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Social Transformation Resources

Cocreating a Change-Making Culture

In “Cocreating a Change-Making Culture” in the winter 2018 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we argue that when collaboratives get intentional about culture, they can more quickly and more effectively tackle social problems at the magnitude at which they exist. Culture is present in all of our work but becomes even more complex when working in formal collaboratives as each organization brings its own culture and priorities. How can collaboratives build and nurture cultures that accelerate impact rather than slow it down? How can grantmakers support these efforts?

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The Strength of Social Enterprise

In “The Strength of Social Enterprise” in the winter 2018 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we explore the strength of social enterprise. As government and philanthropic funding becomes unpredictable and markets evolve, some nonprofits can succeed with social enterprise. An innovative NeighborWorks America program shows them how to do it.

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Making Network-Based Strategy Work: A Field Guide


In an era of movement-building and collective impact models, many nonprofits continue to rely on networks of chapters, affiliates or partners to achieve transformational results at scale. While networks have served as an essential tool to scale social change for years, the shape, size and complexity of networks have continued to evolve. Today’s network leaders face a complex set of challenges when developing and implementing new strategies. How do you set goals and build a shared commitment to achieve them? How do you drive performance without undermining innovation? How do you cultivate shared learning across a network? Following our webinar on this topic, we put together a Field Guide with tips and stories on navigating four pitfalls of implementing network-wide strategy.

This field guide serves to help leaders sharpen their approach to implementing strategy across a network.

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Change-Making Culture Positions Foundations For Transformational Change

Our published article in The Foundation Review argues that a foundation’s internal culture is critical to achieving large-scale social change, but that efforts to build a change-making culture are too often left out of strategy conversations. While there is no one culture that suits every foundation, a particular set of characteristics must be present in those that seek large-scale social change: a focus on outcomes, transparency, authenticity, collaboration, equity and inclusion, continuous learning, and openness to risk.

This article offers insights into why culture can be challenging for foundations to address and maintain, examines cases of successful culture change at foundations, and offers advice for foundations that aspire to it. 

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Intentional Influence: Tactics for Overcoming Barriers to Action

II_supplementOur Stanford Social Innovation Review blog series, “The Value of Intentional Influence,” lays out an approach for intentional influence by framing five questions leaders should address. These questions help leaders determine who can play a role in solving the problem, what actions they want individuals to take, what barriers (either motivation or ability) need to be overcome, and how they might move people to action.

Much of the research around influence asserts that for people to take an action, they have to believe that it is worth it (they feel motivated) and that they can do it (they feel able.) This understanding provides a framework for thinking about potential barriers to action—either motivation or ability—and potential ways to address them. This supplement offers examples of diverse change agents using intentional influence tactics to confront and overcome the barriers that keep people from taking action.

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When Good is Not Good Enough

Article-e1376500013207Our article in the fall 2013 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

In this article, co-authored with leaders from KaBOOM! and Share Our Strength, we argue that the social sector must shift its attention from modest goals that provide short-term relief to bold goals that, while harder to achieve, aim to tackle social problems at the magnitude they exist. The article describes the obligation and opportunity KaBOOM! and Share Our Strength found in reflecting on their results and confronting the tough question, “What does success look like?”

Both organizations have transitioned towards bold commitments to realize significant, lasting impact at the population-level. Highlighting insights from Community Wealth Partners’ in-depth research on other transformational efforts, the article pulls back the curtain to show the difficulty and complexity of the transitions we are helping both KaBOOM! and Share Our Strength navigate.

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Where to Start: Setting a Bold Goal

Field-guide-e1376500156536A field guide for setting your bold goal—the first step in pushing beyond incremental progress toward transformational change.

At Community Wealth Partners we are focused on one powerful question: Why do some social change efforts achieve transformational results while others only make incremental progress? As we have examined how transformational change agents define success for their efforts, we have found that they approach this question differently than many of their social sector peers. They push beyond compelling but often ambiguous vision and mission statements and instead define success with bold, long-term goals. Such goals lead to decisions that propel change agents on a clearer and more powerful trajectory, ultimately leading to greater impact, faster. This field guide offers a set of frameworks, examples and questions for change agents starting down the path of setting a bold goal.

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Social Transformation Lifecycle

A tool to help you ask the powerful questions necessary for gauging and advancing your progress toward transformational change.

Life-Cycle-e1376500231386This tool draws from our client work and in-depth research on efforts that have tackled social problems at the magnitude they exist. Although this work is complex and messy, we’ve found that transformational efforts often progress through a common set of stages. Across each stage, there are critical questions with which change agents must wrestle, and ultimately answer to make progress. We would encourage you to locate your efforts within this lifecycle and consider which questions to begin answering.

See our case studies for more information on our work with Share Our Strength and KaBOOM!.

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If you have any trouble downloading the above resources, please send us an email.