Real-World Wicked Problems

Wicked problems are much like board games. Board games can look wildly different, but their inherent underlying premise–the nature of what it means to be a ‘board game’–stays largely the same. Wicked problems are classified by their multi-dimensionality, complexity, and inherent lack of solution. Like board games, wicked problems come in all shapes and sizes, but the inherent complexity of their nature–the nature of what it means to be a

Person sitting at a desk with notepad and notebook in front of a screen.

How can you enhance virtual volunteers’ commitment?

Volunteering may look different now than it did before the pandemic. After being forced to continue operations remotely for the better part of 2020 and 2021, some organizations are now leaning into the use of virtual volunteering as a way of gathering volunteers regardless of physical location. But how does this influence the ways that volunteers give their time? And how does this affect the “why” behind volunteering? Volunteering rates

Dream Big

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 

blur board game

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

John Harris

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


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