An invitation to social impact leaders

At NNSI, we have an ambitious goal – a scary ambitious goal for an academic research lab. But before I get to that, let me explain. We’ve been around eight years. Eight years – we’ve published groundbreaking research on networks for social impact. A sample includes research that: shows that collaboration is a lousy way to improve nonprofit capacity,  demonstrates how to scale-up evidence-based social interventions across interorganizational systems, and  … Read more

Why do U.S. faith-based organizations resist collaboration?

By Katelyn Zilke Interorganizational collaboration is crucial to addressing complex social problems.  Faith-based nonprofits are an essential part of the social service landscape, often providing human services and providing connections to hard to reach populations. But previous research suggests they are less likely to collaborate than their secular counterparts. A new study from the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact at Northwestern University sheds light on the challenges FBOs face … Read more

Why is it so hard to scale up evidence-based practices? And what can you do about it?

by: Katelyn Zilke How do leaders with a great evidence-based practice take it to scale? The challenge of getting organizational leaders across an entire field to adopt innovations remains one of the most daunting management dilemmas of our time. New research from the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact at Northwestern University unlocks why it’s just so hard to scale up and what leaders can do about it.   How does … Read more

Networks and equity

Group of people standing indoors

Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd have reminded the country about the inequality that is woven into the fabric of many countries, especially the United States. Problems like intergenerational poverty and economic inequality, chronic and infectious disease, home flooding, and educational outcomes are all marked by the systemic racism that plagues the country. Leaders forge networks to reduce or end these wicked problems. … Read more

What’s a network?

If you google network, the first result that comes up is a 1976 satire directed by Sidney Lumet. If you dig down the page further, you’ll get to computer networks, how shy people can network, and telecommunication network services. We use the word “network” a lot. It’s in our name. But, none of these results describe what we mean. Instead, when we talk about networks, we think about collaborations among … Read more

Better Know a Network: Recognizing The Chicago Community Bond Fund and its allies

Image of protestors holding a sign reading George Floyd's Life Mattered

The murder of George Floyd brought attention to the long list of black men and women killed in recent years by the police, including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castle, and Breonna Taylor. We are outraged by the continued police violence and oppression of black people and other people of color. At NNSI, we condemn this violence and stand with the Black Lives Matter movement to … Read more