In the Spring of 2003, the Stanford Social Innovation Review published its inaugural issue. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, their Spring 2013 issue includes essays from the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners on how the field of social innovation has evolved and what challenges remain ahead. Here are some abstracts from the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature to get you started. I've provided links to full-text below where available; to read the other articles, visit the Foundation Center and ask for the printed issue.
"The Nonprofits of 2025" by Helmut K. Anheier (p. 18-20)
The author reviews past and current trends in the nonprofit sector to determine what its future might look like, and comes up with four possible scenarios. The New Public Management (NPM) scenario envisions a sector that becomes a private extension agent of a contract regime run by government; the civic scenario sees nonprofits as primarily detecting and correcting social ills before they become "social problems"; the accountability scenario views them as watchdogs to keep the state and market in check; and the innovation scenario predicts that they will attract venture capital and become the "search engine" for social problem solving.
"Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries" by Fay Twersky, Phil Buchanan, and Valerie Threlfall (p. 40-45)
This article explains the value of listening to those who benefit from social programs, since they often provide a unique insight into a program's effectiveness. The authors discuss how this feedback can be used and look at initiatives around the globe, focusing on patient feedback in health care programs and student feedback in educational programs. They also discuss the challenges to this work, such as the cost and difficulty of getting responses.
"High Stakes Donor Collaborations" by Willa Seldon, Thomas J. Tierney, and Gihani Fernando (p. 46-51)
This article identifies and examines collaborative efforts in philanthropy that have been created in order to tackle large scale social problems. The authors discuss their effectiveness through their ability to access expertise, create system-level change, and aggregate capital. They also share pragmatic insights into what makes collaboratives work.
"Assessing Advocacy" by Ivan Barkhorn, Nathan Huttner, and Jason Blau (p. 58-64)
Provides a framework for grantmakers to plan, monitor, and evaluate advocacy investments. This framework enables funders to evaluate projects for nine conditions, from the presence of effective champions to favorable timing. Article can also be used by organizers of advocacy campaigns to determine the best approaches and develop effective strategies.
"Improving Household Balance Sheets" by Jack McCarthy (73-74)
Discusses the reasoning behind and details of the Citi Foundation's Financial Capability Innovation Fund, which was set up to support new, innovative financial education and training programs. Lists grantees and describes their projects around the U.S.
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