It is not news that nonprofit organizations with robust infrastructure — including sturdy information technology and financial systems, skills training, fundraising processes, and other essential overhead — are more likely to succeed than those without. Yet most nonprofits do not spend enough money on capacity building and systems. Ann Goggins Gregory and Don Howard of the nonprofit management consultancy The Bridgespan Group, look at the reasons so many nonprofits find themselves in a perpetual starvation cycle. The two consultants reveal what nonprofits and funders can do to break out of the cycle, so that overhead problems do not thwart organizations from achieving success in the pursuit of their missions and goals. They spoke at the Nonprofit Management Institute convened by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Ann Goggins Gregory is the director of knowledge management at The Bridgespan Group and a former consultant in Bridgespan’s strategy area. In her consulting work, her clients included education and youth development organizations as well as foundations.

Don Howard is a partner at The Bridgespan Group, where he leads the San Francisco office. His clients have included foundations and nonprofits working to alleviate poverty, end homelessness, revitalize neighborhoods, end inequities in education, and improve the environment.