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Don’t Just Scale, Retrofit!

In two recent posts from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, John Brothers, Senior Fellow at the Support Center, reacts to the concept of “scaling” proposing that the nonprofit sector focus more on “retrofitting”, or updating old or outdated processes or structures, rather than focusing on scaling. Scaling, in John’s opinion, only applies to a small number of nonprofits who are ready to take on the challenge. In contrast, retrofitting can be used by a much larger group of small to medium-sized organizations to increase their effectiveness and impact on their constituents. We’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.

Categories: Hot Topics, John Brothers

Building Nonprofit Capacity: A Guide to Managing Change Through Organizational Lifecycles

November 22, 2011 1 comment

In this new book, authors John Brothers, Senior Fellow here at the Support Center, and Anne Sherman,  of TCC Group seek to help nonprofit leaders figure out how to effectively navigate change within their organization, no matter how large or small the nonprofit might be.  They use the theory of nonprofit  “lifecycle advancement’  as a type of change management that can help organizations build capacities that are appropriate to each stage of a nonprofit.

“A central question for leadership is to identify where, and when, to focus organizational energy, and that is where Brothers and Sherman’s book comes in. Changing organizations is never easy, which is why managers need the right set of maps and tools—like this one.” Jon Pratt, Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

What’s Included?

Chapter One:  Change as a defining force in the nonprofit sector

Chapter Two – Chapter Six: Examines the five life cycle phases of organizations, including a discussion of how an organization in decline can navigate a turnaround

Throughout the text the authors:

  • Make the case for a deliberate change process, yet also acknowledge the very real challenges
  • Provide a context for the struggles that nonprofits face
  • Offer success stories
  • Offer frameworks and tools that leaders can apply in their own organizations.

Building Nonprofit Capacity is a highly useful guide for nonprofit professionals who want to focus on capacity building efforts that will yield the greatest impact. Books can be ordered at Amazon.

John Brothers, is a Senior Fellow at the Support Center for Nonprofit Management  and the owner of Cuidiu Consulting in New York City.

Anne Sherman is an Associate Director and Co-director of the Strategy Practice at TCC Group in New York City.