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

How do funders influence the outcomes of nonprofit collaboration?

By: Michelle Shumate About a month ago, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the ways that funders influence the outcomes of nonprofit collaboration. I’ve synthesized some of my comments below and there’s a link to the full panel video at the bottom of this post.  What do we know about philanthropy and social impact and its connections to networks and collaboration? We know that both the philanthropic … Read more

NNSI Profile: Jack Harris

Meet Jack Harris, a post-doctoral research associate at the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact. Born and raised on the East Coast, he graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s in history and a masters and PhD in communication. In the NNSI lab, Jack works on the Army Research Office grant on collective impact and education reform. He has spent time living in New Orleans, Minneapolis and, for the past … Read more

What’s the (data-use) impact of Collective Impact on Nonprofits?

By: Anne-Marie Boyer We live in a society obsessed with numbers. In this day and age of big data, no longer are conversations around metrics and quantification limited to Silicon Valley or Wall Street. The social impact sector is also expected to legitimize and improve its efforts through strategies that involve iterative evaluation and assessment. Demands for smarter reporting and transparency from funders and community stakeholders alike can exacerbate these … Read more

Is collective impact just another management fad?

Prof. Rob van Tulder of the Partnership Resource Center at the Rotterdam School of Management asked this question during the typically questions and answer session following my presentation at the Cross-Sector Social Interactions conference at the Copenhagen Business School. It’s a loaded question, with proponents of collective impact publishing reports like this one ( and articles in Stanford Social innovation Review ( and detractors publishing critiques in Nonprofit Quarterly ( … Read more

NNSI Research Report: How to Expand Chinese NGO Collaborative Partnerships?

As collaborative partnerships become commonplace for Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to address a variety of complex social problems and foster the development of the Chinese civil society, the question of how they can expand their partnerships emerges. A recent study by NNSI researchers, Sophia Fu and Michelle Shumate, highlight the significance of guanxi to help Chinese NGOs expand their collaboration networks and increase social impact. Fu and Shumate conducted an … Read more