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

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Global Problem Solving Without the Globaloney

It’s time to put an end to the “flat world” thinking that guides the work of all too many social change organizations.

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  • Evaluation has been a necessary evil for most nonprofits—expensive, time-consuming, impractical, and yet an absolute pre-requisite for funding. But is there a better way? The paradigm of evaluation is moving from retrospective, academic research studies to predictive, algorithmic measurement. With the advent…

    Jason Saul & Nolan Gasser
  • How can foundations become more effective in catalyzing and sustaining change? Do the conventional tools of strategic philanthropy work for today’s complex social problems? If not, what are the options? Emergent strategy can help foundations that are tackling complex social problems by…

    Kathleen Enright, John Kania, Zia Khan, & Hilary Pennington
  • Mission creep is a pervasive and extremely debilitating problem that afflicts all too many nonprofit organizations. Some experts believe it is the number-one reason why nonprofits fail to achieve the impact for beneficiaries that they desire. Yet mission creep is easily preventable…

    Kim Starkey Jonker, William F. Meehan III, & Sakena Yacoobi
  • Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are among the newest and most promising innovations within the impact investing space. Four years after the first SIB launched in the U.K., the US market is now gaining traction. At the federal level, President Obama’s FY 2015…

    Tracy Palandjian & Sam Schaeffer
  • Many—and some leaders believe most—nonprofit boards are ineffective. Much is at stake. Weak board governance can diminish a nonprofit’s social impact, cause it to founder, and even die. But any board can improve its performance if its members are willing to confront…

    Kim Starkey Jonker, William F. Meehan III, & Kathy Spahn
  • Fundraising mystifies, if not terrifies, most social enterprise leaders. In truth, both for-profit and nonprofit fundraising is a simple, learnable skill. If you can talk, you can raise social impact money. Empower yourself! Join Jonathan C. Lewis, serial social entrepreneur and host…

    Jonathan C. Lewis
  • Social sector leaders around the world are getting impatient. Conscious of the enormity of the need that exists, they are no longer satisfied with impact that expands only incrementally. Now that they know “what works,” there is a deep urgency to help…

    Jeff Bradach, Susan Davis, & Gerald Chertavian
  • Over the last decade, many foundations have begun to lose their appetite for risk and experimentation in favor of safer, more proven, and incremental investments. But a small group of funders has begun to deliberately seek out and support high-risk, high-reward innovations…

    Gabriel Kasper, Justin Marcoux, Brian Quinn, & Sarah Koch
  • In spite of an improving economy, nonprofit mergers continue to lag their for-profit counterparts. Nonprofit leaders are finding that progress is being made on some of the major barriers that have prevented nonprofits from exploring mergers, yet three softer issues are miring…

    Katie Smith Milway, Lois Savage, Elisabeth D. Babcock, & Decker Ngongang
  • By applying big data to their research, organizations can better inform their decision-making, understand the fields in which they work, and achieve the greatest impact. Join Jon Sotsky of the Knight Foundation, Sean Gourley of Quid (Knight Foundation’s data analytics firm), and…

    Jon Sotsky, Sean Gourley, & Jeffrey Bladt