Do You Really Want to Collaborate? Turning Talk to Action

June 2023

I hear many nonprofit leaders proclaim their commitment to community networks and collaboration. They express their "desire to join forces", "pool resources", and "build community" for the greater social good. However, many of these proclamations sound more like hopeful rhetoric, with limited action taken to truly embrace the power of networks. Their inner voice is telling them: "I really prefer the way we do things." 

This discrepancy between intention and execution forms the backdrop against which David Erlichman's book, Impact Networks, emerges. (Hat tip to Josh Jacobson; he told me this book was a winner, and he was right). Erlichman offers as a compelling and timely exploration of the transformative potential that lies within effective collaboration and network-building strategies. As an expert in social entrepreneurship and network theory, he's able to translate the complex dynamics of networks and offer practical advice to catalyze large-scale impact.

The book begins by providing a comprehensive overview of network theory, explaining concepts such as network effects, network density, and centrality. Erlichman then examines the role of networks in various domains, including education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability. He presents compelling case studies and real-world examples that illustrate how networks have successfully tackled social challenges and facilitated positive outcomes.

The author also emphasizes the importance of collaboration, trust, and shared values in building effective impact networks. He offers additional advice on how individuals and organizations can harness the potential of networks to amplify their impact and create lasting change.

Overall, Impact Networks is a thought-provoking and insightful read that explores the untapped potential of networks as a force for social transformation. It will inspire you to leverage the power of connections and collaborations to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Dr. Patton McDowell, CFRE, MBA, is the author of the best-selling Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and host of the weekly podcast, also titled Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.  He founded PMA Nonprofit Leadership in 2009, and has coached and consulted with over 275 nonprofit organizations. A Certified Fundraising Executive and Master Trainer for AFP Global, he also serves as an Executive in Residence at Cornell University's Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.