Making Nonprofits Work: A Report on the Tides of Nonprofit Management Reform

Light, P.C.
Brookings Institution/Aspen Institute,

In Making Nonprofits Work, Paul C. Light charts the current trends of management reform in the nonprofit sector and assesses the climate for reform at the local and national levels.

Light examines the four popular philosophies, or "tides," being advocated- scientific management, liberation management, war on waste, and watchful eye-offering examples and caveats from a portfolio of recent experience. Drawing on confidential interviews with leaders in nonprofit management reform, a detailed search of Internet sources, and a survey of state associations of nonprofit organizations, Light's findings suggest that the nonprofit sector has a remarkable opportunity to prevent the excesses and fadism that have dominated reform efforts in government and the private sector. He cautions leaders in the nonprofit sector to recognize the limits of various reform models, to set priorities carefully, and to limit investments of reform energy to a handful of priorities. Finally, he urges reformers to boost the sector's ability to implement new systems and reforms by focusing more closely on capacity building.


Wagner Faculty