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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Spring 2007

Volume 5, Number 2

Everybody loves social entrepreneurship, and everybody wants to be one, too. Unfortunately, with popularity comes confusion—all sorts of activities are now being called social entrepreneurship. In the spring 2007 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, Roger L. Martin and Sally Osberg make “The Case for Definition,” arguing that there must be some distinction between those who are truly practicing social entrepreneurship and those who just wish they were.

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How Nonprofits Get Really Big

Since 1970, more than 200,000 nonprofits have opened in the U.S., but only 144 have reached $50 million in annual revenue. They got big by doing two things: They raised the bulk of their money from a single type of funder. And just as importantly, these nonprofits created professional organizations that were tailored to the needs of their primary funding sources.

By William Foster & Gail Fine | 15


Luck of the Draw

Grantees of foundations have little control over which program officer takes their case. Yet program officers make or break grantees’ experiences with foundations. To trigger social change, foundations must give program officers better training, clearer expectations, and regular performance feedback.

By Kevin Bolduc, Phil Buchanan, & Ellie Buteau | 1

Learn to Love Lobbying

Most nonprofits don’t know how to lobby and, worse, think that it entails cutting shady deals with sleazy characters. Yet lobbying is nothing more than educating legislators – a right that our democracy guarantees. To make change, nonprofits must learn to lobby. And who knows? They may even learn to love it.

By Fraser Nelson, David W. Brady, & Alana Conner Snibbe | 1

Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition

How do you define social entrepreneurship?

By Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg | 18

Field Report


Civil Society

Policing the Police

The traditional approach among human rights groups in Nigeria had been accusatory: publicize injustices or sue the government. But in January 1998, on the eve of democracy, an NGO called the CLEEN foundation set out to reform law enforcement from within.

By Catherine DiBenedetto | 2


Bettering Beantown

Greenlight is a nonprofit catalyst: It identifes a local need, scours the country for the best program to meet it, and then establishes a chapter in its hometown.

By Betsy Haley


Secret Agents

Find out why Method home products keep their eco-friendliness under very attractive wraps.

By Meghann Evershed Dryer & Tracy Pizzo



Civil Society

Sound and Fury

Much public affairs lingo, such as "capacity," signifies nothing in particular. The nonprofit and public sectors have more than their share of this vocabulary. There are a handful of toxic words and phrases that have a way of polluting any stream of consciousness, muddying the concepts and making it impossible to see what facts and arguments (if any) lie below the surface.

By Tony Proscio

Technology & Design

A Pyramid Scheme for Technology

How to identify your IT needs and get money for them.

By Zach Goldstein & Theresa M. Ellis


Profiting From Failure

What nonprofits and donors can learn from the closing of a venture philanthropy firm.

By Paul Shoemaker




The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Health Partnerships

Step aside, Stephen Covey. Kent Buse and Andrew M. Harmer have discovered seven new highly effective habits. And theirs may help rid the world of its more deadly diseases, rather than just upping people's productivity.

By Alana Conner Snibbe


Your Brain on Drug Addicts

Recent neuroscience research confirms that people - and the brains they contain - view drug addicts as not quite human.

By Alana Conner Snibbe


Fishing for Donations

Why nonprofits should let donors give back their fundraising incentives.

By Alana Conner Snibbe

Nonprofit Management

No Substitute for Experience

When hiring executives, many nonprofits should seek marketing expertise.

By Rosaline Juan


The Crown Weighs Heavily on the Eyelids

Why the powerful have a hard time taking other people’s perspectives.

By Alana Conner Snibbe


Wallflowers Grow the Tallest

Enterprising orgs fare better on the fringes of nonprofit networks.

By Alana Conner Snibbe




Review: The Foundation vs. Great Philanthropic Mistakes

Some books ought to be read as pairs. Joel L. Fleishman’s and Martin Morse Wooster’s recent offerings are such a duo, offering sometimes diametrically opposed perspectives on philanthropic successes and failures.

Reviewed By Rick Cohen


Review: Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy.

Reviewed By Fran Visco


Review: The Business of Changing the World

Twenty Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy.

Reviewed By Regina Starr Ridley



Urban Development

15 Minutes with Kevin Johnson

SSIR Academic Editor Jim Phills sat down with former NBA superstar Kevin Johnson to discuss how he's revitalizing his old inner-city neighborhood.

By James A. Phills, Jr. | 3