Chapter 1Social-Sector Impact and ExcellenceThe Call to Be More Strategic

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.


Over fifty years ago, American citizens took President John F. Kennedy’s ringing words to heart. In the years since, the number of registered tax-exempt organizations working to solve our country’s most serious problems has grown by an astonishing 600 percent—from 200,000 organizations in the 1960s (Hall and Burke, 2002) to over 1.4 million in 2013 (National Center for Charitable Statistics, 2013).

In recent years, these organizations have faced much higher scrutiny of their value and societal impact than ever before. National, state, and local governments can no longer ...

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