR article. Good sales is both an art and a science – not just the purview of the development team.
 

5

A tough year for fundraising.

Giving Effectiveness Project | 5min

Giving Tuesday is around the corner and – if current 2018 trends hold – we’ll close the year with donations down compared to 2017: one of the few times since 1977 that giving has dipped from the year prior. According to the latest report from the Giving Effectiveness Project, total donors, amount raised, and donor retention have all declined since last year’s historic highs. There are other concerning trends: nonprofits also have to contend with a drop in the number of households who donate to charities, with the biggest decrease coming from the group aged 51-60. The reasons behind these trends aren’t completely clear, but it’s likely the changes to the U.S. tax code that eliminated most tax benefits for charitable donations have a lot to do with it. Here’s hoping the giving season is fruitful for all nonprofits - especially the small-but-mighty orgs on the front lines.
 

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