All posts by Anne Whatley

Lawrence Community Works: Using Network Power to Restore a City

This case study offers a glimpse into the problems of Lawrence Massachusetts – a community facing the daunting task of restoring a dying industrial city – and the network of community residents – the Lawrence Community Works – who are approaching this challenge using an innovative strategy: network building. The study addresses the origins of Lawrence Community Works, the development of the network, it’s governance structure and open architecture, and the challenges the network will likely face in the future. Written by Peter Plastrik and Madeleine Taylor, for the Barr Foundation in 2004.


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Net Gains: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change

Net Gains provides practical advice for the growing community of network builders developing networks for social change. The handbook draws from the experiences of network builders, case studies covering a diversity of different networks, and emerging scientific knowledge about “connectivity.” The guide is divided into four parts, each focusing on a specific element of network building and offering strategies for successful development of networks at different stages in their evolution, from the moment of their inception, to the management of their ongoing production.

The handbook can be downloaded here.

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Promising Practices: An Emerging Framework for Assessing Nonprofit Networks

Based on their handbook for network builders Net Gains, Madeleine Taylor and Peter Plastrik provide strategies for evaluating the work of nonprofit networks for social change. This article appears in the Harvard Family Project’s Evaluation Exchange Periodical issue XIII, released in 2007 and focuses on the unique characteristics and evolutionary paths of networks and how builders can customize evaluation to account for these factors.

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Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness
 (ICHH), Regional Networks to End Homelessness Pilot Final Evaluation Report

This final evaluation report describes the progress of the Regional Networks to End Homelessness toward goals set forth by the ICHH such reducing the need for shelter and achieving housing placement outcomes and increasing opportunities for broad-based discussion with diverse stakeholders. Following brief introduction and background sections, the report summarizes the findings of the evaluation in detail; and offers recommendations, based upon these findings for long and short term action. The evaluation informed the United Ways of Massachusetts and the ICHH’s immediate commitment of $1 million to support network coordination in all regions through the following fiscal year, and, as consequence of the pilot results, the state legislature approved Home BASE, a major program that builds on the innovations successfully used in the pilot.

Download the executive summary or the full report can be downloaded  here.

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How our work has been applied and cited

Following list of articles, books and publications offers a glimpse of how our work has been cited and applied across a variety of fields.

Net Gains: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change
Hoppe, Bruce, and Claire Reinelt. “Social network analysis and the evaluation of leadership networks.” The Leadership Quarterly 21.4 (2010): 600-619.

Raelin, Joseph A. “The end of managerial control?.” Group & Organization Management (2010):  

Mandell, Joyce. “Advice to action research activists: Negotiating successful action research-community based social change partnerships.” Humanity & Society 34.2 (2010): 141-156.

Mandell, Joyce. “CDCs and the Myth of the Organizing-Development Dialectic.” Madison, WI: COMM-ORG: The On-Line Conference on Community Organizing. Vol. 15. 2009.

Phongphom, Artittaya, and Soparth Pongquan. “Farmers’ network development in Northeast Thailand: a case study of Thai Bru in Mukdahan Province.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Rural Development 18.1 (2008): 103-122.

McGonagill, Grady, and Claire Reinelt. “Leadership development in the social sector: a framework for supporting strategic investments.” The Foundation Review 2.4 (2011): 6.

Evans, Scotney D., et al. “Miami Thrives: Weaving a poverty reduction coalition.” American journal of community psychology 53.3-4 (2014): 357-368.

Nascimbeni, Fabio. “Collaborative Knowledge Creation in Development Networks: Lessons Learned from a Transnational Programme.” The Journal of Community Informatics 9.3 (2013).

Malby, Rebecca, Kieran Mervyn, and Luca Pirisi. “How professionals can lead networks in the NHS.” International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, The 9.1/2 (2013): 47-58.

