Publications and Tools

Advancing Philanthropy

Bridgespan's Advancing Philanthropy content is contained at GiveSmart.org and is organized around six essential questions that help donors unlock the full potential of their philanthropy.

Blog: Measuring to Improve

The most valuable and least understood purpose of performance measurement is how it enables organizations to improve impact, whether that’s through better services for clients, better resource allocation, more rapid innovation or other benefits. The entries below share our experience, and that of others, around how to use measurement to continuously learn and improve.

Blog: Transformative Scale

After getting really good at developing programs that work and spreading them to multiple locations, social sector innovators and philanthropists have identified their next big challenge: How can they make the leap from today's incremental growth to reach massive numbers of people in need domestically and around the globe? In short, how can they create impact on a truly transformative scale? Experiments already are underway with a number of promising pathways.

Blog: What Works

It's a new time for nonprofits. Government funding streams shrink while the call for evidence of program effectiveness grows louder. But will the disruption caused by our fiscal straits create more investment in what works or simply erode the impact of programs and providers? This blog seeks to shine a light on the issues and start conversations about how we all can find opportunity instead of obstacles in the new reality.

CEO/Executive Director

This section of the site is dedicated to those in the CEO/Executive Director role. Articles and tools have been selected for this area to help you become a CEO, connect with fellow peers, and lead your organization.

Chief Financial Officer

This area is dedicated to the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in nonprofit organizations. Learn about the role, how to become a nonprofit CFO, connect with other nonprofit CFOs, and find a CFO for your organization.

Chief Operating Officer

This area is dedicated to the role of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in nonprofit organizations. Learn more about the role, how to become a nonprofit COO, connect with your COO peer, and find a COO for your organization.

Community Collaboratives

This collection of resources shares research that explores the keys to success of community collaboratives and recommends ways to drive more collective impact. It also includes a number of profiles of community collaboratives that have successfully addressed challenges in their communities, as well as three guides that can help collaboratives become more effective in their efforts.

Education

Research has shown clearly that a high-quality education gives children and young adults access to the opportunities that we all want for our children. Yet providing a quality education for all youth is a daunting challenge.

Funding Strategy

Ideally, a funding model fuels an organization's bid to deliver results and provides a viable path towards sustainable future growth. But that ideal is more often than not elusive. The following articles and resources are essential reading for nonprofit leaders seeking to develop a funding model that works well for their organization.

Global Development

The research, insights, and advice shared here are intended to help philanthropies and nonprofit organizations maximize the impact of their efforts in helping improve the lives of disadvantaged populations outside of the US.

Hiring Nonprofit Leaders

This area of the site features ideas, tools, and techniques for those responsible for hiring nonprofit managers and leaders in their organization and it is part of the Leadership Effectiveness learning center.

Leadership Effectiveness

Effectively leading a nonprofit organization takes more than strong leadership skills. It takes an ability to build and align teams that will fulfill an organization’s strategic priorities. The ideas, tools, and resources found here can help nonprofit leaders develop their skills, and build and develop their leadership teams.

National Networks

Funders increasingly hold networks and their affiliates accountable for metrics that don't always correlate with size or reach. The articles below are intended to help network leaders think about how to clarify their organizations' current performance and improve future performance.

Nonprofit Boards

This area is dedicated to those who wish to learn more about nonprofit boards, serve on a board of directors, or recruit new board members to join their organization. You will find tools, resources, and helpful articles, many provided by our friends at BoardSource. Also you may look for and post nonprofit board positions on our job board.

Organizational Effectiveness

Highly effective organizations exhibit strengths across five areas: leadership, decision making and structure, people, work processes and systems, and culture. The research and ideas shared here explore these areas in depth, providing useful resources for leaders looking to improve the effectiveness of their organizations.

Performance Measurement

Effectively managing a nonprofit's performance begins with a clear understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve, what's being done today, what progress is being made, and what's needed to help the organization increase its impact. The resources shared here can help nonprofit organizations use performance measurement to continuously improve and increase their impact.

Professional & Career Development

Here you will find ideas, tools, and resources on developing nonprofit employees, building nonprofit careers, and developing nonprofit leadership skills.

Revitalizing Communities

The practical advice, research, and case studies shared here are intended as resources for communities and organizations engaged in revitalization efforts.

Strategy Development

What impact will we hold ourselves accountable for? How will we achieve it? How can we expand our impact? How will we organize to get it done and what will it cost? Together, the answers to these questions provide a framework for developing a pragmatic, specific plan of action: a strategy.

Transition to a Nonprofit

This area is dedicated to those who wish to transition from a for-profit to a nonprofit career. You will find tools, resources, and helpful articles to help you through the transition.

Youth Development

The research, advice, and insights below were created for people interested in increasing the impact of nonprofit organizations focused on serving children and young adults. They include insights into overcoming the challenges of providing high-quality youth services as well as examples of specific organizations and successful initiatives.