Reading through a recent issue of Contributions Magazine, I was delighted to stumble across a summary of a new book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.

The authors underwent an incredibly thorough research project to try and ferret out the things that made nonprofits excellent. It sounds a lot like the research style of Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

Their findings include six myths and six real factors. The six myths they found were:

  • Myth #1: Perfect Management
  • Myth #2: Brand-Name Awareness
  • Myth #3: A Breakthrough New Idea
  • Myth #4: Textbook Mission Statements
  • Myth #5: High Ratings on Conventional Metrics
  • Myth #6: Large Budgets

And the six practices of high-impact nonprofits are:

  1. Serve and Advocate
  2. Make Markets Work
  3. Inspire Evangelists
  4. Nurture Nonprofit Networks
  5. Master the Art of Adaptation
  6. Share Leadership

Did you see the #3 practice of high-impact nonprofits?! High-impact nonprofits inspire evangelists!

About this, the authors say:

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. These experiences convert outsiders to evangelists, who in turn recruit others in viral marketing at its finest. High-impact nonprofits then nurture and sustain these communities of supporters over time, recognizing that they are not just means, but ends in themselves...

Not all of the high-impact nonprofits we studied had an organizational model that makes involving supporters easy. Yet almost all of them found creative ways to convert core supporters to evangelists and to mobilize super-evangelists.

I've been teaching nonprofits to inspire evangelists since 2004 with the Creating Donor Evangelists report.

It's great to see others agree!

Read the a report on the Stanford Social Innovation Review at http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/creating_high_impact_nonprofits/.

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