Dershem, L., et al. “NGO Network Analysis Handbook: how to measure and map linkages between NGOs. Save the Children. Tbilisi, Georgia.” NGO Network Analysis Handbook–Save the Children 3 (2011): 3.

Malby, Becky, and Kieran Mervyn. “Centre for Innovation in Health Management University of Leeds.” (2011).

Townsend, Maya. “Finding Value.” OD PRACTITIONER 45.2 (2013).

Townsend, Maya. “Organization Network Dynamics and Analysis.” The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change (2014): 581-604.

Nascimbeni, Fabio. “Networking for development: a network analysis of a development programme between Europe and Latin America.” (2012).

Malby, Becky, and Kieran Mervyn. “An Additional Brief Literature Review for The Health Foundation May 2012.”

Gaillard, Estelle. Learning for Change in a Changing Climate: A Community-based Education Perspective. Griffith University, 2012.

Network Power for Philanthropy and Nonprofits
Lowell, Stephanie. “BARR FOUNDATION.” (2006).

Peleg-Hadomi, Liron. “Collaborations, Partnerships, Networks. Introduction: From the Personal to the Professional. Interorganizational Partnerships and Networks.” New England Journal of Public Policy 23.1 (2010): 15. 

Frusciante, Angela. “Shifting From ‘Evaluation’to Valuing: A Six-Year Example of Philanthropic Practice Change and Knowledge Development.” The Foundation Review 6.2 (2014): 10.

Jaumont, Fabrice. Strategic philanthropy, organizational legitimacy, and the development of higher education in Africa: The partnership for higher education in Africa (2000-2010). Diss. New York University, 2014.

Cordero, Antonia Elizabeth, and Lirio K. Negroni. “Leadership Development for Latino Community Emancipation: An Integrative Approach in Social Work Education.” Advances in Social Work 14.1 (2013): 102-124.

Lawrence Community Works: Using the Power of Networks to Restore a City
Meehan, Deborah, Natalia Castañeda, and Anis Salvesen. “The role of leadership in place based initiatives.” California Endowment by the Leadership Learning Community (2011).

Borges-Mendez, Ramon, et al. “Latino business owners in East Boston.” (2006).  University of Massachusetts Boston John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Affairs Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy

Martin, Danielle Marie. Participatory media and collaborative facilitation: developing tools for aligning values to practice in organizations. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009.

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Network Impact in the News

A few recent articles that reference the work of Network Impact.

A Network Way of Working – A Compilation of Considerations about the Effectiveness of Networks Fall/Winter 2013 issue of the NonProfit Quarterly
Networks aren’t new, but the role they play in our working lives is expanding significantly through technology. The potential for impact is great, but newly enhanced networks require new strategies.

The Encore Fellowships Network – Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2013

In just two years, the Encore Fellowships Network—which enables professionals to transition from private sector careers into high-impact roles in the nonprofit sector—used a network-scaling model to grow from a single pilot program in Silicon Valley to a network of 200 organizations operating in 20 metropolitan areas nationwide.

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Online Fundraising for networks webinar

Online fundraising has seen real growth in the last few years not only with services likes PayPal and NetworkforGood, but also through Facebook and Twitter campaigns. Have you asked yourself if this is a fit for your work? In this webinar we will provide examples of different types of online fundraising and the scenarios in which they were most effective with particular emphasis on collaboratives and networks. Creating social media policies and guidelines are also discussed.

Download the presentation slides Online Fundraising for Networks (PDF)

A recording of the 1 hour webinar will be available soon.

Other resources:
Idealware’s Social Media Decisionmakers Guide

2011 Nonprofit Social Networks Benchmark Study

Learning from Obama report (2009)

Presenters: Anne Whatley, Cause Communications with Madeleine Beaubien Taylor, INC/Network Impact

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Network Tool: Network Health Scorecard

Regular check ups can help network builders track progress and decide what the network needs next. The Network Health Scorecard provides a quick series of questions that can yield a useful assessment of the health of your network - diagnosing strengths and areas for growth.

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