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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Spring 2008

Volume 6, Number 2

The spring 2008 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review contains three major stories that focus on a nonprofit’s relationship to funding, productivity, and growth.  In “The Networked Nonprofit,” the benefit of focusing on networking over growth is examined. “The Funding Gap” explains the social enterprise capital market and examines how to handle philanthropists dubious about funding for-profit social ventures, and commercial investors looking askance at purely social missions. And, in “More Bang for the Buck,” Alex Neuhoff and Robert Searle explore how three nonprofits succeeded in reducing costs without sacrificing the quality of their services.

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Nonprofit Management

The Networked Nonprofit

Organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks.

By Jane Wei-Skillern & Sonia Marciano | 7


The Funding Gap

Social enterprises combine the best of the nonprofit and for-profit worlds, but that very innovation has made it difficult for them to raise money. Philanthropists are reluctant to give grants to profit-making organizations, and commercial investors are wary of investing in organizations that are driven by a social mission. The authors explore the social enterprise capital market and offer short- and long-term solutions to this funding gap.

By Michael Chertok, Jeff Hamaoui, & Eliot Jamison


More Bang for the Buck

In virtually every for-profit industry, success hinges on producing more goods or services at a lower cost without compromising quality. But increasing productivity can work in the nonprofit world, too, as an examination of three healthy nonprofits shows.

By Alex Neuhoff & Robert Searle | 1

Field Report



Praise the Lord, but Dim the Lights

The Regeneration Project helps the environmental movement get religion.

By Suzie Boss | 1

Civil Society

The Mother Lode

MomsRising is tapping a vast resource to improve the lives of American families.

By Laura Gehl

Socially Responsible Business

Baked Goods

Dancing Deer Bakery helps most when it keeps its eye on the bottom line.

By Abby Fung


Garden-Variety Revolution

TerraCycle turns what others leave behind into fertilizers and fashion.

By Leslie Berger | 8

Case Study



Marching to a Different Mission

When the Salk polio vaccine proved to be effective in 1955, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had to choose whether to close up shop or to pursue a new agenda. The foundation first broadened its mission, but lost donations, volunteers, and public support. After honing its mission to birth defects, however, it recovered. Here's how the organization that eventually became the March of Dimes planned – and survived – its transitions.

By Georgette Baghdady & Joanne M. Maddock


The Greening of Wal-Mart

For much of its history, Wal-Mart’s corporate management team toiled inside its “Bentonville Bubble,” narrowly focused on operational efficiency, growth, and profits. But now the world's largest retailer has widened its sights, building networks of employees, nonprofits, government agencies, and suppliers to “green” its supply chains. Here's how and why the world’s largest retailer is using a network approach to decrease its environmental footprint – and to increase its profitability.

By Erica L. Plambeck & Lyn Denend | 5



Technology & Design

The BOP Beckons

Why grassroots design will determine the winners in developing markets.

By Joshua Weissburg | 5

Nonprofit Management

MBAs Gone Wild

Nonprofits must reign in pro bono MBAs.

By James W. Shepard, Jr. | 7


Innovating the White House

How the next president of the United States can spur social entrepreneurship.

By Michele Jolin | 3



The Problem With Trust

The most trusted employees cash in on lax internal controls to fleece nonprofits.

By Alana Conner | 1

Civil Society

Aim for the Middle

To persuade a whole group, start by changing the minds of a few moderates.

By Alana Conner


Poor in Body

Toxic environments knock impoverished kids’ systems out of kilter.

By Alana Conner


Red and Blue Revisited

The more race- and sex-segregated the county, the more Republican it votes.

By Alana Conner

Civil Society

With Love Comes War

Xenophobia and altruism may have evolved hand in hand.

By Alana Conner


Meet Your Match

Matching grants work – but not for everyone.

By Alana Conner


THE BLUE WAY: How to Profit
by Investing in a Better World
Daniel de Faro Adamson
& Joe Andrew

Corporate Philanthropy

Review: The Blue Way

Reviewed By Jennifer Roberts
WORK: Best
Practices in Managing
and Measuring
Corporate Social,
Environmental, and
Economic Impacts
Marc J. Epstein

Socially Responsible Business

Review: Making Sustainability Work

Reviewed By Jennifer Roberts
America Is Losing Its Innovation
Edge, Why It Matters, and
What We Can Do to Get It Back
John Kao

Social Entrepreneurship

Review: Innovation Nation

Reviewed By Jennifer Roberts


Review: Grassroots Philanthropy

Foundation grantmaking can become more responsive, intuitive, and effective.

Reviewed By Peter deCourcy Hero

Social Entrepreneurship

Review: The Power of Unreasonable People

Who are social entrepreneurs and why does what they do matter?

Reviewed By Rick Aubry | 1

Global Issues

Review: Giving

The former president shares how ordinary citizens are helping to solve our big problems.

Reviewed By Paul Collier



15 Minutes with Vicky Colbert

SSIR Managing Editor Eric Nee spoke with Escuela Nueva’s president Vicky Colbert about her efforts to change the way children are educated.

By Eric Nee | 1