A weekly round-up of articles, resources and information that you won't want to miss!

To end a busy week, we’re sharing some of the articles that piqued our interest, pushed us outside of our comfort zones and got us thinking. Happy Reading!


The Performance Imperative - By Leap of Reason

“High-performance organization” is a moniker most organizations—private, public, or nonprofit—would love to earn. And yet who can say what “high performance” really means for mission-based nonprofits? More important, how do executives, boards and funders get there from here?!

The Leap Ambassadors Community, a network of nonprofit executives, has spent a year developing clear, actionable answers to both questions. “The Performance Imperative: A framework for social-sector excellence” (PI) provides easily accessible insights, and the collective wisdom of some of the brightest lights in the field.

Recommended by Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, The Integration Initiative

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Focused on Community through Cross-SectorCollaboration - By John Kobara, The Huffington Post

The California Community Foundation (CCF), a non-profit which uniquely focuses its philanthropic and civic engagement efforts on the needs of Los Angeles, is realigning its mission-related investments and putting an emphasis on “community”. CCF’s new approach is called SMIRF (Social, Moral, Intellectual, Reputational and Financial capital). To fully address the needs of its poor and vulnerable communities, CCF requires its grantmaking teams to make 15 percent of their grants to support advocacy and public policy initiatives; CCF engages its program officers in fundraising, donor relations and leveraging their budgets with funders and funding; CCF opened a convening center to generate collaboration and sharing between grantees to focus on change; and CCF began making more grants in community organizing, policy research, parent engagement and neighborhood leadership development.”

Recommended by Tonya Banks, Senior Administrative Associate, Capital Innovation

Democratizing Innovation: Sharing Participatory Research—for Farmers by Farmers - By Food Tank

At Living Cities, we think a lot about how to open-source innovative ideas being tested in places. The subsequent challenge is then figuring out the best ways to compile, craft and curate that information for broad dissemination among those who are mostly likely to find it applicable to their work. A new collaboration between the McKnight Foundation and Food Tank is taking on that challenge in the area of agriculture, farming and food production. The goal is to “democratize innovation” by highlighting farmer-led solutions connecting the work of the foundation to a platform with the field networks to actually accelerate the dissemination of ideas. I believe we will continue to see more partnerships like this as collaboration across industries and sectors becomes course of business.

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Assistant, Public Sector Innovation

Poverty and Inequality

A Call to All Leaders from Young Leaders: Manifesto for Social Change - By Shafaq Hasan and Aine Creedon, Nonprofit Quarterly

A Social Change Manifesto produced by the Millennial Advisory Committee of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and featured on NonProfit Quarterly’s website, is meant to counter the common misconception that the millennial generation is apathetic toward social issues. As a member of the Committee, I helped craft the manifesto as a call to action for people to come together and look at the scale of the problems we face—problems like poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation – and understand that nobody is going to be able to solve them alone. We can all contribute to the change we want to see in the world.

Recommended by Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications and Storytelling

Storytelling and Communications

Big Communications for Small Nonprofits - By Matt James, Stanford Social Innovation Review.

From the start, climate change nonprofit, Next Generation, wanted to have an outsized impact, but remain lean, nimble and entrepreneurial. They’ve been able achieve their vision by focusing on talent, smart communications and data. By examining some of their most successful campaigns and products, Next Generation is now helping others in the field learn from their example, and offering three steps to drive large-scale change through strategic communications.

Recommended by Elizabeth Vargas, Associate, Strategic Communications and Engagement