Many problems faced by constituents and communities could be eased or solved with changes in policies, laws, administrative mandates and other systems. Systems change efforts require long-term commitment and often include a variety of partners ranging from advocates to organizers to providers, with a clear understanding of the roles each plays. The tools for this section focus on building organizational knowledge and capacity to engage in social change and to expand leadership capacity of constituents as allies. Organizations that have the tools to conduct root cause analysis, have the knowledge about the rights and limits of advocacy activities, and have the ability to promote civic engagement as a key for leadership will see their work as a part of the spectrum that includes direct community action. Learn more in the Social and Systems Change section of the Nonprofits Integrating Community Engagement (NICE) Guide.

Nonprofits Must Speak Out about Poverty and Income Inequality

This paper makes the case for nonprofits to work to ameliorate income inequality beyond providing services to those who are already poor or are in danger of falling out of the shrinking middle class and into poverty.


Midwest Academy Strategy Chart

This handout guides the organization to explore what is currently happening within the organization as well as identifying those who will work with you and those who might block your efforts.


Everyday Advocacy Resources

From advocacy toolkits and informative “how to” sheets to recent opinion pieces and material about federal, state, and local lobbying laws, this section of the National Council of Nonprofits website provides resources to nonprofit leaders about ways to advance their missions through everyday advocacy.


Better Together

This website is the portal to “Better Together”, the 2000 report that identified America’s civic apathy and ways to revitalize it. There are links to the book, “Bowling Alone”, which describes how isolated members of our society have become, as well as a social capital primer, research and measurement tools.


Where I Found Role Models Who Look Just Like Me

This motivating story by a youth leader can be effective to spark conversation about engaging often overlooked constituents for leadership roles.


Transactions, Transformations, Translations

“Transactions, Transformations, Translations: Metrics That 
Matter for Building, Scaling, and Funding Social Movements” is a way of looking at organizational growth and the alliance building that brings groups together. This evaluation approach can capture the importance of narrative and numbers, of politics and policies, of transformation as well as transaction.


Catalysts for Change

In 2009, the California Endowment and the Building Movement Project surveyed more than 450 California nonprofit service providers about their methods used to integrate social change activities into their work. Five main themes emerged from the survey results, as well as several case studies. These themes offer insights into what service providers can focus on in order to increase their capacity to engage in social change activities.


The Five Themes for Integrating Social Change into Direct Service Work

In 2009, the California Endowment and the Building Movement Project surveyed more than 450 California nonprofit service providers about their methods used to integrate social change activities into their work. Five main themes emerged from the survey results, as well as several case studies. These themes offer insights into what service providers can focus on in order to increase their capacity to engage in social change activities.