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SSIR Articles

Published: 2016-04-29T17:33:00+00:00


Embracing an Equity Lens in the Organization and Community (Blog)


How a social service organization defined equity and made it a core of its programs for low-income families in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region.

Philanthropy’s Missing Trillions (Blog)


A demographic wave could soon funnel unprecedented dollars into philanthropy, but few nonprofits are poised to take advantage of the largest wealth transfer in human history.

How Field Catalysts Galvanize Social Change


Ending malaria. Achieving marriage equality. Dramatically reducing teen smoking. Surmounting these and other daunting social challenges can require an “invisible hand” that amplifies the efforts of many other players in the field. These behind-the-scenes catalysts are built to win campaigns, not to last forever, and they are galvanizing population-level change.

Searching for Impact (Blog)


How search funds, a little-known private equity investment vehicle, can become a useful tool for impact investing.

The Urgency to Fund Early-stage Social Entrepreneurs (Blog)


Why early-stage entrepreneurs are essential building blocks for profound social change—and why they need greater investment.

The Unexamined Algorithm Is Not Worth Using (Blog)


Why nonprofits need to evaluate the ethics of their algorithms.

Addicted to Bad News (Blog)


Don’t indulge. It can drain the joy right out of the work.

Sparking Opportunities for Education and Career Pathways (Blog)


How a regional college consortium in California’s Central Valley uses technology and alternative programming to create equitable educational pathways for students with “some college, no degree.”

Spotting the Patterns: 2017 Trends in Design Thinking (Blog)


Creative leaders and innovators are thinking about design thinking in more mature ways. Moving away from a sole emphasis on language and learning, they are increasingly focusing on questions of application, ownership, and impact.

Talking About Ethics in Impact Investing (Blog)


To make the best and most consistent decisions, impact investors need to think about values as much as they think about growth and financial returns.

Government as Government, not Business (Blog)


While innovating in government is critical, we also need shared norms and democratic values.

The Denominator Mind-set for Scaling Social Change (Blog)


How do India’s social innovators extend their reach to many constituents? They focus on the entire problem and adapt as they confront it.

A Force for Equity in Parent Engagement (Blog)


How an educational access collaborative evolved to give parents more say in creating educational opportunities for their children and help expand opportunities for first-generation students.

The Next Phase of Innovative Financing (Blog)


Why pay-for-success models of humanitarian impact investing offer promise for the future.

From “Lean Start-Up” to “Lean Collaboration” (Blog)


How to reframe government adoption of social innovations.

Is Online Fundraising a Bad Idea? (Blog)


Four tips for avoiding the pitfalls of online giving.

Applying Social Enterprise to Refugee Settings (Blog)


Humanitarian assistance relies on a charity model of providing immediate relief in emergency situations. But once the emergency has passed, other approaches might better deliver services in a market-driven, customer-centric way.

Creating Career Pipelines to Serve Aging Populations (Blog)


How education and careers connected to the aging population can provide an opportunity for economic growth.

Private Sector Force for Public Education (Blog)


Truly improving children’s educational outcomes at scale requires unorthodox approaches. One promising yet largely neglected approach is to systematically leverage the private sector’s agenda.

Leapfrogging Toward Success in Education (Blog)


A new approach to addressing skills uncertainty and inequality across the globe.

Sustainable Investments Are Not Always What They Seem (Blog)


Investors need to better educate themselves about the local context in which their funds are deployed.

Reframing Education Change in India (Blog)


Improving learning outcomes in India requires that funders and social purpose organizations shift to working on the entire educational ecosystem rather than focused interventions.

Five SSIR Articles for U.N. Week (Blog)


A reading list of our favorite articles on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Breaking Barriers, Shifting Narratives, and Expanding Opportunity (Blog)


By designing programs and policies to overcome longstanding systemic barriers in communities, we can expand opportunities for equity.

Should You Agitate, Innovate, or Orchestrate?


A framework for understanding the roles you can play in a movement for social change.

Demystifying the Theory of Change Process (Blog)


Why the process of creating a theory of change matters, and a five-step guide to success.

A Portfolio Approach to Social Innovation Partnerships (Blog)


Successful social innovation at scale requires partners from the public, private, and social sectors to work together through flexible models that evolve to meet shifting requirements and address changing risks.

A New Paradigm for Microfinance: Savings and Credit (Blog)


While they are no magic wand and really only work as part of a holistic approach, there is enormous potential for international development organizations to help communities help themselves through savings and credit groups.

Talent: The Key to Developing the Social Sector in China (Blog)


Many organizations in China are aging without reaching their potential for impact because they lack needed talent, but there are ways to overcome this challenge.

Building Brand as Your Organization Grows (Blog)


Growing a social venture can create brand challenges with far-reaching consequences.

The Back-of-the-Envelope Guide to Communications Strategy (Blog)


Communications strategy should be flexible, scrappy, and accessible to everyone on your team. This four-question framework, rooted in social science, can help organizations craft an effective strategy that drives real social change.

NGO Leadership Development in India: From Pioneer-Founders to Homegrown Leaders


As the trailblazers who built India’s nonprofit sector begin to step aside, a new study shows that NGOs face a significant gap in next-generation leadership. There are barriers to bridging this gap and building blocks to surmount them, but progress depends on founders and funders viewing leadership development as mission critical.

Intragovernmental Collaborations: Pipedreams or the Future of the Public Sector? (Blog)


How policy labs can foster greater collaboration and policy co-creation.

Four Pitfalls of Social Product Innovation (Blog)


By understanding risks and establishing mitigation strategies in advance of digital product innovation, organizations can save resources while deepening their impact.

Collective Impact Without Borders (Blog)


Successful, multi-national, collective impact efforts require that organizations carefully consider two dimensions of their approach.

How to Succeed on a Nonprofit Board (Blog)


Dump your assumptions, and be curious.

A Fresh Start for Conservation (Blog)


The Trump Administration has given the environmental community an opportunity to become better listeners, reconnect with its core constituents, and tap into a little humility along the way.

Sales and Social Enterprise Aren’t Mutually Exclusive (Blog)


To market to the base of pyramid, we need to stop thinking of selling as a dark art.

Housing for Health (Blog)


Nine communities in the United States are finding ways to invest in housing to contain health care costs.

Shared Gifting: Shifting Funding Power to Nonprofits (Blog)


When nonprofits dole out grant money to peers, the result is a transformative experience that fosters innovation, collaboration, and learning.