Donella Meadows Leverage Points

Resource Type

Theories and Frameworks

These resources inform the lens through which a grantmaker uses other systems grantmaking resources.

Systems Questions


What are the events, activities, actions, behaviors, and forces that affect the system, and how can we influence them?

Patterns and Structure

What are the patterns of behavior, structures, and archetypes in the system, and how can we influence them?


How do we think and learn about the system?

Grantmaking Stages

Develop grantmaking strategy

Resources in this category can help you understand the system, identify outcomes and determine grantmaking interventions.


Not participatory


Someone who has been trained on the resource


Less than 1 month

What is it?

A decision-making framework that identifies twelve leverage points for intervening in a system based on a stock and flow diagram. Two examples of levers include 1) lengths of delays relative to the rate of system change; and 2) the structure of information flow (i.e., who has access to what kinds of information). Meadows cautions that it is very challenging to intervene and create systems change even with rigorous analysis. For more information, visit The Donella Meadows Institute.