Summer 2009

Volume 7, Number 3

The summer 2009 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review highlights the rising tide of public feeling that too many organizations operate unethically and dishonestly. The last decade has produced numerous examples of egregious ethical and moral misconduct in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. In “Ethics and Nonprofits,” authors Deborah L. Rhode and Amanda K. Packe unpack common ethical issues and misconduct, and suggest ways nonprofits can institutionalize ethical values in all aspects of an organization’s culture.

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Mission-Driven Governance

By Raymond Fisman, Rakesh Khurana, & Edward Martenson 1

The prevailing governance model is fundamentally adversarial, pitting board members in a never-ending struggle with executives. This model may ensure that the legal requirements of oversight and compliance are met, but it does little to advance the organization’s goals. The authors propose a new and more effective framework, one where board members and executives work together to advance the organization’s mission.

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Ethics and Nonprofits

By Deborah L. Rhode & Amanda K. Packel 18

Unethical behavior remains a persistent problem in nonprofits and for-profits alike. To help organizations solve that problem, the authors examine the factors that influence moral conduct, the ethical issues that arise specifically in charitable organizations, and the best ways to promote ethical behavior within organizations.

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Platforms for Collaboration

By Satish Nambisan

Some of the brightest ideas for social change grow in the spaces between organizations and sectors. Yet few organizations have systems that make collaboration happen. To foster innovation, organizations need to develop places where they can come together and work creatively—that is, platforms for collaboration. In this article, a management expert identifies three kinds of collaboration platforms—exploration, experimentation, and execution—and then outlines what organizations can do to put these platforms to work for them.

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The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing

By Angela M. Eikenberry 18

From pink ribbons to Product Red, cause marketing adroitly serves two masters, earning profits for corporations while raising funds for charities. Yet the short-term benefits of cause marketing—also known as consumption philanthropy—belie its long-term costs. These hidden costs include individualizing solutions to collective problems; replacing virtuous action with mindless buying; and hiding how markets create many social problems in the first place. Consumption philanthropy is therefore unsuited to create real social change.

What's Next

Hedge Funds for Good

By Suzie Boss 1

Uhuru Capital Management manages a conventional fund of hedge funds, but with an attention to social values.

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Tweets for Change

By Suzie Boss

Tweeters come together for spontaneous gatherings of like-minded philanthropists.

Field Report

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Art Mimics Art

By Suzie Boss

Manchester Bidwell Corporation replicates by adapting general strategies to local cultures.

Case Study

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The Profit in Nonprofit

By Bethany Coates & Garth Saloner 13

Why Kiva chose to be a 501(c)(3), what this tax status buys the organization, and how being a nonprofit poses challenges.


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Social Entrepreneurship Revisited

By Paul C. Light 24

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most alluring terms on the problem-solving landscape today. The question is not whether social entrepreneurship is a term in
good currency, but what it actually means.


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Think Passionate

By Alana Conner

Investors screen for entrepreneurial passion when making funding decisions.

The Volunteer Boom

By Alana Conner

Nonprofits will soon have more volunteers than they can handle.

When Swag Backfires

By Alana Conner 1

When donor gifts are public, social approbation is reward enough.

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At a Loss for Ethics

By Alana Conner

Studies show that individuals are more susceptible to corrupt behavior when trying to avoid a loss.



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Q & A: Judith Rodin

By Eric Nee 2

The Rockefeller Foundation is staying at the forefront of new and big ideas, funding new innovation processes like crowdsourcing and collaborative competitions.

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