Tools and Publications

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Tools and Publications


Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice 
The first case study developed by our Network Leadership Innovation Lab focuses on Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice (JwJ), which recently merged with American Rights at Work. (See sidebar, page 4.) In addition to directing those organizations, Sarita plays a leadership role in a web of networks within and beyond the labor movement, including the Global Grassroots Justice Alliance; National Day Labor Organizing Network; National Domestic Workers Alliance; Pushback Network; Right to the City; and UNITY.  (More information about those networks can be found in Appendix A.) To complete the case study, we conducted in-depth interviews with Sarita, as well as with 12 of Sarita’s colleagues, collaborators and funders. (A list of interviewees is available in Appendix B.) From these interviews, we sought to distill a set of principles for effective network leadership, and to explore how Sarita’s work embodies those principles. 

Eveline Shen, Executive Director of Forward Together 
The second case study developed by our Network Leadership Innovation Lab focuses on Eveline Shen, Executive Director of Forward Together (FT). FT evolved from Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, changing its programs, geographic scope, and role in the reproductive justice movement. In addition, FT staffs Strong Families, a fast-growing network that currently includes 70 organizations and 12,000 individuals across multiple movements. To complete the case study, we conducted in-depth interviews with Eveline and with 10 of her colleagues, collaborators and funders. (A full list of interviewees is available in Appendix B.) From these interviews, we sought to distill the principles that guided Eveline’s leadership during the remarkable evolution of these networks, and to explore how Eveline embodies those principles. 

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Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA de Maryland.
The third case study developed by MAG’s Network Leadership Innovation Lab focuses on Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of Casa de Maryland (CASA)–a regional powerhouse on immigrant issues, with a staff of 120 and some 35,000 members.  In addition to directing CASA, Gustavo plays a leadership role in a web of networks within and beyond the immigrant rights community, including: the Fair Immigration Reform Movement; the National Partnership for New Americans; Educating Maryland Kids; the National Capitol Immigrant Coalition; the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; and, the National Domestic Workers Alliance.  Through advocacy and networking, CASA projects its influence far beyond its base in suburban Maryland, and with these other network partners in the labor, LGBT, immigration, and racial justice movements has advanced legislation and changed hearts and minds nationwide. Based on in-depth interviews with Gustavo and 14 of his colleagues and collaborators, the case describes the principles (rooted in part in his remarkable personal history) that have guided Gustavo’s leadership during the evolution of these powerful networks.

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NPQ Article on Movement Networks
The Nonprofit Quarterly features Robin Katcher's article, "Unstill Waters: The Fluid Role of Networks in Social Movements."  It describes the essential roles networks play in building a strong social movement ways based on MAG's experience and research. 

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MAG Toward 'Complex Adaptive Philanthropy'
The Network Leadership Innovation Lab shares some preliminary learnings gleaned from the Lab as well as from MAG’s client work and from relevant social science—and explore their implications for grantmakers.

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Creating Culture: 'Promising Practices of Successful Movement

MAG shares further insights from our Network Leadership Innovation Lab in a new article: Creating Culture: Promising Practices of Successful Movement Networks, published in the latest edition of Nonprofit Quarterly.

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New! Recognize when your organization is at a pivotal juncture, understand the underlying dynamics, and be prepared with concrete actions to move the organization to the next level. Susan Gross goes beyond describing symptoms and challenges and offers leaders usable advice on what to expect and what to do. You'll find:

  • The characteristic pattern of problems that signal the need for change
  • Reassurance that problems are an inevitable consequence of change or growth
  • Recommended changes in structure, leadership, management, governance, operating style, and culture
  • Warnings about resistance you're likely to run into and how to manage it
  • Vivid examples of what really happens in organizations based on the author's real-life experience with hundreds of nonprofits


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New! For most organizations, when a founder steps down as CEO, he or she should leave the organization to not undermine the new leader's authority. However, MAG recognized that there may be missed opportunities there.  For Table for Two: Can Founders and Successors Co-Exist So Everyone Wins?, Mark Leach conducted a study of organizations where the founders stayed on under new leadership to learn the factors that foster success for such a unique and challenging transition.

