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Social Entrepreneurship

The nonprofit sector is evolving. Nonprofit institutions may become social enterprises, developing hybrid business models with earned-income streams or adopt best practices from business management literature. Events from the Center for Social Innovation highlight the work of social entrepreneurs.

Stanford multidisciplinary approach benefits: Video File, (3:51 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Students Take On Extreme Affordability

Students in Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability attack issues facing farmers around the world.

Larger Version Slideshow: Extreme Affordability


Recent Conferences and Speakers

Funding Social Enterprises
As part of Entrepreneurship Week at Stanford, CSI Director Kriss Deiglmeier moderated a lively discussion on ways of funding social enterprises. Panelists included: Jenny Shilling Stein of the Draper Richards Foundation, Jessica Jackley Flannery of, Amy Clark of Ashoka, and Suzanne McKechnie Klahr of BUILD. (February 2008)

It’s Often Smart to Make the First Move in a Negotiation

Making the first offer in a negotiation can have the power of setting a starting point, Professor Margaret Neale advised a conference of nonprofit managers. She advises being aggressive—“just this side of crazy.”

A Brand Is a Promise to a Customer

Nonprofits may not compete as fiercely as for-profit businesses, but they must find ways to make their brand stand out and evoke emotions from potential supporters.

Innovation Summit: When Baby Boomers Lead Social Innovation

When most Americans think of retirement, they see golf courses, sandy beaches, and cruise ships. But another vision of retirement is gaining traction. That vision—"Americans leading with experience"—was the focus of the 2006 Purpose Prize and Innovation Summit, cosponsored by San Francisco-based Civic Ventures and the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Redefining Microfinance in the Internet Era: Jessica Flannery

Host Sheela Sethuraman interviews Jessica Jackley Flannery, GSB student and cofounder of Kiva. Based in Silicon Valley, Kiva is an innovative social enterprise that uses the Internet to connect lenders with small businesses around the world. Flannery talks about starting the organization and reflects on some of the reasons for its rapid growth and success. audio icon Listen Now

Nonprofit Leadership Deficit: Tom Tierny, The Bridgespan Group

One of the biggest challenges nonprofits face is hiring and holding on to talented executive leaders. As tough as this challenge is today, it's only going to get worse in the years ahead. Bridgespan Group, a Boston-based consultancy, has spent a good deal of time studying this problem. Your co-host Eric Nee interviews Thomas Tierney, the cofounder and chairman of Bridgespan, about what he has learned about the leadership deficit and what nonprofits can do to solve the problem. From the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford. audio icon Listen Now

Microfinance: Controversies and Promisses – Alex Counts, Grameen Foundation

Microfinance is bringing the world's poor the kind of service that used to be reserved for bank customers in developed countries. Drawing on the work and philosophy of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Foundation President and CEO Alex Counts talks about microfinance's social and financial impact with an audience of MBA students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. From the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford. audio icon Listen Now

From the September 2006 Nonprofit Institute convened by Stanford Social Innovation Review

Gain Corporate Support For Your Cause: Nancy Lee, Social Marketing Services

Nonprofits should approach corporations as they would clients and offer tailored marketing operations that serve their needs. That's the advice Nancy Lee, president of the consulting firm Social Marketing Services, delivers to the nonprofit executives gathered at the September 2006 Nonprofit Institute. Lee shares the lessons of 20 years of experience building nonprofit-corporate partnerships that both serve corporations' objectives and enhance nonprofits' mission delivery. audio icon Listen Now

Nonprofit governance: William Ryan, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University

In reaction to nonprofit boards' rampant and growing disengagement, William Ryan, a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations, suggests a new framework that will enhance efficiency in nonprofit governance. Informed by theories that have transformed the practice of organizational leadership, the Governance as Leadership approach sheds new light on the traditional fiduciary and strategic work of the board and introduces a critical third dimension of effective trusteeship: generative governance. audio icon Listen Now

Evidence-based Management: Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior

For-profit and nonprofit organizations alike should make decisions based on facts as well as the careful evaluation of their specific situation. The idea isn't new or original. Yet surprisingly Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer's research shows that few organizations actually do it, and those that do trump the competition. At the 2006 Nonprofit Institute, Pfeffer demonstrates the benefits of evidence-based icon Listen Now

Nonprofit Accountability Practices: Burden or Benefit?

