Our Work

What We Do

For the community to achieve our vision and mission, we must strengthen the community, develop resources, and influence the field. 

Our Strategies for Change

Core strategy 1: Coalesce diverse, mission-aligned, accomplished leaders

We bring together and retain a community of accomplished leaders who are passionate about our community’s vision and purpose; are driven to learn and improve; want to strengthen the field; and offer diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Learn more about how our community grows here.

Core strategy 2: Grow an engaged, inclusive community

We nurture a learning community, improve ambassador connectedness, build close relationships, share pertinent experiences, and learn from one another. It means inclusive and trusted participation marked by collaborative development, sharing, and peer learning.

Core strategy 3: Develop resources to build the field

We develop resources collaboratively to 1) engage and equip ambassadors and 2) inspire and convince others to continuously improve their organizations to achieve greater impact.

Collaboratively developed resources include the Performance Imperative, a framework for social sector excellence; the Performance Practice, which allows nonprofits to delve deeper into the seven pillars of the Performance Imperative; and Ambassador Insights, based on insights from community discussions.

Core strategy 4: Develop positions to influence the field to change

We work together to develop positions on key issues (e.g., how funders can support grantees to improve) to 1) engage and equip ambassadors and 2) advance progress on important issues.

Our Funding Performance profiles feature funders that support high performance,  like the Raikes Foundation and individual donors like Duncan Campbell.

Core strategy 5: Amplify the community voice

We rally and support ambassadors to be effective advocates for higher performance for greater impact and use broad-based communication and outreach to persuade and motivate key leaders and influencers that performance is a clear path to greater social impact.

Through our mailing list, we share developments in the field, inspiring stories, and practical resources for continuous improvements. The Pittsburgh Learning Circles Program is one such story, about a regional improvement initiative, accompanied by Better Together, a guide for those who would like to try something similar in their own regions.

Our Model

Start With “Early Adopters”

The community forms around a small cadre of leaders—doers and believers who passionately believe that mission and performance are inextricably linked.

Although focused on nonprofits in the U.S. with budgets of greater than $3 million (and their stakeholders), elements of our work can apply to nonprofits and public agencies, big and small.

Assume “Slow Idea” Adoption

Triggering the mindset shift within a vital core of the social and public sectors to embrace the importance of high performance will follow the adoption model of a “slow idea.” After the initial formative years, the community is moving forward with strategies and campaigns to begin driving this slow, meaningful, sustainable movement.  Surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande explains this trajectory in “SLOW IDEAS: Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?” We don’t expect to hit inflection or tipping points, but, instead, “make progress, steady as it goes.”

This journey is an Ironman competition—long and difficult with multiple disciplines and stages. It’s not a sprint and will take decades to see change. It requires a growing base of voices advancing the constant and consistent message that mission and performance are inextricably linked.

Answering the “To What End?”

Ultimately the community made high performance the norm to make meaningful progress in addressing society’s most challenging problems … it grows to a movement … and converts to a force for positive change.

 

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The Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community is a private community of experts and leaders who believe that mission and performance are inextricably linked. Our resources are collaboratively developed and offered to the field to support organizations on their journeys to high performance.

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