If you only read one thing this week…

What makes nonprofits successful? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek

The book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits feels like the nonprofit equivalent of From Good to Great by Jim Collins that has so influenced the private sector in recent years.

For those of you who don’t have the time to read the book, Fast Company’s review provides a succinct summary of the six key findings that Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant discovered as they studied the 12 most successful nonprofits over a three-year time period.

In brief (but the article is worth reading as it fleshes the six points out a little more), successful nonprofits:

1. Don’t just implement great programs, they connect it with advocacy.

2. Connect in with market forces (don’t just rely on trying to ignite altruism!).

3. Engage others outside the agency to be passionate champions of their work.

4. Work collaboratively through networks with other nonprofits.

5. Learn to adapt (this seems the most obvious of the findings to me!)

6. Ensure that leadership doesn’t just reside with one person in the agency.

It is interesting to look at where (and where not) the intersection exists with this and the Good to Great approach. The book makes reference to the fact that management structures did not appear to be a critical success factor for these 12 NGOs. Also something which feels a little counter intuitive.


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