"Susan Stevens has long been one of the best minds in nonprofit consulting. Her lifecycles work adds an important theoretical tool for advancing the thinking of nonprofit practitioners.”

Melanie Beene
Program Director, The James Irvine Foundation


Throughout the country, foundations, nonprofit managers, and board members are realizing the relationship between organizational competence or capacity and a nonprofit’s ability to accomplish its mission and deliver important services. Yet, current definitions of capacity generally describe one-size-fits-all practices and protocols for mature organizations. The fact is that not all nonprofits are mature. Some are start-ups, others are in rapid growth, and still others are undergoing organizational regeneration. NONPROFIT LIFECYCLES: Stage-based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity weighs in with a developmental perspective on nonprofit capacity and its relationship to increased organizational performance. Offering practical insights and thought-provoking case illustrations, this book presents seven nonprofit lifecycle stages and the predictable tasks, challenges, and inevitable growing pains that nonprofits encounter and can hope to master on the road to organizational sustainability.

More than ten thousand nonprofit and foundation officers have attended the Growing-Up Nonprofit™ seminars in which Susan Kenny Stevens originally introduced the hands-on wisdom of lifecycle theory. Now, as foundations and nonprofits seek to understand the principles of capacity and capacity-building activities, Stevens again showcases the lifecycle approach she pioneered more than two decades ago, and has since served as the cornerstone of her own successful consulting practice. Reviewers are calling NONPROFIT LIFECYCLES “seminal wisdom” and a must for:

• Nonprofits seeking an overall understanding of the predictable characteristics and challenges they will face at various stages of organizational development.

• Foundations interested in making capacity investments that add value, hit the mark, and effectively strengthen nonprofit capacity.

• Consultants, evaluators, and academics seeking to diagnose and assess organizational challenges and performance against normative patterns of organizational development and maturation.

• The capacity-building field as a whole to embrace a common language and set of definitions about the lifecycle dimensions of nonprofit capacity.

The lessons contained in NONPROFIT LIFECYCLES are timeless. Learn for yourself the stage-based wisdom from this nationally-recognized expert on nonprofit capacity.


"The lifecycle theory and its stage-based applications to nonprofit capacity building represent an important diagnostic model for not-for-profit organizations. Deceptively simple in concept, this framework promotes significant and often complex insights into organizational performance and effective strategies for enhanced organizational effectiveness. It is a practical tool which has the potential to be of great value to managers, trustees, and funders.”

Susan Eagan
Executive Director, Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations,
Case Western University


"Unlike those who study change without ever engaging it, Susan’s work is designed to help nonprofits diagnose their own place on the lifecycle and make choices about how to sustain effectiveness at different stages. It is the right book at the right time, and essential reading for anyone who truly wishes to meet nonprofits where they are.”

Paul Light
Vice President and Director, Governmental Studies, The Brookings Institute


© Stagewise Enterprises, Inc. 2002