Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector

Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector

Stanford Business Books, November 14, 2017

We are entering a new era — an era of impact. The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history will soon be under way, bringing with it the potential for huge increases in philanthropic funding. Engine of Impact shows how nonprofits can apply the principles of strategic leadership to attract greater financial support and leverage that funding to maximum effect.

As Good to Great author Jim Collins writes in his foreword, this book offers “a detailed roadmap of disciplined thought and action for turning a good nonprofit into one that can achieve great impact at scale.”

William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker identify seven essential components of strategic leadership that set high-achieving organizations apart from the rest of the nonprofit sector. Together, these components form an “engine of impact” — a system that organizations must build, tune, and fuel if they hope to make a real difference in the world.

Drawing on decades of teaching, advising, grantmaking, and research, Meehan and Jonker provide an actionable guide that executives, staff, board members, and donors can use to jumpstart their own performance and to achieve extraordinary results for their organization. Along with setting forth best practices using real-world examples, the authors outline common management challenges faced by nonprofits, showing how these challenges differ from those faced by for-profit businesses in important and often-overlooked ways.

By offering crucial insights on the fundamentals of nonprofit management, this book will help leaders equip their organizations to fire on all cylinders and unleash the full potential of the nonprofit sector.

Selected Editorial Reviews
Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker have written a playbook for those who are not satisfied with doing some good, but want to do as much good as they can with their time and talents. This is a vital topic, and I'm excited to see how the next generation of nonprofit leaders applies the ideas and insights in this book.
Cari Tuna, President, Good Ventures, and Managing Director, Open Philanthropy Project
No one knows the not-for-profit sector and its most effective leaders better than Meehan and Jonker. Their book is a master class on what it takes to drive meaningful impact. In tackling the fundamental questions―strategy and focus, discipline and accountability―the authors get to the heart of what every mission-focused leader needs to understand. Engine of Impact is a book to read and re-read―the definitive guide for all who aspire to lead high performing and high achieving organizations.
Sally Osberg President and CEO, Skoll Foundation, and co-author of Getting Beyond Better
As a philanthropist constantly grappling with how I can achieve more impact, I found Jonker and Meehan's insights to be provocative and engaging. They go beyond the typical rhetoric regarding 'what the nonprofit sector can learn from business' and give these organizations their due—with great advice. Nonprofits are dealing with often intractable societal problems of enormous complexity and uncertain revenue streams. These authors appreciate the weight on leaders' shoulders, while offering a detailed roadmap to maximize their impact. A must-read.
Jeff Raikes, Co-Founder, Raikes Foundation, former CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Chairman, Stanford Board of Trustees