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Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits



Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits

Leslie R. Crutchfield, Heather McLeod Grant, Steve Case (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-89394-4 May 2010 Jossey-Bass 336 Pages


An innovative guide to how great nonprofits achieve extraordinary social impact. What makes great nonprofits great? Authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant searched for the answer over several years, employing a rigorous research methodology which derived from books on for-profits like Built to Last. They studied 12 nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact—from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation—and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world. This book has lessons for all readers interested in creating significant social change, including nonprofit managers, donors and volunteers.

Leslie R. Crutchfield (Washington, D.C.) is a managing director of Ashoka and research grantee of the Aspen Institute. Heather McLeod Grant (Palo Alto, CA) is a nonprofit consultant and advisor to Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship and the Stanford Center for Social Innovation. Crutchfield and Grant were co-founding editors of Who Cares, a national magazine reaching 50,000 readers in circulation between 1993-2000.

Foreword vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

The Authors xvii

Introduction 1

1 Forces for Good 11

2 Advocate and Serve 30

3 Make Markets Work 55

4 Inspire Evangelists 81

5 Nurture Nonprofit Networks 104

6 Master the Art of Adaptation 128

7 Share Leadership 153

8 Sustaining Impact 179

9 Putting It into Practice 207

Appendix A: Research Methodology 225

Appendix B: Field Experts 237

Appendix C: Case Study Research

Guidelines and Questions 241

Appendix D: Key Stakeholders Interview List 245

Appendix E: Organization Profiles 253

Endnotes 285

Additional Resources 295

Index 303

  • Written in an engaging, accessible style using a fresh and carefully chosen sample of organizations, this book provides powerful insights for all students who care about creating positive social change.
  • Among the emerging themes are a focus on field building (not empire ruling), learning as a core attribute, creative capacity building, and the ability to focus on the solution rather than the problem.
"This book goes beyond social businesses to delve into broader issues of poverty, offers an interesting alternative model for us to consider as we contemplate social action." (The Globe and Mail, 02/20/08)

Voted Top Ten Book of the Year, 2007 --The Economist

Recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Skystone Ryan Prize for Research, 2008

Recipient of the Axiom Business Book Award in the Philanthropy/Charity /Nonprofit category, 2008 "Author with Valley roots help nonprofits partner with others in communities to share their missions." (Fresno Bee)

"…the books strength is how well it translates business practices and philosophies." (Library Journal, Dec 15, 2007)

"Cleverly chosen examples show how the best achieve their impact."  (The Economist, Saturday 8th December 2007)

"These are important findings, and not just for NGOs: traditional for-profit companies could probably learn a thing or two"  (, December 2007)

"They found that one quality that makes great nonprofits great." (, 10/30/2007)

"FFG provides many more examples of stellar leadership at work…" (, 10/30/2007)

"Non profit organizations with budgets big and small can make a notable impact in their fields… The book, which was in its third printing before it was released Friday, identifies six practices. . ." (Washington Times, 10/29/2007)

5-Star Review: " The book does not get bogged down in reams of data… rather is carried by stories told—stories that are dramatic, heart warming . . ." (, 10/22/2007)

"FFG is significant because it really defines the new world we are living in." (Eric Swanson.blogspot, 10/22/2007)

"Through extensive surveys and interviews, the authors develop six practices common to high-impact nonprofits: offering advocacy efforts and service, harnessing market forces and leveraging the power and resources of business, engaging individuals from outside the organization, working with and through other organizations, learning to adapt, and sharing leadership by empowering others." (Booklist, 10/15/2007)

Image of the book and announcement of the book featured on the main page. (City Year, e-newsletter, 09/20/2007)

"Whether you're a nonprofit leaders, a philanthropist, a business exec, a donor, or a volunteer, you will find something that inspires you to be an even more effective catalyst for lasting social change." (

Forces for Good Read all the news and reviews about this amazing force for good, find out more about the sponsors, read Leslie and Heather's blog, and find out if they'll be traveling to a city near you.