Nonprofit Effectiveness

Nonprofit Women 300

The Nonprofit Effectiveness strategy supports and promotes effective and sustainable nonprofits by focusing on activities that advance three core competencies necessary for impact:


Working to prepare, strengthen and diversify the sector’s leaders.  Nonprofit leaders are the primary drivers of change in the organizations and communities they serve. We seek to develop and recognize the sector’s leaders and build the nonprofit leadership pipeline.

Grantee Highlight

We invest in programs that prepare and train leaders throughout their careers, including the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership, which educates, supports and connects the next generation of nonprofit leaders, with an emphasis on leaders of color, and the College for Social Innovation which seeks to build a bigger, better and more diverse talent pipeline for social change.

We also recognize outstanding nonprofit organizations demonstrating courageous and effective leadership with unrestricted one-time Out of the Blue grants.


Building the ability of nonprofits to deliver on their missions, collaborate and drive social change.  We help bolster the operational effectiveness of individual nonprofits by providing support to strengthen core organizational capacities including planning, governance, finance and evaluation; and by supporting the sector’s capacity for collective action.  Our work includes:

  • Hosting a series of workshops to build leaders’ knowledge and ability in areas most relevant to their work
  • Funding a select number of capacity-building engagements for individual organizations via our Open Door Grants Program
  • Facilitating capacity-building support for a select group of grantees through a skills-based volunteering partnership with Catchafire

Grantee Highlight

We recognize that the type of change we seek is broad and complex, and that achieving it will require coordinated, collective action.  As a result, the Boston Foundation helps build the sector’s capacity for collective advocacy and action through a leadership investment in the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.


Connecting with funders and donors is often cited as a top challenge facing nonprofits.   We promote and facilitate strategic, data-driven philanthropy by supporting nonprofits to tell their stories and receive donations via the Giving Common.  The Giving Common is an open online database with more than 1,000 nonprofit profiles connecting donors, funders and other stakeholders to detailed, robust information about nonprofit organizations working across Massachusetts.  Through this online portal, donors also have the opportunity to contribute directly to nonprofits by credit card or through their Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation.  Are you a nonprofit professional interested in sharing your nonprofit’s story on the Giving Common?  Reach out to Giving Common staff at or 617-338-1624.