We've compiled here resources we've found especially helpful for understanding networks and social change. It's a work-in-progress and we look forward to your additions. Start by taking a spin through our short list of 'Must-Reads.' Then 'Go Deeper' into the broader library of resources.


MUST READS:

  • Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril, and Potential of Networks: Looks at what's working today for citizen-centered networks, what the world might look like for connected citizens as soon as 2015, and pragmatic near-term recommendations for grantmakers. Diana Scearce, Monitor Institute, Spring 2011.
  • How Do Networks Support Scale?: Explores grantmaker support and engagement in networks as an approach to scaling impact. Dara Major, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Spring 2011.
  • Net Gains: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change: Covers the basics on networks—including their common attributes, how to leverage networks for social impact, evaluating networks, and social network analysis. Peter Plastrik and Madeleine Taylor, 2006.
  • The Networked Nonprofit: A book rich with insight about working with networks in an organizational context and examples of how nonprofits are using social media to “power social networks for change.” Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, 2010.
  • Next Generation Network Evaluation: Scans the field of network monitoring and evaluation to identify where progress has been made and where further work is still needed, June 2010.
  • What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World: Ten emerging practices that can help funders increase their impact in the coming decade. Katherine Fulton, Gabriel Kasper, and Barbara Kibbe, Monitor Institute, 2010.
  • Working Wikily: Explores how social media tools are driving more connected ways of working. Diana Scearce, Gabriel Kasper, and Heather McLeod Grant, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2010.
  • Understanding Networks: Resources for Nonprofits: A handy list of resources, generously shared with the NNF by Patti Anklam.

GO DEEPER:

  • Networks 101: New to network lingo? Visit this site to familiarize yourself with the turf.
  • Working with a network mindset: A network mindset is a stance toward leadership that prioritizes openness, transparency, making connections, and sharing control. These resources explore what it takes to cultivate a network mindset, which is critical for all grantmakers who want to tap network potential.
  • Activating networks: Grantmakers have a long history of investing in and catalyzing network action, but it hasn’t always been rooted in a deep understanding of the nature of networks. These resources offer recommendations for how funders can effectively invest in and build the capacity of networks.
  • Assessing & learning about networks: Networks are embedded in complex systems and understanding systems change is tough. These resources offer principles for sharing what we’re learning so we can build the field with our collective insights.
  • Case studies: Visit this site to obtain reports documenting established network case studies, as well as to read about "living case studies" of networks in the making!