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SSIR Articles

Published: 2017-04-27T16:30:00+00:00


Bold Bets for Social Change (Blog)


To lower the risk of big philanthropic bets, funders should start with smaller, bolder ones.

The Collaboration Game: Solving the Puzzle of Nonprofit Partnership (Blog)


Nonprofit collaboration is difficult; economics, game theory, and behavioral science offer lessons on how to do it well.

10 Things You Need to Build Clever Coalitions (Blog)


How to make collaboration work in a world of complex systems and exponential change.

The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World


A venture capitalist argues that the liberal arts are at the heart of the best technology.

Learning Progressions: Road Maps for 21st-Century Students—and Teachers (Blog)


To equip today’s students for the future, we need to understand the fundamental building blocks of complex skills, and apply that understanding to teaching practices and assessments.

Lessons from East Africa on Effective Community Organizing (Blog)


How a revitalized sense of civic duty can go beyond resistance and make real progress.

Solving Big Social Problems by Thinking Small (Blog)


Frugal, flexible, and inclusive “jugaad innovation” provides a compelling model for nonprofits looking for innovative solutions to significant problems.

Selecting the Right Growth Metrics: Fewer but Better (Blog)


Nonprofits have near-limitless metrics they can measure, but the key to success is identifying, monitoring, and responding to the few that really matter.

Protecting the Heart of Environmental Civil Society (Blog)


Three strategies for ensuring the safety and security of people defending their environment and human rights around the world.

The Moment for Participatory Democracy (Blog)


Three civic engagement models that can help bring the voices of everyday citizens into public life.

Higher Education for Refugees (Blog)


US universities must respond to the worldwide refugee crisis.

Impact Investing in Victorian England? The Case of Model Dwellings Companies (Blog)


What we can learn today from an early approach to improving social conditions through investment.

Three Questions That Transformed a Movement (Blog)


Achieving marriage equality in the United States took time, tough questions, and coordinated efforts across politics, strategy, and messaging.

From Scaling Impact to Impact at Scale (Blog)


As nonprofits, NGOs, and funders increasingly seek innovative ways to address the total need around critical issues, new challenges, questions, and opportunities arise.

It’s Time to Mobilize Around a New Approach to Educational Assessment (Blog)


How can we engage vested interests in a move toward the kinds of assessments we increasingly need to measure a breadth of skills, when maintaining the status quo is easier (and profitable)?

Human Rights Advocacy Under the Trump Administration (Blog)


Effective advocates may need to shift focus from political persuasion to public relations power.

Choosing Nurture, Not Nature, to Improve Financial Decision-Making in America (Blog)


Behavioral insights can inform low-cost, low-touch strategies for re-designing financial services that promote consumer well-being.

Systems Change in a Polarized Country


A growing number of US foundations are adopting practices based on systems change to achieve their goals in the current political environment.

Now Is the Time for Foundations to Invest for Mission and Impact (Blog)


The Mission Possible series is a call to action for philanthropy to fully embrace impact investing as an essential tool to drive meaningful social and environmental change.

The Rise and Fall of a Teal NGO (Blog)


Teal—an emerging organizational model centered on principles like self-management and wholeness—has great promise, but to leverage its potential, NGOs must understand its opportunities and challenges.

Bono Doesn’t Know—All of Us Are Still Learning (Blog)


Recent headline-grabbing comments aside, the impact investing field needs integrated data on impact and financial returns if it is to scale with integrity.

Measure Profit to People—All People (Blog)


Corporate profitability is too narrow a measure of a company’s financial impact.

Unleashing the Power of Endowments: The Next Great Challenge for Philanthropy (Blog)


Ford Foundation commits $1 billion to MRIs.

Solving the World’s Biggest Problems: Better Philanthropy Through Systems Change (Blog)


A growing number of philanthropists and nonprofits are embracing the principles of systems change as an effective way to solve the world’s biggest problems.

To Win Against False Information, We Must Play Offense (Blog)


What should strategic communication in the public and social change sectors look like in a time marked by extreme political polarization and false information? Science suggests the key may be playing offense, rather than defense.

How Progressive Nonprofits Can Navigate Conservative GOP Washington (Blog)


Ten practical strategies to open doors on Capitol Hill.

Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Returns, and Impact


How gender lens investing can contribute to economic prosperity and equal rights.

Development Malpractice In Ghana (Blog)


How stuff that doesn’t work can screw up stuff that does.

How Good Is Your Evidence? (Blog)


A new, and easier, scientific approach to determining the quality of evidence can help the social sector better assess—and therefore better address—social problems.

Want to Make America Prosperous Again? Bet on Nature, not Fossil Fuels (Blog)


Land restoration, clean energy, and sustainable agriculture offer better investment returns and more US jobs than oil, gas, and coal.

If Foundations Want to Tackle Inequality, Labor Must Be a Partner (Blog)


Philanthropists are waking up to inequality as an important issue in America, but if efforts to address it are to succeed, they must work more closely with unions.

Strengthening the Impact Investing Movement (Blog)


Segmenting the field to better align expectations of risk, returns, and impact; increasing the rate of adoption with important stakeholders; and stepping up work in the United States—a look at Omidyar Network’s priorities in advancing the movement.

Education is Changing—It’s Time Assessment Caught Up (Blog)


To prepare students for the job markets that will await them, let’s focus on the skills, not the scores.

Sustainability: A New Path to Corporate and NGO Collaborations (Blog)


The convergence of shifting CSR trends, untapped NGO value, and pressing development challenges holds tremendous potential for driving social impact and business innovation.

Rethinking the Business Case for Investing in Health (Blog)


Is ESG Missing an “H”?

Civic Engagement: Why Cultural Institutions Must Lead the Way (Blog)


Arts and culture organizations have the power to drive the cultural movement America needs to deliver democracy.

Increasing Impact: People and Place at the Center (Blog)


For impact investing to realize its true potential, we must change the mindset and narrative related to there being a “lack of pipeline” in underserved communities—rural and urban—to a perspective that people in communities create the environments in which outside investments can thrive.

It’s About Results at Scale, Not Collective Impact (Blog)


Improving outcomes at scale requires a paradigm shift in how we work.

An Overview of Free Innovation


New findings on the large scale and importance of innovation by consumers fundamentally change how we understand the innovation process.

The Princess and the Pain Point (Blog)


Four strategies for scale from a local mattress recycling effort that is going beyond waste reduction and expanding across the United States.