Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meeting Leslie Crutchfield, co-author of Forces for Good

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to meet Leslie Crutchfield, one of the authors of Forces for Good ( at the Willamette Valley Development Officers ( ) luncheon.

Named by The Economist as one of the top ten business books of the year, the book includes in depth case studies of what makes a successful nonprofit. From my reading of the book and Ms. Crutchfield's presentation, the insights really focus on leveraging resources and opportunities that create momentum and evangelists. The six practices reflect these ideas and also the significance of being able to think in a culture of abundance. What comes to mind is working together with other organizations to build more opportunities. The book's last chapter - Putting It into Practice - nicely summarizes what it will take to make the leap to different thinking. In the "Becoming a Force for Good" section, Exhibit 9.8 The New Nonprofit Paradigm helping the reader see how practices of High-Impact Nonprofits look when compared to previous practices.

I suggested to Ms. Crutchfield during the talk that foundations are influencers distinct from government individuals, non-governmental organizations, and businesses and be introduced into an illustration that I'm referring to as "Connecting the Dots." The diagram showed the interconnectedness of the primary influencers in shaping the six practices. I offered the suggestion since many foundations are working together on global health, public school education, and healthcare coverage initiatives - just to name a few. In that respect, they represent nonprofit networks working beyond themselves for the same change or cause. By doing so, they help operating nonprofits establish similar networks. She asked me to be in touch to share more information on some of these initiatives.