I come across so many great conversations, ideas, and resources all over the web every day. Here are some of the most interesting things I’ve found recently (as of February 11th). You can join the conversations in the comments, or click through to the original posts to find what others are saying.

To follow more of the things I find online, you can follow @amysampleward on Twitter (which is just a blog and resource feed), or find me on Delicious (for all kinds of bookmarks).

  • Oxfam in Haiti – Google Maps – This is a great example of how you can use a tool like Google Maps to tell a story and provide easy access to information – great job Oxfam! "Oxfam is responding to the biggest earthquake for 200 years in Haiti. This map shows some of the sites where Oxfam is providing water and sanitation, as well as employment through the cash-for-work program. Oxfam has reached 100,000 people across multiple sites and is aiming to reach 500,000 total over the next six months."
  • Download the 2009 Data Ecosystem Survey Report | NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network – NTEN just released a report on the data ecosystem in nonprofit organizations – it's free for members, but $50 for non-NTEN members. "The data ecosystem is the collection of tools we use to manage all the ways we interact with donors, volunteers, activists, and supporters. We wanted to find out how happy organizations are with each of the tools they use, but also what tools make up their ecosystems, and how happy they are with those ecosystems as well."
  • 5 Ways to “Emerge” as a Nonprofit Leader | Rosetta Thurman – "Many young nonprofit professionals are waiting until they get the title of “Director” to lead. They are waiting until their older colleagues deem them “ready” to lead instead of emerging as leaders in the here and now. But what we have to understand is that this behavior doesn’t benefit our organizations nor the communities we seek to serve. What we have to understand is that we need as many young people as possible to emerge as nonprofit leaders, even if they don’t have a title. The future of the nonprofit sector depends on it."
  • 5 Real Challenges For Non-Profit Texting Campaigns – "Given the many aspects of texting, from technology to communications, non-profits need to consider SMS with their eyes wide open. Causes may even want to consider alternative mobile channels for communications and fundraising. Here are five things non-profits should consider before pursuing texting."
  • A Consumers Guide To Low-Cost Data Visualization Tools – Check out this great, free report from Idealware! "You've got data. How do you transform it into charts, graphs, and maps that will help your audience understand the data and move them to take action? This 30-page independent Idealware report provides an overview of the types of graphic formats that might work for you, and then compares eight low-cost tools that can help you create them."
  • Glasspockets – Check out this new resource from the Foundation Center:
    "With Glasspockets, the Foundation Center and its partners hope to:

    * Inspire private foundations to greater openness in their communications.
    * Increase understanding of best practices in foundation transparency and accountability in an online world.
    * Illustrate how institutional philanthropy is relevant to the critical issues of our time.
    * Highlight the many stories of philanthropy that show how private wealth is serving the public good.
    * Illuminate successes, failures, and ongoing experimentation so foundations can build on each other's ideas to increase impact."

Great reads from around the web on February 11th
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  • Hi Amy-

    In Rosetta’s piece about “emerging” as a leader, it is important for individuals to take initiative to become leaders. AND, it’s equally important for non-profit organizations to create an environment that allows that to happen. This is the “sweet spot” organization I’ve written a little bit about in the past at http://tinyurl.com/yg8nvg6

    I am helping to actively foster a “sweet spot” organization where I work. As we do so, employees will become more engaged, work will become more exciting, innovations will come with more frequency and oomph, and our organization will be able to accomplish infinitely more than what any one of us could accomplish alone. It’s the power of an organizational community and a collaborative environment. But, it doesn’t just “happen.” It needs wise guidance to strike a balance between formal and informal organizational processes. And when the balance is there, good things happen for organizations.

    Cultivating tomorrow’s leadership in nonprofits needs to be a priority today, and the “sweet spot” is one way to promote that.