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Your Engine of Impact: Scaling

Over the course of seven posts, we have argued that leaders who want their organization to achieve maximum impact must embrace the essentials of strategic leadership. We compare this kind of intentional leadership to a high-performance engine. In those seven posts, we have discussed the components of this engine: mission, strategy, impact evaluation, insight and courage, organization and talent, funding, and board governance. 


Your Engine of Impact: Insight and Courage

Nonprofit leaders who want their organization to achieve maximum impact must embrace the essentials of strategic leadership. We compare this kind of leadership to the work of building, tuning, and fueling a high-performance engine. Every nonprofit that aims to be truly effective must become an engine of impact, we argue. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, this engine must have certain essential components—including mission, strategy, and impact evaluation. To help generate power, the engine also requires the twin “turbines” of insight and courage.


Your Engine of Impact: Impact Evaluation

In a widely circulated 2013 essay, the philanthropist Bill Gates extolled the role that measurement plays in improving the human condition. He offered examples of ways in which measurement had improved the delivery of vital services worldwide. But he also offered a rueful observation. “This may seem basic,” he wrote, “but it is amazing how often it [measurement] is not done and how hard it is to get right.”


Your Engine of Impact: Strategy

Every nonprofit needs a strategy—a planned set of actions that will enable it to achieve the all-important mission that provides its reason for being.

The development and implementation of a viable strategy can be a daunting task for nonprofit leaders, but valuable tools and frameworks are available to help guide them. Many of these tools and frameworks originated in the discipline known as business strategy. Nonprofits, of course, differ from for-profit corporations in that they exist to serve a social purpose rather than to increase shareholder returns. But like businesses, nonprofits operate in markets, and the basic principles of economics apply to them, too.


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