Spring 2007

Volume 5, Number 2

Everybody loves social entrepreneurship, and everybody wants to be one, too. Unfortunately, with popularity comes confusion—all sorts of activities are now being called social entrepreneurship. In the spring 2007 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, Roger L. Martin and Sally Osberg make “The Case for Definition,” arguing that there must be some distinction between those who are truly practicing social entrepreneurship and those who just wish they were.

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How Nonprofits Get Really Big

By William Foster & Gail Fine 19

Since 1970, more than 200,000 nonprofits have opened in the U.S., but only 144 have reached $50 million in annual revenue. They got big by doing two things: They raised the bulk of their money from a single type of funder. And just as importantly, these nonprofits created professional organizations that were tailored to the needs of their primary funding sources.

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Luck of the Draw

By Kevin Bolduc, Phil Buchanan, & Ellie Buteau 1

Grantees of foundations have little control over which program officer takes their case. Yet program officers make or break grantees’ experiences with foundations. To trigger social change, foundations must give program officers better training, clearer expectations, and regular performance feedback.

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Learn to Love Lobbying

By Fraser Nelson, David W. Brady, & Alana Conner Snibbe 1

Most nonprofits don’t know how to lobby and, worse, think that it entails cutting shady deals with sleazy characters. Yet lobbying is nothing more than educating legislators – a right that our democracy guarantees. To make change, nonprofits must learn to lobby. And who knows? They may even learn to love it.

Field Report

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Policing the Police

By Catherine DiBenedetto 2

The traditional approach among human rights groups in Nigeria had been accusatory: publicize injustices or sue the government. But in January 1998, on the eve of democracy, an NGO called the CLEEN foundation set out to reform law enforcement from within.

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Bettering Beantown

By Betsy Haley

Greenlight is a nonprofit catalyst: It identifes a local need, scours the country for the best program to meet it, and then establishes a chapter in its hometown.

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Social Innovations

Secret Agents

By Meghann Evershed Dryer & Tracy Pizzo

Find out why Method home products keep their eco-friendliness under very attractive wraps.


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Sound and Fury

By Tony Proscio

Much public affairs lingo, such as "capacity," signifies nothing in particular. The nonprofit and public sectors have more than their share of this vocabulary. There are a handful of toxic words and phrases that have a way of polluting any stream of consciousness, muddying the concepts and making it impossible to see what facts and arguments (if any) lie below the surface.

Social Innovations

Profiting From Failure

By Paul Shoemaker

What nonprofits and donors can learn from the closing of a venture philanthropy firm.


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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Health Partnerships

By Alana Conner Snibbe

Step aside, Stephen Covey. Kent Buse and Andrew M. Harmer have discovered seven new highly effective habits. And theirs may help rid the world of its more deadly diseases, rather than just upping people's productivity.

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Global Issues

Your Brain on Drug Addicts

By Alana Conner Snibbe

Recent neuroscience research confirms that people - and the brains they contain - view drug addicts as not quite human.


Fishing for Donations

By Alana Conner Snibbe

Why nonprofits should let donors give back their fundraising incentives.


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Review: The Foundation vs. Great Philanthropic Mistakes

Review By Rick Cohen

Some books ought to be read as pairs. Joel L. Fleishman’s and Martin Morse Wooster’s recent offerings are such a duo, offering sometimes diametrically opposed perspectives on philanthropic successes and failures.


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15 Minutes with Kevin Johnson

By James A. Phills, Jr. 3

SSIR Academic Editor Jim Phills sat down with former NBA superstar Kevin Johnson to discuss how he's revitalizing his old inner-city neighborhood.

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