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From onPhilanthropy’s Publisher: The Inside Story

By Tom Watson on March 23, 2009No Comment

We’ve taken on this tradition here at onPhilanthropy as well, reporting in to our readers occasionally over the years, and it’s time to do so again. In a time of challenge and change, we are immersed in both – and we believe it’s a good time to tell our readers about it.

First, is still going strong in its 10th year of service to the philanthropy and nonprofit sector – so congratulate us, please! Over the past decade, we’ve published more than 1,000 articles on nonprofit management, philanthropic trends, fundraising, and the social commons – and we’ve mailed millions of email newsletters. And we will continue to do so. Our mission is to provide thought-provoking viewpoints and mission-critical information to the great people who work or volunteer in nonprofits, foundations, and the world of corporate social engagement. That’s our bedrock proposition, and it will not change.

But change is everywhere these days. And the ownership of this publication has, indeed, changed. Oh, you wouldn’t know it by the faces around here, of course. Editor-in-chief Susan Carey Dempsey and Publisher Tom Watson are still at the helm. But we’re now the founders and managing partners of CauseWired Communications LLC, a New York-based media and consulting company that launched in January.

Here’s the CauseWired story in a nutshell. Last year, Tom Watson wrote a book called CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World (Wiley) about the rise of online social activism, expanding on some of the themes he’s explored at onPhilanthropy. The book is now in its third printing, and its success inspired Tom and Susan to spin off CauseWired (the company) from Changing Our World, Inc., our longtime headquarters. CauseWired provides communications and development consulting for nonprofits and foundations; it will also publish onPhilanthropy going forward and host the annual Summit onPhilanthropy in New York this June.

Changing Our World, a true leader in the philanthropic sector and home to some of world’s best fundraising and philanthropic consultants, remains a close affiliate of the new company – and Changing Our World is also the lead sponsor of onPhilanthropy. And you’ll continue to read articles by Changing Our World experts in onPhilanthropy, led by the redoubtable Dr. Susan Raymond, our chief sector analyst and one of the nation’s leading philanthropic experts.

We are also supported by other terrific sponsors, companies whose products and services are vital to the nonprofit sector, including: Convio, Mutual of America, Grant Thornton and Wiley. Our business model also includes revenue from book sales, from Google advertising, and from our DotOrgJobs employment board, which has some of the best job opportunities in the sector.

And more change is on the way. Later this year, onPhilanthropy plans to relaunch as a large, blog-style community of writers and analysts, moving from a strictly weekly publication cycle to a constant stream of timely posts and articles. Clearly, there is a market for more voices in the philanthropic sector, and we hope the new site will provide a wide range of useful and interesting ideas and viewpoints. But we know many of you simply like the weekly newsletter – that you may not visit us every day or subscribe to our RSS feeds or visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. That’s fine: we’re keeping the weekly newsletter, which now boasts 20,000 subscribers.

From the start, way back in 1999, this has been a two-way street. We always like to hear from readers. Share your experiences; suggest topics; express your opinions. Our sector is so important, especially in these times. More than ever, social services will need to reach out to those deeply affected by the economy. Excellent, deserving causes are feeling increased competition for diminished resources. At the same time, tremendous strides have been made in innovative forms of philanthropy in recent years, and the best thinking of all in the field is crucial to expanding the progress that’s been made. Our job is to help support those who try to change the world for the better, by shining a light on your efforts, and by turning up the volume on the discussion. With your help, we’ll keep doing so for many years. With all of the online tools of communication at our disposal and even old-fashioned cards and letters onPhilanthropy can best continue to serve the sector by encouraging dialogue among this powerful community of voices for change.

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