Federated Nonprofits

Combining Local Commitment with National Strength

Federated nonprofits — organizations with a national office and geographically dispersed affiliates — are receiving increased attention in the sector, due in large part to their potential to serve as national distribution networks for delivering programs and interventions at scale. Our colleagues in the field have contributed much to this understanding in recent years through studies of scaling within and among federated organizations, and this work has been conscientious in surfacing both the strengths of these large nonprofit networks and the challenges they face. In our own experience consulting with several of these national organizations and individual affiliates, we have observed many of the same attributes.

In this series of articles, we will explore federated organizations and their perhaps unexpected dynamism, their struggles and successes in responding to major social and demographic trends, lessons in intra-network collaboration and restructuring, and financial model implications.

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