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Learning Link | Summer 2016

La Piana Consulting

Collaborate. Create. Accelerate.

La Piana Consulting

Federated Nonprofits: A Closer Look


Federated nonprofits – organizations with a national office and geographically-dispersed affiliates – possess unique strengths and face distinct challenges. Yet their struggles and successes in leveraging the power of collaboration, remaining relevant in a rapidly-changing world, and other aspects of organizational strategy can yield valid lessons for the sector more broadly.

This month, we debut the first two of a series of articles taking a closer look at some of these well-known national networks.

In the future, we’ll be sharing more about collaboration within federations and taking a deeper dive on financial models. Join us in exploring these topics, and let us know what you think.

Other Resources

When Organizational Change Fails. David La Piana examines the limitations of internal initiatives in achieving strategic, organizational change in this new post for SSIR Online

Generative GovernanceLearn to use critical inquiry to make the most of one of your nonprofit’s greatest assets – its board – in this BoardSource blog by La Piana Consulting senior consultant Makiyah Moody.

The Blog Log. Read recent posts about strategic restructuring opportunities in the charter school communityquestions for nonprofit executives to ask themselves about their readiness for a major collaborative effort, and three key themes we’ve observed in the sector over the first half of 2016.

Getting to Know the Team: An Interview with Mike Allison

Meet Mike Allison, the newest senior manager to join our consulting team. In this edition of our staff interview series, we talk with Mike about some interesting parallels between community organizing and organizational development, as well as nonprofits’ growing advocacy role, and the latest book informing Mike’s ongoing inquiry and practice of strategy.

News and Events

Announcing the 2017 Collaboration Prize. Are you a nonprofit using effective and innovative collaborations? Consider applying for the Lodestar Foundation’s 2017 Collaboration Prize. The application period runs from September 12 to October 20, 2016, with a grand prize of $150,000. Read more for details on submission qualifications and deadlines at

For examples of collaborations submitted for the Prize in past years, see the Collaboration Hub at GrantSpace.

Read about three finalists for the 2009 Prize in our Chattanooga Museums, Ready, Set, Parent!, and Crittenton Women’s Union case studies.

Save the Date for the Learning Summit on Nonprofit Strategic Restructuring. On October 20, 2016, Forefront will host a Learning Summit on Nonprofit Growth & Sustainability, including a thought-provoking conversation about how collaborative strategies can contribute to sustainability and growth. La Piana Consulting will provide a general introduction on best practices as well as real-life models of success. This free event will be held at the Chase Auditorium in Chicago. Registration information will be available in September. 

Recent events and speaking engagements included presentations on nonprofit partnerships and collaboration for Inside NGO and the UCLA/Johnson and Johnson Health Care Executive Program, and a BoardSource webinar on the board’s role in advocacy.

Watch the Events page of our website or follow us on social media to find out where we’ll be next!

Think Ahead. Stay Ahead. Fall conference season is coming, and a new year is right on its heels!

Explore New Frontiers at Independent Sector Conference 2016, November 16-18 in D.C.

Save these important dates for GEO events in 2017 and 2018.

Other upcoming conferences of note include: NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (D.C.) in March 2017, and the  Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Biennial Conference  (Boston) and  Council on Foundation’s Annual Conference  (Dallas) in April 2017.



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