Why do some nonprofit and government leaders actually succeed in changing the world, while others struggle to point to their impact? What links the eradication of smallpox, the housing of 100,000 chronically homeless individuals and the remarkable reduction of the incidence of malaria? They share a laser-like focus on their goals.

Organizations who succeed identify and target their efforts in their sweet spot-the intersection between what they’re good at, what the world needs, and what works.

The nonprofit sector is growing at an incredible pace, but as the number of organizations grows, so does the competition for funding. Without a clear defining framework for saying no or yes, many organizations add programs, trying to be everything to everyone. The result-mission creep, and with it comes diluted impact and exhausted leaders.

Author Liana Downey has dedicated her career to helping leaders of nonprofit, government, and social enterprises find their focus, increase their impact, and regain their sanity. As an Executive Director of the international strategic consulting firm Liana Downey & Associates, high-impact speaker and leader of the McKinsey & Company Social Sector Practice, she has developed and refined a high impact approach with organizations large and small around the world over more than two decades.

In this compact, easy-to-follow guide, Downey lays out a simple, clear process for how you too can find your focus and developing a powerful leadership strategy. You’ll learn how to identify and understand who your clients are and what they want; how to set a powerful, spine-tingling goal; how to focus your energies on the activities that make the most of your distinctive strengths and use research-backed interventions. You’ll also learn how to sell your story and message.

By the time you have completed the seven simple steps in this book, you will be more focused and effective. You will have a powerful strategy that will help you and your teams make decisions, attract funding, and increase your impact.


Liana Downey has brought her considerable experience to bear in providing an empathetic guide to leaders to overcome all too familiar “mission creep”.

Rob McLean, Director Emeritus McKinsey & Company and Founding Chair Social Ventures Australia

If you’re new to the arena of social change, read it. If you’re a veteran, refresh on it.

Peter Goldmark, former President, Rockerfeller Foundation, former CEO and Chairman, International Herald Tribune

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