Lowell has contributed significantly to the growing literature on nonprofit and philanthropic effectiveness. He is the author, co-author, or editor of the following publications, all of which are available for free download.


Every quarter, Lowell shines a bright spotlight on a funder doing a great job of supporting grantees’ pursuit of high performance. He writes these profiles under the auspices of the Leap Ambassadors Community, a group of more than 160 leading nonprofit and philanthropic executives.

Meaning, Purpose & Joy: A Profile of Philanthropist Duncan Campbell

• Blunt Talk, Sharp Thinking: A Profile of the Mulago Foundation

• We’ve Walked in Your Shoes: A Profile of the Weingart Foundation

Heart + Brain + Ears: A Profile of the Blagrave Trust

• Invested in Empathetic Challenge: A Profile of Impetus-PEF

• A Better-Angels Funder Practices What It Preaches: A Profile of the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust



Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity (2011)

Lowell was a major contributor to this guide to nonprofit effectiveness, which now has more than 100,000 copies in circulation. Harlem Children’s Zone Founder called the book “a must-read for nonprofit leaders.” Presidential advisor David Gergen said the book is “deeply relevant for any leader whose organization provides service to others.”


The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social-Sector Excellence (2018)

Lowell was the editorial director of this yearlong collaborative effort to define “high-performance organization” and the seven organizational disciplines that underlie high performance. To crib from the late author Stephen Covey, these are the seven habits of highly effective organizations.


Working Hard—and Working Well: A Practical Guide to Performance Management (2013)

Lowell edited this book, which serves as a companion to Leap of Reason. Performance whisperer David Hunter shares the secret formula behind the intensive, tough-love workshops that have sparked transformation for many of the country’s top nonprofit organizations.


Impact Through Intentionality: The Effective Donor Principles & Practices (2010)

Lowell was the writer and editor of this guide to the core tenets and best practices of effective philanthropy. It was a collaborative effort of the Donor Effectiveness Network (DEN), a learning community of donor educators and advisors supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Leap of Reason Update

Every month, Lowell co-authors the Leap Update newsletter with the philanthropist Mario Morino. The newsletter, which goes out to nearly 50,000 subscribers, shows what high performance looks like in action and offers encouragement and resources for those pursuing it.