The creative tension of experimentation and rigor. New programs planned with discipline and new methods for established programs. Cost conscious test-driven project development. Managing evolution and revolution.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

Metrics based on logic models. Nonprofit "business intelligence" driven by your programs, not technology. Acquiring, displaying, communicating, and applying the right numbers. A commitment to evidence.

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.” — Bertrand Russell

An accurate and deep intuitive understanding. Disciplined thinking and shared understanding. Theories of Change and Logic Models. Rigorous, testable project plans. Toward the learning organization.

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Whole systems thinking. Leveraging networks, both inside and outside the organization. Respecting barriers and managing change. Testing models. Decisions based on evidence. The right information to the right people at the right time. Think big, start small.

"It's easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date." — Roger von Oech

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Applied Research

Research buttonUsing an established track record for rigorous methodology and unflinching analysis, we can get you beyond the anecdotes and stories, and help you develop the kind of metrics that unleash creativity and innovation in your field of work. We are widely regarded as one of the strongest applied research organizations in the field.

Although we bring academic rigor to our research, we are not an academic organization. The emphasis of all our research is its practical application. But we do believe in the value of good research and, in fact, consider the common aversion to research in the nonprofit funding community to be highly dysfunctional.

Case Studies

Available Titles

  • Measuring the Value of Nonprofit Data Portals: An i4 Case Study on Backlinks as a Relevance Metric
    By Michael Gilbert & Mike Bergfors

  • Exploring Email Marketing: An i4 Case Study on Applied Research
    By Michael Gilbert & Mike Bergfors

  • Grantmaker Collaboration: An i4 Case Study on Talking the Talk vs. Walking the Walk
    By Michael Gilbert & Mike Bergfors

  • Pageviews vs. Visitors: An i4 Case Study of Web Analytics
    By Mike Bergfors & Michael Gilbert

Learn More About Case Studies 

Research Related Publications for Sale
Doing Well by Doing Good?: A Report on Work Satisfaction in Civil Society

A LifeWork Report by Michael C. Gilbert

We conducted a survey of the readers of Nonprofit News and others on the topic of life work satisfaction in civil society organizations. With a total of 433 respondents, we acquired a base of fairly useful data. We then aggregated this information with other reports, including the Pew American Work Life Survey in order to draw conclusions in three main topic areas: comparing work satisfaction in civil society to work satisfaction in society at large, how people reflect critically on their work life, and the relationship of a personal practice of such reflection to work satisfaction.This report focuses on the quantitative results of that analysis. (Learn More)

The Guide to Nonprofit Email: Essential Strategies, Practices, and Resources

By Michael C. Gilbert, et al

We’re very pleased to be offering this extensive new publication to you. It contains thirteen feature articles, seven Quicksheets, and 111 resources, which are divided into seventeen categories, including Communication Strategy, Email Newsletters, Fundraising, Knowledge Management, and Web Related Issues, and are meant to be perused in any order you like. (Learn More)

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Work-Life Satisfaction Survey

Blogging Survey

RSS Grants Survey

The Nonprofit Email Study

The Nonprofit Email Survey

The Nonprofit SiteAnlyzer Reports

Nonprofit NetMeter

Hire Us to do Research for You

Please contact us if you’re interested in working together on a research project for your organization.