Spring 2008

Volume 6, Number 2

The spring 2008 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review contains three major stories that focus on a nonprofit’s relationship to funding, productivity, and growth.  In “The Networked Nonprofit,” the benefit of focusing on networking over growth is examined. “The Funding Gap” explains the social enterprise capital market and examines how to handle philanthropists dubious about funding for-profit social ventures, and commercial investors looking askance at purely social missions. And, in “More Bang for the Buck,” Alex Neuhoff and Robert Searle explore how three nonprofits succeeded in reducing costs without sacrificing the quality of their services.


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The Funding Gap

By Michael Chertok, Jeff Hamaoui, & Eliot Jamison

Social enterprises combine the best of the nonprofit and for-profit worlds, but that very innovation has made it difficult for them to raise money. Philanthropists are reluctant to give grants to profit-making organizations, and commercial investors are wary of investing in organizations that are driven by a social mission. The authors explore the social enterprise capital market and offer short- and long-term solutions to this funding gap.

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More Bang for the Buck

By Alex Neuhoff & Robert Searle 1

In virtually every for-profit industry, success hinges on producing more goods or services at a lower cost without compromising quality. But increasing productivity can work in the nonprofit world, too, as an examination of three healthy nonprofits shows.

Field Report

Case Study

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Marching to a Different Mission

By Georgette Baghdady & Joanne M. Maddock

When the Salk polio vaccine proved to be effective in 1955, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had to choose whether to close up shop or to pursue a new agenda. The foundation first broadened its mission, but lost donations, volunteers, and public support. After honing its mission to birth defects, however, it recovered. Here’s how the organization that eventually became the March of Dimes planned – and survived – its transitions.

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The Greening of Wal-Mart

By Erica L. Plambeck & Lyn Denend 5

For much of its history, Wal-Mart’s corporate management team toiled inside its “Bentonville Bubble,” narrowly focused on operational efficiency, growth, and profits. But now the world’s largest retailer has widened its sights, building networks of employees, nonprofits, government agencies, and suppliers to “green” its supply chains. Here’s how and why the world’s largest retailer is using a network approach to decrease its environmental footprint – and to increase its profitability.




Poor in Body

By Alana Conner

Toxic environments knock impoverished kids’ systems out of kilter.


Global Issues

Review: Giving

Review By Paul Collier

The former president shares how ordinary citizens are helping to solve our big problems.


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