Volume 1, Number 1
The inaugural issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, spring 2003, showcases a wide variety of articles written by a number of leading thinkers in the field of social innovation. Among them is an important article by Harvard University academics Christine W. Letts and William P. Ryan—“How High-Engagement Philanthropy Works.” The authors argue that “high-engagement philanthropy” is a much better and more descriptive term than the more popular “venture philanthropy.”
The authors provide answers to three questions about the increasingly popular and controversial funding approach called high engagement, or venture philanthropy. What do grantees gain from it? How does it work? And should we encourage it?
With few exceptions, most US nonprofits operate in a single neighborhood, town, or city. How can proven nonprofits increase their reach?
When activists miscalculate their strategic approach, their boycotts tend to falter and fade away, squandering important resources and credibility. Similarly, when companies mishandle their nonmarket strategies, they too pay a steep price.
To innovate, nonprofits must do things that clash with common but misguided beliefs about managing. Here are some counterintuitive ideas to stimulate innovation in your organization.
Some argue that foundations should distribute at a faster rate because of the 'time value of money.' Their numbers are wrong. A cash flow discounting approach is not applicable to foundations.
Field Report (formerly What Works)
The Oakland, Calif.-based office supply company, Give Something Back, donates all of its profits to charity. This practice has turned off some potential customers.
Cirque du Soleil devotes 1 percent of ticket sale revenue -- or about $6.2 million -- to outreach programs for at-risk kids, many of whom struggle with poverty, drug addiction, or homelessness.
Individual development accounts, special savings accounts for the poor that provide matching dollars, are helping people escape from poverty.
The Community Culinary Training Program prepares adults -- many of whom live on public assistance -- for foodservice jobs with stable salaries and benefits.
Over the past decade, nonprofit organizations have increasingly made independent documentary film and video projects a central component of their campaigns for social and political change.
More than 500 welfare recipients have participated in Cascade Engineering, Inc.'s welfare-to-career program that provides jobs and training.
Viewpoint (formerly First Person)
Millions of words have been written about the need to measure the effectiveness of nonprofits, and millions of dollars have been spent doing just that. It's time to ask: What has been the impact of this effectiveness movement?
New research suggests that the fate of start-up nonprofits is highly dependent on their acquisition of stable funding sources, particularly public funds
When parents have more school districts to choose from, schools are forced to hire teachers with more math and science skills who work harder and come from more selective colleges.
Foundations are more likely to satisfy grantees by being responsive, approachable, and fair, rather than by giving more money.
Cities are building museums and symphony halls to spur growth.
Contrary to common belief, giving people living in public housing a sense of 'empowerment' has little to do with whether they are then involved in activities to improve their community.
Ever wonder why some nonprofits get all the press? That's the question a pair of sociologists set out to answer, with surprising results.
Recent research suggests that emotional intelligence is one of the important characteristics of group leaders.
Books (formerly Reviews)
The authors describe a new approach to environmental conservation that takes market realities into account, rather than relying on philanthropy and altruism.
This straightforward book offers a primer in how to conduct effective and affordable market research that reveals valuable information about customers or clients.
The leaders of international humanitarian organizations, such as CARE and Oxfam talk candidly about management strategy, organizational goals, advocacy, accountability, and partnerships.
The author has penned an engaging book that unravels the complicated issues surrounding business ethics.
Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation, discusses her approach to philanthropy.
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