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The Competitive Advantage of Knowing Who You Are

At a dinner party not long ago I met Paul Brest, who was soon to retire as president of the Hewlett Foundation.  I knew of his work and writing and considered him one of the wise men of philanthropy and social change. I asked him about all of the interest in and work being done around developing metrics to measure social outcomes, and other ideas being debated in philanthropic circles, …Read More

What Does Success Look Like?

As I travel the country meeting with nonprofit organizations seeking to move from incremental impact to transformational change so that they can solve problems on the scale that they exist, a common obstacle appears almost without exception.  Whether they are working on hunger, health, education, community development, or a myriad of other challenges, nonprofit organizations are failing to grapple with the threshold questions on which all else depends: what specific …Read More

Your Survival is on the Line. Now What?

Last week’s keynote speech on “Investing In Leaders Who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact”, by Leap Of Reason author Mario Morino at the City Club in Cleveland, should have been a wake-up call to nonprofit and philanthropic leaders.  If they take to heart Morino’s warning that “your survival is on the line”, they must ask themselves the following questions: What steps are you taking to build …Read More

“Our survival is on the line.” – Mario Morino’s Cleveland Keynote

Whether it was sold out weeks in advance due to civic pride and respect for a successful son of Cleveland, or because nonprofits are desperate to find ways to do their work more powerfully, the City Club in Cleveland was packed on Friday for Mario Morino’s speech titled “RELENTLESS: Investing in Leaders Who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact”. It can be read here. Summarizing the main …Read More

Changing the Conversation

As Amy Celep noted in an earlier post, “changing the conversation” can be a powerful tool toward creating the change we want to see in the world.  I was reminded of the validity of Amy’s claim during a recent lunch meeting with Jim Down, a wonderful strategic thinker who led Mercer Management Consulting until retiring at age 50. Since then he has played a critical role in the nonprofit sector, …Read More

Five Failures Causing Nonprofit Staff to Flee

“Four out of five employees of charitable organizations are eager to leave their jobs and are actively seeking new positions.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which conducted the survey revealing this troubling statistic, attributes this job dissatisfaction to strains caused by the economic downturn. While those pressures are real and surely play a role, our experience working with hundreds of nonprofits since founding Community Wealth Partners is that much of what …Read More

Learnings from a Community of Social Problem Eradicators

The Gates Foundation recently hosted a forum in Seattle with 300 scientists from around the world to release the latest information about its campaign to eradicate malaria.  The lessons this community is learning and documenting during their fight to end malaria have profound takeaways for others who are waging similarly ambitious efforts to solve social problems at the scale they exist.

Why ALL nonprofits should be talking about jobs. Today.

Later today, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress to talk about jobs. Getting Americans back to work is a central ingredient to the long-term success of virtually every social program, including many supported by our clients. Record levels of poverty and unemployment make it extraordinarily difficult to reduce economic inequity and win battles to end hunger, ensure equal educational opportunities, and create a more just society. Those …Read More

11 Key Ingredients for Exponential Growth & Transformational Social Change

Share Our Strength has been on an incredible journey of growth over the past few years.  From 2008 to 2011, we’ve gone from being a $13-million organization to a $34-million organization. In the past year or so, we’ve more than doubled our staff size from 65 to 140. But we have not grown for the joy of feeling bigger and more powerful. We have grown because we were determined to …Read More

Sharing Our Growth: Pay attention to what matters most, not what others think matters most.

This is the twelfth in a series of posts that will tease out key ingredients from the exponential growth of Share Our Strength over the past few years. My previous post in this series discussed the power of accountability as a differentiator for nonprofits.  I emphasized that holding your organization accountable to specific outcomes can truly set you apart from others.  In order to do this, though, leaders must learn …Read More