According to Researchers Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, becoming a high-impact nonprofit is not just about building a great organization and then expanding it to reach more people. Rather, high-impact nonprofits work with and through organizations and individuals outside themselves to create more impact than they ever could have achieved alone. The following are excerpts, on ways to maximize impact, culled from their write up (https://ssir.org/articles/entry/creating_high_impact_nonprofits):
- Serve and Advocate: High-impact organizations may start out providing great programs, but they eventually realize that they cannot achieve large-scale social change through service delivery alone. So they add policy advocacy to obtain government resources and to change legislation.
- Make Markets Work: High-impact nonprofits have learned that tapping into the power of self-interest and the laws of economics is far more effective than appealing to pure altruism. These nonprofits find ways to work with markets and help companies “do good while doing well.” They influence business practices, build corporate partnerships, and develop earned income ventures to achieve social change on a grander scale.
- Inspire Evangelists: High-impact nonprofits build strong communities of supporters who help them achieve their larger goals. They value volunteers, donors, and advisers not only for their time, money, and guidance but also for their evangelism. To inspire supporters’ commitment, these nonprofits create emotional experiences that help connect supporters to the group’s mission and core values. High-impact nonprofits then nurture and sustain these communities of supporters over time, recognizing that they are not just means, but ends in themselves.
- Nurture Nonprofit Networks: Although most nonprofits pay lip service to collaboration, many of them really see other groups as competition for scarce resources. However, high impact organizations help their peers succeed, building networks of nonprofit allies and devoting remarkable time and energy to advancing their fields. They freely share wealth, expertise, talent, and power with other nonprofits not because they are saints, but because it’s in their self-interest to do so.
- Master the Art of Adaptation: High-impact nonprofits are exceptionally adaptive, modifying their tactics as needed to increase their success. They have responded to changing circumstances with one innovation after another. Along the way, they’ve made mistakes and have even produced some flops. But unlike many nonprofits, they have also mastered the ability to listen, learn, and modify their approach on the basis of external cues. Adaptability has allowed them to sustain their impact.
- Share Leadership: They know that they must share power in order to be stronger forces for good. They distribute leadership within their organizations and throughout their external nonprofit networks, empowering others to lead. Leaders of high-impact nonprofits cultivate a strong second-in-command, build enduring executive teams with long tenure, and develop large and powerful boards.
The six points above contribute to what makes a High Impact Non-profit. Indeed, For-Profit organizations can really learn a lot from the above. As our world becomes volatile amidst the COVID-19, it is time for organizations to strategize and re-strategize.
If you are a Non-Profit (church, mosque, NGO), then this is the best time to take a critical look at how you have been running the organization and see how you can re-invent yourself with the above in mind.
We have just started exploring the topic, please follow us on our social media handles as we adapt this to For-Profit organizations, employers, employees and even stakeholders.