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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Winter 2008

Volume 6, Number 1

Traditionally, corporate social responsibility efforts serve a business’ local community. But today’s multinational corporations—headquarters in one country, manufacturing facilities in another, satellite offices in several more—are international in influence and impact. “The Responsibility Paradox,” the winter 2009 cover story of Stanford Social Innovation Review, predicts that the European Union will set the tone for product and environmental regulations, the United States will lead on governance, and international NGOs will drive human rights and labor laws.

Tracker Pixel for Entry




In Microfinance, Clients Must Come First

Few microfinance institutions articulate what, exactly, their ultimate goals are and how to achieve them. If the goal of microfinance is to alleviate poverty, the authors say, then MFIs should focus on helping their clients build successful enterprises, rather than on making more and bigger loans.

By Srikant M. Datar, Marc J. Epstein, & Kristi Yuthas | 15

Human Rights

Getting Human Rights Right

Corporations that violate human rights not only inflict suffering, but also hurt their bottom line. The authors suggest five principles that corporations can follow to improve their human rights footprint.

By Jenik Radon, Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos, & Tarek Farouk Maassarani

Social Entrepreneurship

Cultivate Your Ecosystem

Social entrepreneurs not only must understand the broad environment in which they work, but also must shape those environments to support their goals, when feasible. Borrowing insights from the field of ecology, the authors offer an ecosystems framework to help social entrepreneurs create long-lasting and significant social change.

By Paul N. Bloom & J. Gregory Dees | 1


Socially Responsible Business

The Responsibility Paradox

Multinational corporations are in a quandary: Stakeholders are imposing higher standards than ever, but businesses are confused about what their global social responsibilities actually are.

By Gerald F. Davis, Marina V.N. Whitman, & Mayer N. Zald | 5

Field Report


Nonprofit Management

Give Away the Store

Why Portland’s ReBuilding Center refuses to franchise, but is happy to share.

By Suzie Boss | 1

Global Issues

Equal Partners

How an ecotourism company and a native community share power in Peru.

By Erin Palm


Smart Soaps

The Population Media Center mixes science with soap operas to protect public health.

By Corey Binns

Social Entrepreneurship

Competing for a Change

How Changemakers’ “collaborative competitions” harness the wisdom of crowds.

By Leslie Berger | 5

Case Study



Curbing Mission Creep

Despite temptations to broaden its focus, the Rural Development Institute has remained single-mindedly devoted to its mission. As a result, the organization has helped 400 million poor farmers around the world take ownership of some 270 million acres of land – all on a modest budget.

By Kim Jonker & William F. Meehan III



Failing Well

Foundations need to make more of the right kinds of mistakes.

By Judith M. Gueron

Measuring Social Impact

Evaluation Blues

How accountability requirements hurt small, innovative programs the most.

By Laura Silverstein & Erin J. Maher | 3



Civil Society

Old Dogs, New Opinions

Contrary to stereotypes, people grow more liberal and tolerant as they age.

By Alana Conner


Condescending Coverage

Newspapers do a poor job of reporting on the nonprofit sector.

By Alana Conner


The Stingy Hour

Workers paid by the hour are less likely to volunteer than are salaried employees.

By Alana Conner

Individual Giving

Destination Unknown

Donors’ money isn’t going where they think it is.

By Ellen Konar, Sheryl Sandberg, & Melissa Brown | 2


Greening Supply Chains

When scarcity sets in, market forces can lead corporations to adopt green practices.

By Alana Conner

Economic Development

Is This the Silver Bullet?

Why narrowing the gap between the rich and poor could alleviate many social problems.

By Alana Conner


Gender, Media, and Public Policy
Karen M. Kedrowski & Marilyn Stine Sarow


Cancer Activism

Reviewed By Catherine DiBenedetto
MANAGEMENT: 14 Challenges
of Philanthropic Leadership –
And How to Outfox Them
Joel J. Orosz


Effective Foundation Management

Reviewed By Catherine DiBenedetto


Review: Break Through

Small-scale efforts won't solve the global warming crisis.

Reviewed By Sacha Zimmerman


Review: Beyond the White House

Jimmy Carter details his ongoing efforts to make a difference as John Q. Citizen.

Reviewed By Joshua Weissburg

Global Issues

Review: Fugitive Denim

From field to factory, Snyder reveals the real lives behind the making of a pair of jeans.

Reviewed By Laura Commike
Migrants to Immigrants
Jorge G. Castañeda

Global Issues

Ex Mex

Reviewed By Catherine DiBenedetto


Social Entrepreneurship

15 Minutes with Thomas Vander Ark

SSIR Managing Editor Eric Nee spoke with the X Prize Foundation’s president, Thomas Vander Ark, about how prizes can stimulate social innovation.

By Eric Nee