The opportunity to engage in “Forces for Good,” a 449-page book by written by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather Mcleod Grant, point out the role of nonprofits and how they contribute to the overall goodness of community life.

Their experiences demonstrate the particular ways that nonprofits have meant to the areas served, and six practices that are key to success. In addition, the authors offer ideas as to why and how nonprofits can be great, looking at 12 such cases across this nation. Suggestions are presented that can apply to the nonprofit world of the Pocono-Northeast as thousands of nonprofits continue to be part of the economy here. The six practices noted in the book include the following.

• Advocate and serve. This includes not only providing an excellent service, but adding advocacy policy to access government resources or change legislation that add significance to the mission of the nonprofit.

• Make markets work. This dimension finds a role for the private sector by working with markets to help business “do well while doing good.” They influence business practices, build corporate partnerships and develop earned income ventures.

• Inspire evangelists. Creating meaningful ways to engage individuals in emotional experiences that help them connect to a group’s mission and core values is a significant factor so that money, time, and guidance alone are insufficient. Becoming evangelists to a helps build and sustain strong communities to help them achieve their larger goals.

• Nurture nonprofit networks. Collaboration is essential to helping the competition succeed. Build networks of nonprofit allies, especially looking at the type of nonprofits. Many are small and need the support of other entities. Freely sharing wealth, talent and power with peers are key. Networking can assist all parts of the nonprofit world.

• Master the art of adaptation. Modifying tactic as needed is a process that works. Listen learn and modifying approaches can help nonprofits and help them stay relevant. Circumstances change and can lead to innovation.

• Share leadership. Be strategic and distribute leadership across the entire organization. Empowering staff can lead to more leadership capability and cultivate new and rising involvement.

All of these factors or practices are extraordinary elements that should be applied as a basis for extending how the nonprofit community promotes its mission and goals.

The nonprofit community in this region can include rules of engagement by communicating each mission, vision and values, creating meaningful experiences and examples, cultivating supporters or evangelists, and building a connection within the community, thus mobilizing the community as a force for change. Every community in the region has one or more nonprofits and their roles are a powerful step in advancing the economy, leading to community and economic development.

There are three elements to sustain a nonprofit impact. These include people and developing a strategy in achieving top level performers, finding the right source of funding, and finding and implementing infrastructure such as overhead and looking lean at the same time.

Within the thousands of nonprofits found in this region and those adjacent, there are examples of success. It is vital that as many as possible become a force for good and showcase how they fit into the economic well-being of their service area and the entire region. The economy could not function without nonprofits being stable forces for good as well as reaching as high as feasible for community development. To establish their role in this economy, here are a few ideas:

• Carry out a regional nonprofit economic impact study based upon the involvement of as many nonprofits as possible. Find the resources to enable this to happen. Perhaps each of the community foundations in the region could contribute to this analysis.

• Evaluate the practices mentioned in relation to all nonprofits, perhaps dividing by category such as the arts, health, social services, etc.

• Select perhaps 10 nonprofits as major examples of what can be applied in the book.

• Utilize the regional Nonprofit Community Assistance Center to undertaken this approach.

• Study what other regions may have done along this line and utilize their approaches in establishing ways to enhance the role of nonprofits in this region.

• Make sure that nonprofits are counted against the full economy of the region such as income, employment, missions and other elements. 

In these ways, the role of the nonprofit community can help share the capability of truly being inclusive in defining the true economic interests of this region as it searches for forces for good.

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