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Through our work with nonprofit organizations, grantmakers, movement networks, and other partners in the field, we have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with people deeply engaged in advancing love, dignity, and justice. Through these partnerships, we are getting increasingly clear that both deep and wide-scale change is found in the interconnected practices that weave together a set of five elements.

  • Advancing Deep Equity
  • Cultivating Leaderful Ecosystems
  • Valuing Multiple Ways of Knowing
  • Influencing Complex Systems Change
  • Creating the Space for Inner Work

We first shared approaches and practices for embracing these elements through a series of articles published in the Nonprofit Quarterly where we looked at each element separately. The five articles in the series present each element in turn, exploring what it means and how people, organizations, and networks are putting it into practice.

Influencing Complex Systems Change by Natasha Winegar, Susan Misra, and Ashley Shelton is the fourth article in the series.

For many nonprofits, there is little new about trying to move the needle by seeing the big picture. What is different about this moment in time is the immediate urgency and commitment to stretch the bounds of what is possible. Traditional avenues such as legislation, administrative action, and even soon the courts are becoming obstacles to progressive change, particularly at the national level. Pathways for transformation that do not embrace intersectionality, cross movements, and equity will continue to be unsuccessful and will reinforce the current challenges. Complex times require complex responses. Through our work in the field, we have seen a set of evolving practices that help leaders, organizations, and networks achieve the scale and depth of transformative change needed today.

Read Influencing Complex Systems Change, published by the Nonprofit Quarterly.