Impact Accelerators

The Impact Accelerator is a boot-camp style Executive Education experience, including a mix of intensive learning, strategic thinking and planning, and trust-building activities designed to enable social movement leaders to strengthen and amplify their movements in real time. Experienced campaign leaders who have driven some of the most successful movements of the 21st century facilitate sessions.

The Impact Accelerator’s content and activities are grounded in evidence from Business for Impact’s new book, How Change Happens: Why Some Movements Succeed While Others Don’t, along with Author Leslie Crutchfield’s first book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.

In April 2019, Business for Impact hosted the first Impact Accelerator based on the opioid crisis. The Opioids Impact Accelerator brought together approximately 60 established and emerging stakeholders in the fight against opioid abuse, including both grasstops and grassroots leaders representing nonprofit, government, corporate, community, and faith-based organizations. The session took place over two days and included instruction on movement-building best practices presented by Leslie Crutchfield, executive director, Business for Impact, author, professor, and social change expert, along with top movement leaders including Bill Novelli, founder, Business for Impact; founding president; professor of the practice, Georgetown McDonough; and founding president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Impact Accelerator sessions culminated in participants co-creating action plans detailing individual and collective next steps, which stakeholders commit to doing over the following 3, 6, and 12 months.


Building relationships and trust. Impact Accelerator participants will have ample time to become acquainted and build stronger bonds with others across the network, with the understanding that strong relationships are fundamental to successful movements. We also schedule time for social activities such as breakfasts or dinners, as a way for people to get to know one another in a more informal, social setting.

Expert facilitated training sessions based on the principles for successful movements from How Change Happens, including:

  • Turning Grassroots Gold
  • Sharpening the 10/10/10/20 = 50 vision
  • Change Hearts and Policy
  • Reckon with Adversarial Allies
  • Break from Business as Usual

Business for Impact will tailor the specifics of each of these sessions to the central issue of the Impact Accelerator and the response to it. Following each of these trainings, there will be facilitated breakout sessions that will give participants the opportunity to reflect on the learnings from the session and then discuss how to apply those learnings to their work.

The program starts with a TED-talk style presentation by Leslie Crutchfield that summarizes her insights into what makes modern movements successful. This is followed by a high-level review of the issue landscape analysis then, the program offers opportunities for the participants to discuss, add to, and update the information in the report.

Developing a coordinated, concrete action plan. Participants will leave the Impact Accelerator ready to pursue a common path forward. This plan maps out specific, measurable, and attainable objectives for each of the stakeholders and outlines a timeline that it will take to accomplish those objectives.

Post-program follow-up. Following the Accelerator, Business for Impact will continue to play the role as neutral and experienced facilitator. Participants will reconvene periodically via conference calls to share information, track progress, troubleshoot, and course correct. We also recommend that participants consider reconvening again in the year to follow to review progress and lessons learned, see whether the action plans are on track, or if any course corrections are needed.

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