Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change


Timothy Ogden

Timothy_Ogden_headshot_SSIR_Financial_Access_Initiative_US_Financial_Diaries Tim Ogden (@philaction or @timothyogden) is managing director of the Financial Access Initiative at NYU and executive partner at Sona Partners, a thought leadership communications firm. He is co-author of Toyota Under Fire, and author of the forthcoming Experimental Conversations, a collection of interviews with economists conducting field experiments on poverty alleviation. He has developed and edited more than 20 books, including award-winning business books on innovation and marketing. In addition to blogging regularly for SSIR, he serves as editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action and as a contributing editor for Alliance magazine.


The IRS’s Secret, Successful Low-Income Savings Program | 1 | Apr. 15, 2015


Let’s build on—not try to fix—overwithholding.

Prepare to Update Your Theory of Change | 1 | Jan. 23, 2014


The new book Scarcity provides critical insights for designing better anti-poverty programs, but not for allocating scarce philanthropic resources.

Prepare to Update Your Theory of Change | Jan. 23, 2014


The new book Scarcity provides critical insights for designing better anti-poverty programs, but not for allocating scarce philanthropic resources.

What, Exactly, Is Giving Tuesday’s Theory of Change? | Dec. 4, 2013


Giving Tuesday seems poised to be a permanent fixture in the philanthropic landscape. So what’s the theory of change behind it?

Ten Years On: Are Donors Different? Were They Ever? | 11 | Apr. 1, 2013


Despite years of claiming the contrary, donors still don’t really care about nonprofit performance or impact.

Scrooge’s Revenge: More on Giving Tuesday | 1 | Dec. 20, 2012


Pushing back against efforts that are likely to lead to disappointment, and three ways we might reframe the initiative.

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Giving Tuesday | 2 | Nov. 26, 2012


The effort to make giving public and start a “giving season” won’t materially affect giving in any positive way.

Losing the Courage of Your Convictions | Aug. 10, 2012


We must be willing to continually examine and test our core convictions and assumptions, and confirm that they are worth holding.

Techno-Optimists Beware | 1 | Jun. 12, 2012


Two books argue that entrepreneurs and technology are transforming the global economy.

Techno-Optimists Beware | May. 16, 2012


Two books argue that entrepreneurs and technology are transforming the global economy.

The True Cost of Social Capital | 1 | Mar. 7, 2012


We’re a long way from bringing the real cost of social capital in line with commercial capital.

Turning Success into Failure | 2 | Feb. 28, 2012


An essential skill for innovators and entrepreneurs is the ability to turn success into failure.

Free the Knowledge | 5 | Feb. 8, 2012


Useful knowledge for the social sector coming from academic researchers is severely limited.

Living with the Gates Foundation: A Retrospective | 2 | Dec. 20, 2011


A summary of articles and discussions about the Gates Foundation’s impact on global social change.

GOOD Questions About the Jumo Acquisition | 9 | Aug. 19, 2011


In the wake of the announcement of the intent to GOOD to absorb Jumo, questions arise about form, functions, policy, and societal value.

Less Epistemology, More Evolution | 3 | Jun. 22, 2011


An analysis of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s book Poor Economics.

Lessons from Grameen and Microfinance—Are You Building an Institution of Change? | 3 | Apr. 29, 2011


Not every organization should become an institution. But long-term change really is dependent on institutions.

Thinking Small | 5 | Apr. 13, 2011


The problem with “changing the world” is that it probably involves invoking impossibly superficial means to address oversimplified problems.

Dark Skies After All | 2 | Jan. 26, 2011


A look at several troubling developments in microfinance.

Sunny Days for Microfinance | 2 | Nov. 19, 2010


I think the current moment is the beginning of the golden years for microfinance.

Cause Marketing Does More Harm Than Good | 1 | Oct. 18, 2010


I believe that cause marketing programs erode the joy of giving, turn consumers into cynics, and contribute to the overall loss of faith and trust in the nonprofit sector.

Social Capital Markets: What Are the Most Important Signs of Progress? | 1 | Sep. 15, 2010


What are the most important signs of progress in social capital markets in the last 10 years?

Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Data Visualization | 1 | Aug. 30, 2010


For nonprofits working on social change, data and data visualization are extremely valuable.

The Charitable Giving Market is Efficient After All | 10 | Aug. 24, 2010


Donors are getting exactly what they want from their charitable giving—the market is efficient, even highly so.

Lagging Imperialists in Social Entrepreneurship and How to Avoid Them | 5 | Aug. 2, 2010


We need more good examples and fewer good intentions in social entrepreneurship and humanitarian design.

Professional Altruism Is Harder than It Looks | 1 | Apr. 19, 2010


Foundation program officers—a case for empathy.

Obama’s Missed Opportunity to Change Charitable Giving | 5 | Mar. 23, 2010


Obama could have radically changed the debate on how to allocate charitable funds if he had detailed the set of criteria used to donate his Nobel Peace Prize award money.

Patient Optimists | 8 | Feb. 19, 2010


Patient optimists have lowered their expectations of any particular program or intervention, but not their belief in a better world over the long term.