Community Resources

Community Resources

Content Developed by the Leap Ambassadors Community

Leap Ambassadors contribute their collective knowledge and experience to collaboratively develop resources like the ones below. These community resources are offered freely to everyone engaged in the pursuit of high performance.

Why? Because high performance matters more than ever. In this era of seismic social, economic, and political change, the social and public sectors can’t afford to expend resources on efforts that are based primarily on good intentions and wishful thinking rather than rigor and evidence.

To help guide leaders on the journey of continuous learning and improvement, the Leap Ambassadors Community thoughtfully and collaboratively developed a common definition of “high performance” and seven organizational pillars to help you make as much difference as possible for the people and causes you serve:

High performance is the ability to deliver—over a prolonged period of time—meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.

Organizations that commit to pursuing high performance generally make the most progress by cultivating seven core disciplines:

  • Pillar 1: Courageous, adaptive executive and board leadership (the preeminent pillar)
  • Pillar 2: Disciplined, people-focused management
  • Pillar 3: Well-designed and well-implemented programs and strategies
  • Pillar 4: Financial health and sustainability
  • Pillar 5: A culture that values learning
  • Pillar 6: Internal monitoring for continuous improvement
  • Pillar 7: External evaluation for mission effectiveness

Performance Imperative Kickstarters

To help make the Performance Imperative accessible and useful for the widest possible array of organizations, we have created “kickstarters” with information and examples of how specific types of organizations can use the Performance Imperative to set in motion the journey to high performance.

Whether you’re an individual donor, foundation CEO, or program officer, you have one thing in common: You want your grants to make a difference.

Creative funders know that their impact relies on helping their grantees get better at getting better. They focus on understanding grantee needs and supporting their improvement. This ongoing series of stories shines a spotlight on funders who implement best practices and principles of high performance within their organizations and/or with their grantees. Through unrestricted, multi-year investments, authentic relationships, lots of listening, and an appetite for thinking big, these funders working with their grantees to learn and improve offer valuable insights to their peers.


Performance Practice *

Learn, Improve, Repeat

The Performance Practice is designed for leaders who are motivated to deliver meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes they serve, even if they’re strapped for resources.

Building on seven organizational disciplines necessary to achieve high performance, the Performance Practice provides a series of proof points—concrete behaviors and specific practices—that indicate an organization’s alignment with the disciplines.

The Performance Practice’s modular design and comprehensive proof points help you facilitate organizational self-assessment, individual and collective reflection, and then identify where best to focus your efforts to improve management, performance, and results.

*formerly known as Performance Imperative Organizational Self-Assessment (PIOSA)


Q: What happens when 26 nonprofit leaders walk into a room to tackle the challenge of organizational performance?

A: A year-long peer-learning initiative in Pittsburgh that’s a first-of-its-kind approach to continuous improvement for the region’s nonprofit sector.

Last year, The Forbes Funds created the Pittsburgh Learning Circles Program, which brought together Pittsburgh-area nonprofits committed to accelerating their progress toward high performance—all supported by funders and mentors in the region’s nonprofit sector.

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