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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Spring 2003

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.”

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Filling the Performance Gap

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?

By Christine W. Letts & William P. Ryan

Nonprofit Management

Going to Scale

With few exceptions, most US nonprofits operate in a single neighborhood, town, or city. How can proven nonprofits increase their reach?

By Jeffrey L. Bradach


Going Head to Head

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.

By David P. Baron

Nonprofit Management

Sparking Nonprofit Innovation

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.

By Robert I. Sutton


When Time Isn’t Money

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.

By Michael Klausner

Field Report

Corporate Philanthropy

Community Capitalists

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.

By Michael Fitzgerald

Socially Responsible Business

Cirque du Soleil Thinks Globally

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.

By Brenda Branswell

Economic Development

Bank on It

Individual development accounts, special savings accounts for the poor that provide matching dollars, are helping people escape from poverty.

By Ken Yamada

Economic Development

Let Them Make Fish

The Community Culinary Training Program prepares adults -- many of whom live on public assistance -- for foodservice jobs with stable salaries and benefits.

By Victor Wishna

Case Study

Socially Responsible Business

Bridging the Cultures of Business and Poverty

More than 500 welfare recipients have participated in Cascade Engineering, Inc.'s welfare-to-career program that provides jobs and training.

By James R. Bradley



Reel Impact

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.

By David Whiteman

Measuring Social Impact

The Effectiveness Trap

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?

By Jan Masaoka


Social Entrepreneurship

Growing Pains

New research suggests that the fate of start-up nonprofits is highly dependent on their acquisition of stable funding sources, particularly public funds

By Chris McGarry


The Teachers Parents Want

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.

By Kari Lyderson


Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Foundations are more likely to satisfy grantees by being responsive, approachable, and fair, rather than by giving more money.

By Vinay Jain

Urban Development

Bright Lights, Big Culture

Cities are building museums and symphony halls to spur growth.

By Michael Fitzgerald

Civil Society

Debunking Empowerment

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.

By Kari Lyderson


Nonprofits and the News

Ever wonder why some nonprofits get all the press? That's the question a pair of sociologists set out to answer, with surprising results.

By Ken Yamada

Nonprofit Management

The Importance of Being Emphathetic

Recent research suggests that emotional intelligence is one of the important characteristics of group leaders.

By Gerald Burstyn | 1


The New Economy of Nature Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison


The New Economy of Nature

The authors describe a new approach to environmental conservation that takes market realities into account, rather than relying on philanthropy and altruism.

Reviewed By Carl Palmer
Marketing Research: That Won't Break the Bank Alan R. Andreasen

Nonprofit Management

Marketing Research

This straightforward book offers a primer in how to conduct effective and affordable market research that reveals valuable information about customers or clients.

Reviewed By Claire Alexander
Going Global: Transforming Relief and Development NGOs
Marc Lindenberg and Coralie Bryant

Nonprofit Management

Going Global

The leaders of international humanitarian organizations, such as CARE and Oxfam talk candidly about management strategy, organizational goals, advocacy, accountability, and partnerships.

Reviewed By David F. Suarez
Value Shift: Why Companies Must Merge Social and Financial Imperatives to Achieve Superior Performance Lynn Sharp Paine

Socially Responsible Business

Value Shift

The author has penned an engaging book that unravels the complicated issues surrounding business ethics.

Reviewed By Perla Ni



15 Minutes with Susan Berresford

Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation, discusses her approach to philanthropy.

By SSIR editor