Table for Two provides:
  • A new, innovative model for leadership transitions
  • A broader range of options for the founder’s continuing role and contributions
  • Insights into the personal and organizational factors needed for success in such transitions
  • An integrated approach to weighing and managing the risks and benefits if the founder stays on
  • Challenges, coping strategies, and recommendations for founders, successors, boards of directors, and staff
  • Recommendation for funders who wish to support this kind of transition

Learn more or Download the Report or Summary of Key Findings.

New! Leaders of smaller nonprofits know that attending to their back-office needs is critical but frequently lack the time or expertise to address these needs in addition to their programmatic work.  At the same time, they also have difficulty finding appropriate, affordable, quality outsourced services.  In this study, Mark Leach explores outsourcing as a solution for helping to improve small nonprofits’ back-office functions.

The report provides:
  • Descriptions of the most pressing needs of smaller nonprofits
  • Best reasons for outsourcing
  • Better understanding of the barriers that prevent nonprofits from outsourcing back‐office services
  • Analysis of why smaller nonprofits are difficult to serve without innovative business models or some form of third‐party subsidy
  • A framework for evaluating outsourced back‐office services
  • Ideas for nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, and back-office service providers to create more effective and appropriate services

Learn more or Download the Report or Executive Summary


You're not alone: Many executive directors feel frustrated and ambivalent about board development. This booklet provides easy-to-read tools on:

  • The challenges of managing a "following board" versus a "leading board"
  • Understanding the Core Responsibilities of a Governing Board
  • Fostering a Strong Board/Executive Director Partnership
  • Board Composition
  • The Role of the Board Chair
  • Having Board Meetings that Board Members Want to Attend
  • Creating Committees that Work

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Did you know that Google lists nearly 34 million entries for the term "strategic planning guide?" This short publication is designed to help social justice groups launch strategic planning that is focused and fruitful. Highlights include:
  • Does Your Organization Resist Planning?
  • Is Planning What Your Organization Really Needs?
  • Is Your Mission Crystal Clear?
  • The Two Biggest Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • How to Set Priorities and Stick to Them

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It's a fundamental irony of non-profit management: no social justice advocate ever dreams of being a manager, yet the most successful policy analysts, organizers, and litigators often find themselves tasked with leading a team.  This book provides brief, easy-to-use tools for new and experienced managers, including:
  • How Am I Doing? A Management Self-Assessment Tool
  • The Three Questions All Employees Ask and Every Manager Needs to Answer
  • Root Causes: Why Employees Don't Get the Job Done
  • Having Successful Staff Meetings

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Fall 2009 Issue

  • If the Buddha Was a Fundraiser
  • Letter from Inca: Helping Leaders Manage Complexity and Change

Summer 2009 Issue
  • What's Power Got To Do With It? Owning Your Power As a Manager
  • Letter from Inca: Partnering With Our Clients To Serve Them in Tough Time

Spring 2009 Issue
  • Tools You Can Use: Finding Opportunity in Crisis
  • Letter from Inca: Weighed Down by Stressful Times?

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Per our visitors' request, we have posted MAG's earlier articles from 1983 to 1999.  Please note that the
recently released publications above incorporate much of these earlier articles' content and additional insights developed since their publication.

  • Board Membering: What Kinds of People Make Good Board Member?  What Kinds of People Are Needed to Make Up a Good Board of Directors?
  • Board Passages: Three Key Stages in a Board's Life Cycle
  • The Board of Directors Is a Problem: Exploring the Concept of Following and Leading Boards
  • No Board of Directors Is Like Any Other: Some Maxims About Boards

  • The 10 Most Common Organizational Problems: Getting To Their Source
  • The Planning Dreads: Why Groups Resist Planning
  • The Power of Purpose

  • How to Have Effective Staff Meetings
  • Managing People: The Most Common Pitfalls

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