Power of A Network

The America Succeeds model is supported by world-class research and analysis on highly effective impact networks. The structure reflects our belief in the importance of change happening organically at the state level. While our affiliates function autonomously, they all share a common set of core principles and a commitment to preparing students to compete in our global economy.

Power of a Network

Management wisdom says that nonprofits must be large and in charge to do the most good. But some of the world’s most successful organizations instead stay small, sharing their load with like-minded, long-term partners. The success of these networked nonprofits suggests that organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks. [1]

  • Cultivating an effective and sustainable impact network requires dedicated effort and a long time-horizon. [2]
  • Impact networks must remain adaptive to changing circumstances. [2]
  • Network entrepreneurs actively catalyze networks, leading to an exponential increase in growth and scale beyond what their own organization could accomplish. [3]


  1. Trust, not control
  2. Humility, not brand
  3. Node, not hub
  4. Mission, not organization [2]

Fundamental Process

  1. Clarify purpose
  2. Convene the right people
  3. Cultivate trust
  4. Coordinate actions
  5. Collaborate generously [2]

Networks Do
More With Less

Networked nonprofits are some of the most effective nonprofits in the world. They are different from traditional nonprofits in that they cast their gazes externally rather than internally. They put their mission first and their organization second. They govern through trust rather than control. And they cooperate as equal nodes in a constellation of actors rather than relying on a central hub to command with top-down tactics.

By mobilizing vast external resources, networked nonprofits can focus on their own expertise. At the same time, these external resources enhance the value and influence of each organization’s expertise. They help each network partner respond to local needs and become self-sustaining. And they allow networked nonprofits to develop holistic solutions at the scale of the problems they seek to address.

Although the social problems that nonprofits are tackling are growing in both magnitude and complexity, funding is failing to keep pace. Networks do not require more resources, but rather a better use of existing resources. And so networked nonprofits are uniquely poised to face the perennial challenge of the nonprofit sector: achieving lofty missions with decidedly humble means. [1]

[1] Wei-Skillern, J. & Marciano, S. (2008). The networked nonprofit. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from http://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_networked_nonprofit

[2] Ehrlichman, D., Sawyer, D., & Wei-Skillern, J. (2015, Nov 11). Five steps to building an effective impact network. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from http://ssir.org/articles/entry/

[3] The new network leader. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from http://ssir.org/network_entrepreneurs

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