Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits / Edition 1

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Praise for Forces for Good

"Crutchfield and McLeod Grant have made a significant contribution with a Very Big Idea— the shift in focus from building an organization to building a movement. Inspired and inspiring, this book can change the way the world works by changing how leaders think."
—Jim Collins, author, Good to Great, and coauthor, Built to Last

"The [nonprofits] having the greatest impact these days are those that have moved beyond old traditions. They are entrepreneurial, adaptive, externally-oriented, and sometimes a little messy. Working together, they are not only trying to fix problems, but also reform whole systems. For people who want to change the world—and who doesn't?—this book provides an invaluable road map. Bravo!"
—David Gergen, professor of public service and director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government

"Global problems like abject poverty and climate change require innovative, scaleable solutions. We have so much to learn from these six practices because they're what lead to wide-scale social change."
—Larry Brilliant, executive director,, and Sheryl Sandberg, board member,, and vice president,

"If you're a funder, you have to read this book. It will frame how you think about lasting impact and greatly enhance your due diligence. The six practices should be your six principles of grantmaking."
—Edward Skloot, president, The Surdna Foundation

"[This book] frees entrepreneurs from the distraction of conventional management measurements. Instead, its findings say, 'Go ahead and change the world!' Indeed! This is the only true bottom line."
—Bill Drayton, chair and CEO, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and chair, Youth Venture

"Anyone who wants to affect systemic change and make a lasting difference in the world should read this important book and take its lessons to heart."
—J. Gregory Dees, professor, Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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." (

Library Journal

Crutchfield and Grant, cofounders of Who Cares?, a national quarterly journal devoted to community service and social activism, have put together a workable list of the six best practices for nonprofits based on a thorough study of 12 high-impact organizations, from Habitat for Humanity to the National Council of La Raza. The practices they advocate are fairly straightforward (e.g., "inspire evangelists"), if a little short on specific implementations, but the book's real strength is how well it translates business practices and philosophies to the nonprofit sector, in particular by shifting the focus from competition to collaboration. The work suffers a little from a surfeit of jargon, but it's a decent read with sound ideas. Every organization can take something from it, but if your nonprofit isn't on the road to national attention, don't expect to pick up more than a couple of ideas. Recommended for larger business and leadership collections.
—Brian Walton

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787986124
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/19/2007
  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership Series, #36
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie R. Crutchfield is a managing director of Ashoka: Innovators of the Public, a philanthropic adviser, and a research grantee of The Aspen Institute's Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program. She serves on the board of the SEED Foundation and resides in the Washington, D.C., area.

Heather McLeod Grant is an adviser to the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and to leading nonprofits. She is a former McKinsey & Company consultant, serves on the Advisory Board of Stanford Social Innovation Review, and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Table of Contents




The Authors.


1. Forces for Good.

2. Advocate and Serve.

3. Make Markets Work.

4. Inspire Evangelists.

5. Nurture Nonprofit Networks.

6. Master the Art of Adaptation.

7. Share Leadership.

8. Sustaining Impact.

9. Putting It into Practice.

Appendix A: Research Methodology.

Appendix B: Field Experts.

Appendix C: Case Study Research Guidelines and Questions.

Appendix D: Key Stakeholders Interview List.

Appendix E: Organization Profiles.


Additional Resources.


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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    The method used to select charities to study both made the results too narrow for general use and also assumed a definition of 'effectiveness' that had more to do with changing government policies than with impacting people's lives: no non-American charities, no charities founded before 1964 or after 1994, no church-related charities, only charities with national impact, and then the 'best' were chosen not by an objective criteria but by popularity among charity leaders. Rather than finding and analyzing the most effective charities at helping people, the book analyzes those who've gained the most noteriety for affecting policies. Within that scope, the book's conclusions seem solid, but that scope does not apply to the majority of charitable work. And the assumption that the greatest 'results' come from policy changes runs counter to much more thorough and objective research from people like William Easterly, a long-time World Bank economist who demonstrated in 'The White Man's Burden' that top-down change through governments is most often counter productive. The charities that change lives most effectively are those who follow nearly the opposite objectives of the kind selected for study in this book. And whether one agrees with Easterly or not, at least his work is based on hard data and not just surveys and interviews.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book offers insight into great nonprofits and is a good read, too. If you liked Good to Great by Jim Collins, you'll like Forces for Good.

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