Spring 2003

Volume 1, Number 1

The inaugural issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, spring 2003, showcases a wide variety of articles written by a number of leading thinkers in the field of social innovation. Among them is an important article by Harvard University academics Christine W. Letts and William P. Ryan—“How High-Engagement Philanthropy Works.” The authors argue that “high-engagement philanthropy” is a much better and more descriptive term than the more popular “venture philanthropy.”



Filling the Performance Gap

By Christine W. Letts & William P. Ryan

The authors provide answers to three questions about the increasingly popular and controversial funding approach called high engagement, or venture philanthropy. What do grantees gain from it? How does it work? And should we encourage it?


Going Head to Head

By David P. Baron

When activists miscalculate their strategic approach, their boycotts tend to falter and fade away, squandering important resources and credibility. Similarly, when companies mishandle their nonmarket strategies, they too pay a steep price.

Nonprofit Management

Sparking Nonprofit Innovation

By Robert I. Sutton

To innovate, nonprofits must do things that clash with common but misguided beliefs about managing. Here are some counterintuitive ideas to stimulate innovation in your organization.


When Time Isn’t Money

By Michael Klausner

Some argue that foundations should distribute at a faster rate because of the ‘time value of money.’ Their numbers are wrong. A cash flow discounting approach is not applicable to foundations.

Field Report

Corporate Philanthropy

Community Capitalists

By Michael Fitzgerald

The Oakland, Calif.-based office supply company, Give Something Back, donates all of its profits to charity. This practice has turned off some potential customers.

Economic Development

Bank on It

By Ken Yamada

Individual development accounts, special savings accounts for the poor that provide matching dollars, are helping people escape from poverty.

Economic Development

Let Them Make Fish

By Victor Wishna

The Community Culinary Training Program prepares adults—many of whom live on public assistance—for foodservice jobs with stable salaries and benefits.

Case Study



Reel Impact

By David Whiteman

Over the past decade, nonprofit organizations have increasingly made independent documentary film and video projects a central component of their campaigns for social and political change.

Measuring Social Impact

The Effectiveness Trap

By Jan Masaoka

Millions of words have been written about the need to measure the effectiveness of nonprofits, and millions of dollars have been spent doing just that. It’s time to ask: What has been the impact of this effectiveness movement?


Social Entrepreneurship

Growing Pains

By Chris McGarry

New research suggests that the fate of start-up nonprofits is highly dependent on their acquisition of stable funding sources, particularly public funds


The Teachers Parents Want

By Kari Lyderson

When parents have more school districts to choose from, schools are forced to hire teachers with more math and science skills who work harder and come from more selective colleges.

Civil Society

Debunking Empowerment

By Kari Lyderson

Contrary to common belief, giving people living in public housing a sense of ‘empowerment’ has little to do with whether they are then involved in activities to improve their community.


Nonprofits and the News

By Ken Yamada

Ever wonder why some nonprofits get all the press? That’s the question a pair of sociologists set out to answer, with surprising results.


The New Economy of Nature Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison

The New Economy of Nature

Review By Carl Palmer

The authors describe a new approach to environmental conservation that takes market realities into account, rather than relying on philanthropy and altruism.

Marketing Research: That Won't Break the Bank Alan R. Andreasen
Nonprofit Management

Marketing Research

Review By Claire Alexander

This straightforward book offers a primer in how to conduct effective and affordable market research that reveals valuable information about customers or clients.

Going Global: Transforming Relief and Development NGOs
Marc Lindenberg and Coralie Bryant
Nonprofit Management

Going Global

Review By David F. Suarez

The leaders of international humanitarian organizations, such as CARE and Oxfam talk candidly about management strategy, organizational goals, advocacy, accountability, and partnerships.


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