The Tides Insider | January 2013

Tides Insider: The Tides Quarterly Newsletter
Investing for Impact, by Melissa Bradley, Tides CEO
#JBL Awards: New Orleans
Colin Higgins Youth Courage Awards: Nominations Open
Social Media on Purpose: Conference with SSIR
From the Tides Community

Investing for Impact by Melissa Bradley, Tides CEO

The term impact investing has been gaining brand value over the past five years. The precursors of community investing and socially responsible investing are ironically being dropped from the conversation as if to imply that impact investing is a brand new phenomenon. While there is innovation inherent in impact investing, it is important to leverage the histories – good and bad – from community development, socially responsible investing, and venture philanthropy in order to support the success, sustainability and scale of the larger social benefit marketplace. More >

#JBL Awards: Tides honors Gulf Coast activists

On November 28th Tides honored Louisiana environmental advocates Brendar Dardar Robichaux and MaryLee Orr, two astounding local leaders and grassroots activists who brought their communities together and advocated for truth, accountability, and justice in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The "JBLs" seek to recognize individuals who have exhibited a deep commitment to the public interest and whose work demonstrates innovative approaches to social change. Jane Bagley Lehman was one of the founders of the Tides Foundation in 1976, and the Chair of the Board until her death in 1988. Check out our Facebook page for more pictures from the event, and stay tuned for news about the next Jane Bagley Lehman award cycle. More >


Colin Higgins Youth Courage Awards: Nominations Open

The nomination period for the 2013 Colin Higgins Youth Courage Awards is now open! Please nominate LGBTQ individuals who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and discrimination based on gender and/or sexual orientation.

In 2013, three honorees will receive a $10,000 grant which will be presented in New York City at an honorary celebration and awards ceremony in June. Honorees will also receive an expense-paid trip to the 2014 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference.

Colin Higgins Youth Courage Awards were established in 2000 to further the spirit and lifework of Colin Higgins. All of his films celebrate honesty and integrity in the face of adversity: Harold and Maude find love despite the objections of family and society, the heroes of Nine to Five find fulfillment and save the company by learning to appreciate their individual talents and differences, and the despised madam of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas transforms the lives of many through her kindness. Like the characters in his films, Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award recipients have endured overwhelming hardships due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, yet have handled themselves with the utmost grace.

Please note:

Nominations MUST be received by: Wednesday, February 29th, at 5pm Pacific Standard Time.
Self-nominations are NOT accepted.
Multiple nominations ARE acceptable.
Nominees must be 21 or under at the time of nomination.
Awards are open to LGBTQ youth living in the U.S. only.

Nominate an individual today!


Social Media on Purpose, with Stanford Social Innovation Review

Integrate social media into your organization's strategy!

It's a new year! Start the year with a fresh outlook on social media within your organization:

Tides and the Stanford Social Innovation Review have combined forces to launch Social Media on Purpose, January 30th, at Stanford University. This intensive, one-day conference is designed for executives at nonprofits and other social mission organizations who are responsible for their organization's social media strategy.

Sessions will include:
A framework for developing an effective social media strategy for your organization
In-depth presentations and discussion of each of the major platforms
Numerous mini-case studies from nonprofit initiatives—with results and lessons learned
Up-and-coming social media platforms, tools, and community sites
Inspiration and encouragement from speakers and participants

Register today to get the Early Bird rate!

Confirmed speakers include Meg Garlinghouse, head of social impact, LinkedIn; Libby Leffler, strategic partner manager, Facebook; Ramya Raghavan, nonprofit program manager, YouTube; and Marcia Stepanek, journalist and adjunct faculty, New York University.

From the Tides Community

Nick Flynn's "The Reenactments" Book Launch

On January 25th, Nick Flynn will read from his newest book, The Reenactments, and join in discussion with Rebecca Solnit (author of Invisible Cities, among others). Co-presented by St. Cyprian's & The Rumpus, the event will also feature musical appearances by Penelope Houston and Cass McCombs.

Ticket sales will support Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area. More >

How Small Nonprofits Can Improve Their Financial Health

Three-quarters of American nonprofits have annual budgets under $1 million, and most are even smaller. What these organizations lack in size, however, they make up for in impact. They respond to local needs, are absolutely critical to community building, and are staffed by people who understand and care about their communities–communities that have been abandoned by countless others.

Yet, we know from our work with small nonprofits (most recently through the Capital and Capacity for Economic Recovery Initiative) that they often struggle with financial challenges that are unique to their size and structure.

Executive directors of small groups often assume leadership through a deep knowledge and understanding of programs and generally have less experience in finance than those of larger ones. On top of that, it can be hard for groups with limited budgets to bring financial expertise in-house. So the executive director often handles finances, relying on part-time bookkeepers who aren't committed to the organization's strategic goals. Without financial expertise, staff members struggle to analyze their audit data or ask the right questions, and data-driven decision making is just not possible. More >

A Storytelling Platform for Nonprofit Organizations

Are you looking for a better way to tell your story of change?

