“Organizations change the world with superpowers, not cultivated mediocrity”

The world needs nonprofits with unique skills to make headway on issues where society is stuck. In a recent piece published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review online, Redstone consultants Jeremy Avins and Nathan Huttner explain how strengths-based capacity building – that is, helping organizations identify their core strengths and leverage them for increased impact – can be more effective than traditional “deficits-focused” capacity building that aims to remediate weaknesses.

Over the last year, Redstone worked with the Communities Thrive Challenge, a collaboration between the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Rockefeller Foundation to scale locally developed approaches to improving economic opportunity for low-income and financially insecure people, to experiment with a strengths-based capacity building approach. Jeremy and Nathan found that “with a strengths-based approach, capacity-building discussions can move beyond fixing an organization’s flaws to make it ‘just good enough’ to transforming it into something uniquely great.” They use the example of two CTC participants, Benefits Data Trust and the Industrial Commons, to illustrate the power of strengths-based capacity building in practice.

Read the piece here.

    About the Authors
  • Jeremy Avins

    Jeremy helps funders and nonprofits increase shared prosperity, create economic opportunity, and improve public policy

  • Nathan Huttner

    Nathan has helped philanthropic programs working on health, education, and climate and energy to develop strategies that build on clients’ strengths to maximize their positive impact