FORCES FOR GOOD: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has been selected as one of America’s best nonprofits by a survey of nearly 3,000 nonprofit CEOs and 60 expert interviews conducted for the new book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits to be published today by Jossey-Bass.

“We are honored to be in the company of such respected institutions as the 12 organizations profiled in this book. Forces for Good is both a source of information and an inspiration for all nonprofits seeking to have impact in their work,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

Longtime nonprofit consultants Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant used rigorous research to identify and study the most successful nonprofits. They surveyed thousands of nonprofit leaders, conducted in-depth expert interviews, and analyzed reams of data just to select the 12 organizations featured in their book. They then studied these groups for several years to uncover their secrets to success.

The practices they discovered provide a new roadmap for anyone seeking to change the world. What the authors discovered in the course of their research surprised them, and flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

The secret? Great nonprofits spend as much time working with institutions outside their four walls as they do managing their own internal operations. They use the power of leverage to become greater forces for good. This landmark book reveals the six powerful practices of these high-impact nonprofits: Work with government and advocate for policy change; Harness market forces and see business as a powerful partner; Convert individual supporters into evangelists for the cause; Build and nurture nonprofit networks, treating other groups as allies; Adapt to the changing environment; and Share leadership, empowering others to be forces for good.

In addition to studying NCLR, the authors’ quest took them to the following high-impact nonprofits:

America’s Second Harvest, which annually distributes over 2 billion pounds of emergency food to more than 25 million Americans.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which has aided massive policy gains for low-income families in areas ranging from the EITC to food stamps.
City Year
, whose young leaders last year completed more than 1.4 million hours of service in mentoring, tutoring, and educating children in school.
Environmental Defense
, which virtually eliminated acid rain and created new models for addressing climate change.
Exploratorium, which has served as a model for interactive museums around the world and has catalyzed a worldwide hands-on science education movement.
Habitat for Humanity
, which has housed over a million poor people.
The Heritage Foundation
, considered by some to be America’s most influential think tank, which helped produce a conservative majority in Congress.
National Council of La Raza
, which has the largest network of service providers to, and is the leading advocate for, millions of Hispanic Americans in the U.S.
, which has saved families billons annually by fighting predatory lending, and has provided over $4.5 billion in financing to help borrowers build wealth through ownership of a home or business.
Share Our Strength
, which has raised over $200 million to fight hunger.
Teach For America
, which has reached more than 2.5 million students, made teaching in public schools cool, and created a vanguard for education reform. YouthBuild USA, which has produced over 15,000 units of low-income housing while helping low-income youth gain leadership and job skills.

Research for this book was sponsored by the Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and by the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program. A number of additional foundations and individuals provided financial support to the project.

Steve Case, the founder of AOL, and now a philanthropist, wrote the foreword to the book—which has received early positive reviews from a number of thought-leaders in the sector.

For more details about the methodology, research, or sponsors of the book, please visit:

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. Leslie Crutchfield is a managing director of Ashoka: Innovators of the Public, a philanthropic advisor, and a research grantee of the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program. Heather McLeod Grant is an advisor to the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and to leading nonprofits and foundations. For more information, please visit: Order books from: or bookstores nationwide.

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