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.

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.