Summary

What makes great nonprofits great? Not large budgets. Not snazzy marketing. Not perfect management. The answer is not what you might think. Great nonprofits spend as much time working with institutions outside their four walls as they do managing their internal operations. They use the power of leverage to become greater forces for good. This landmark book reveals the six powerful practices of 12 high-impact nonprofits and tells their compelling stories.
Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant spent four years surveying thousands of nonprofit leaders, conducting hundreds of interviews, and studying in-depth a dozen high-impact organizations to uncover their secrets to success. Their quest took them from the well-known (Habitat for Humanity) to the less well-known (YouthBuild USA) and to the unexpected (the Exploratorium). What the authors discovered surprised them.
How did seeing a pile of McDonald's trash lead Environmental Defense's president to join forces with business instead of treating it as the enemy? Why did a school bus driver prompt Self-Help Credit Union to move from serving low-income groups in North Carolina to launching a national advocacy campaign against predatory lenders? And how did Teach For America turn the teachers it places in underserved public schools into a national vanguard for education reform?
At a time when the social sector has grown to more than $1 trillion, understanding what leads to impact is essential. Whether you're a nonprofit leader, philanthropist, business executive, board member, volunteer, or simply interested in changing the world, this book will inspire you to be a stronger force for good.
©2007 John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp
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Critic reviews

"Cleverly chosen examples show how the best achieve their impact....These are important findings, and not just for NGOs: traditional for-profit companies could probably learn a thing or two." ( The Economist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Elanjelian on 03-02-10

Pretty Good

In 'Forces for Good' the authors discuss at length six practices that they believe are essential for organisations to have high impact. The book gives examples after examples of how these practices have contributed to the success of the 12 high impact non-profits. Most of these non-profits are well-known. (Except for 'Share Our Strength' and 'Self-Help', I was informed of the work of other 10.)

The book contains many interesting nuggets that could get non-profit leaders thinking. Though be prepared for a lot of repetition; and bombast.

From my own experience running a non-profit and a foundation over the past seven years, I have come across many non-profits that start with good intentions but very soon get bogged down due to involvement in multiple (often unaligned) programmes. Many of these programmes may exist sheerly by habit, for their own sake!

On the negative side, I cannot help but feel the authors' definition of impact to be limited or self-serving, like in the case of growth companies during their bubble phase. What kind of impact are these organisations having on their target groups in the long-run? The book has little to say.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Jamie on 26-06-17

Awful Narrator, couldn't even finish this book

What would have made Forces for Good better?

A good narrator; Leslie Crutchfield would be good (one of the authors).

Would you be willing to try another one of Erik Synnestvedt’s performances?

I prefer the computer synthesized text to this narrator; he sounds more robotic than a computer.

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