Cover of Engine of Impact by William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker, Foreword by Jim Collins
Engine of Impact
Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector
William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker, Foreword by Jim Collins


November 2017
264 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9780804796439



We are entering a new era—an era of impact. The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history will soon be underway, bringing with it the potential for huge increases in philanthropic funding. Engine of Impact shows how nonprofits can apply the principles of strategic leadership to attract greater financial support and leverage that funding to maximum effect.

William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker identify seven essential components that set high-achieving organizations apart from the rest of the nonprofit sector. Together, they form an "engine of impact"—a system that organizations must build, tune, and fuel if they hope to make a real difference in the world.

As Good to Great author Jim Collins writes in his foreword, this book offers "a detailed roadmap of disciplined thought and action." Along with best practices, it outlines common challenges in nonprofit management, showing how they differ from those faced by for-profit businesses in important and often-overlooked ways. With crucial insights based on decades of teaching, advising, grantmaking, and research, this book will help the nonprofit sector to unleash its full potential.

About the authors

William F. Meehan III is the Lafayette Partners Lecturer in Strategic Management at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company.

Kim Starkey Jonker is President and CEO of King Philanthropies and Executive Director of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership.

"Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker have written a playbook for those who are not satisfied with doing some good, but want to do as much good as they can with their time and talents. This is a vital topic, and I'm excited to see how the next generation of nonprofit leaders applies the ideas and insights in this book."

—Cari Tuna, President, Good Ventures and Managing Director, Open Philanthropy Project

"Hard-hitting and willing to express decisive, experience-based views, this book is sophisticated, evidence- and ideas-based. A 'how and when to do it' guidebook, it is also a pleasure to read."

—Joel Fleishman, Duke University, co-author, Give Smart

"Engine of Impact is an indispensable tool for today's nonprofit leader. Drawing on their considerable expertise and insight, Meehan and Jonker provide a framework for dedicated executives who are committed to building organizations that are worthy of their missions."

—Matt Bannick, Managing Partner, Omidyar Network

"This is a thoughtful book that looks at the current state of nonprofit management. Meehan and Jonker aptly help prioritize and curate best practices in the field, providing timely and pointed direction."

—Doug Bauer, Columbia Business School and Executive Director, Clark Foundation

"Every engine needs a tune up from time to time. Even the strongest organizations will find value in Engine of Impact. With inspiring stories and cogent frameworks, Meehan and Jonker show us that social change is an art and a science that demands rigor and spirit. With guidance like this, we can find a path to a better world."

—Jacob Harold, President & CEO, GuideStar

"Building and leading great non-profits is a socially vital—but managerially daunting—endeavor. Enter Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker who, in simple and lively prose, draw upon deep research and lived experience to deliver the essential field guide on how to do it right. All of us—donors, volunteers, board members, executives, citizens—are in their debt."

—Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company