Do you want to increase funding, volunteer recruitment, and awareness for your cause?

Totella is a community-driven storytelling platform designed for community members to easily tell their story and then present those stories in a compelling way. Our platform allows users to tell their story through pictures, videos, audio, and text. In doing so, communities articulate organizational value, increase engagement between stakeholders, and increase awareness of their cause.

By adopting such a platform, organizations can:

* Increase funding by showing organizational value in an engaging and compelling way (important for donors and fundraising drives)

* Save time by providing members, volunteers, and other stakeholders the tools to tell their story

* Engage their base by providing them a platform to express themselves

* Increase volunteer recruitment through real stories of creating change

* Use it as a campaigning tool for causes by integrating with social networks like Facebook and Twitter

Totella is seeking to partner with five (5) organizations to develop the feature set for non - profit organizations. Organizations that take advantage of this opportunity would be the first to be profiled on Totella at no cost to the organization. Partnership would require active involvement from the organization in providing feedback and testing new features.

If you are interested, send an email to Paul Singh at

Greenpeace Action Camp
Apply today for Greenpeace Activist Training Camp – March 18-23, 2013

Are you ready to take your activism to the next level? At Greenpeace Action Camp, we give you the tools you need to be an activist in your community -- from climbing in direct action scenarios to learning how to talk to media. In 2012 we witnessed movements everywhere taking a stand for real change, and this year promises to be even more exciting.

This March, Greenpeace will be gathering together with activists from across the country to hold a week-long direct action training camp in California. There couldn't be a better moment to build the skills, techniques, and strategies that the next generation of activists will need in order stop climate change, protect the oceans and forests, stop toxic pollution, and transition to clean energy. The deadline for applications is February 1st, so please apply today.

At the camp, participants will learn:

● History and philosophy of nonviolent direct action
● Scouting and preparing for a direct action
● Discuss Greenpeace campaigns with the campaigners themselves
● Blockade techniques
● Arts and prop making
● How to talk to media
● Know your rights and legal training
● Climbing in direct action scenarios
● Boat driving for water based direct action

And much more. Find out more and apply today!

One goal of the Greenpeace training program is to spread skills in a variety of direct action techniques throughout the activist world with the idea that the more skilled and experienced activists there are in our shared movements, the better for all. We recognize the fact that most, if not all, meaningful social movements throughout history have been conceived, organized, and orchestrated from the ground up by front-line communities. We also see how the environmental activist movement has often failed to be inclusive and supportive of these very same communities. As a larger, well resourced activist organization, Greenpeace would like to be a part of changing this dynamic by supporting all communities through offering direct action skills trainings, resource development, and bringing different activist communities together by creating a safe and inclusive space for skill sharing and learning.

To that end, we will prioritize outreach to people in marginalized, underrepresented, and front-line communities. People of color, women, especially women of color, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming individuals, and those with limited financial resources are all highly encouraged to apply.

Study on Nonprofit Investing

Raffa Wealth Management, LLC (RWM) and Raffa, PC today announced the launch of The Study on Nonprofit Investing (SONI), to provide senior finance executives at nonprofit organizations with peer benchmarking data on investment policies and investment performance. The survey is accessible via an online registration here, will interview finance executives at trade associations, public charities and private foundations. All survey respondents will receive a full copy of the results, which will be replicated annually. Amplitude Research has been commissioned to conduct the survey.

"Finance executives at nonprofits today are really operating in a vacuum with regard to solid peer data about investment policies and performance," said Dennis Gogarty, president of Raffa Wealth Management. "We created SONI to respond to this void, and to provide nonprofits with the benchmarking data they need to strengthen their policies, reach their investment potential and ultimately better serve their communities."

The survey results will identify best practices in nonprofit investment policies including:
· How cash reserves are segmented
· How long-term investments are allocated
· How to respond to temporary short falls in revenue
· How to best manage earnings on long-term investments
· Who has investment decision-making authority
The survey will also look at average annual ROI for each type of nonprofit surveyed including associations, charities and foundations.

It is anticipated that survey results will provide nonprofit administrators and their governing boards with a new set of tools to measure the success of nonprofit investment management strategies so they can more effectively fulfill oversight and fiduciary responsibilities, strengthen investment decision-making, and ultimately improve bottom line results.

Nonprofit organizations that would like to participate in the survey must register by January 18, 2013 at: SONI Registration Form

Participation is anonymous and responses will be analyzed collectively with the results of other survey participants.

The Tides Holiday Party!

On December 14th, Tides staff gathered to celebrate the holidays and the end of the year. The #WhatsPossible awards were given out to 12 of our star employees (check out our Facebook page for the winners), and great food and drink was had by all. Here's to a great 2013! More >