Are foundations' grantmaking and reporting processes aligned with their strategies? Funders rely on grantee reporting to measure the impact of their investments, but improving program effectiveness is challenging. New data from a Stanford Business School study details nonprofit accountability practices and the costs of conflicting demands. How can foundations improve their accountability requirements for greater social impact? Denise Gammal, research director at the Stanford Center for Social Innovation; Karen McNeil-Miller, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; and Eric Schwarz, president and CEO of Citizen Schools debate ways in which evaluation requirements may help or hinder mission delivery. audio icon Listen Now

Winners Don’t Take All: Prof. Margaret Neale

Negotiation is ubiquitous in our professional as well as personal lives yet very few people are skilled at creating value or expanding the pie in negotiation settings. Too often we focus on getting what we want, aim at only winning, leave resources on the table, or even unknowingly walk away with a bad deal. Margaret Neale, professor of organizations and dispute resolution explores the psychological barriers to successful negotiations and suggests a disciplined process for a rewarding negotiation experience. audio icon Listen Now

Reducing Global Poverty Through Business and Social Entrepreneurship
The Acumen Fund, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and Techno Serve each help entrepreneurs create, grow, and sustain business and/or social ventures. Leaders of these organizations describe how they are applying business disciplines to improve livelihoods in many different nations.
Video File, (1:18 hour, RealPlayer® format)

Social Entrepreneurs Enjoy More Opportunities
Socially minded entrepreneurship will not wane but rather will offer more and more opportunities for business-trained professionals well into the future, speakers with experience in the field told a Stanford Business School audience. Details

Ecotourism May Be Travel Field's Wave of the Future
Ecotourism projects that give local residents control over operations in their areas and that protect places popular with tourists from degradation are the fastest growing part of the travel industry today, totaling $77 billion in the U.S. market alone, experts told the Net Impact conference at Stanford Business School. Details

When Disaster Strikes, United Chain Efforts Can Enhance Relief Work
With the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina fresh on everyone's mind, members of humanitarian relief organizations, along with corporate and academic supply chain management experts, recently gathered at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to exchange ideas and best practices aimed at improving the effectiveness of major international disaster efforts. Details

Agenda and PowerPoint presentations

Adele Martz, General Motors: Business Continuity Planning Improving GM's Risk Profile
Video File, (49:21 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Gail Neudorf, CARE Canada: Disaster Relief Challenges
Video File, (40:20 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Ludo Oelrich, "Moving the World," A Partnership Between TNT and World Food Program: A Public-Private Partnership That Works
Video File, (39:15 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Disaster relief podcasts, from IT Conversations

For Nonprofits, Local Buy-In Creates Sustainable Value
Development initiatives that rely heavily on partnerships with local communities are far more likely to create sustainable value, winners of the Fast Company Social Capitalist Award agreed during a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation. Details
Video File, Panel Discussion, (28:53 minutes, RealPlayer® format)
Video File, Q&A session, (18:38 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

The Emerging Leadership Crisis in the Nonprofit Sector
Tom Tierney, chairman of Bridgespan and the former worldwide managing director of Bain & Company, suggests that nonprofit organizations are beginning to experience an acute shortage of management talent—a situation that will dramatically worsen as the sector expands.
Video File, (53:16 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

How Nonprofits Get the Most Out of Their Intangible Assets: Boards, Donors and Volunteers
While surveys show that 80% of Americans believe volunteerism is a good thing, only 20% actually volunteer on a regular basis. Panelists shared secrets for securing donations, volunteer hours, and dedicated board members. Panel members included: Jay Backstrand, founder and president of VolunteerMatch, Nicola McIntyre, vice president, development and communications, Global Fund for Women; Vilma Pallette, volunteer expert, consultant; Dale Miller, moderator, Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior, codirector of the Center for Social Innovation.
Video File, Panel Discussion, (54:52 minutes, RealPlayer® format)
Video File, Question & Answer Session, (28:17 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Bridging The Cultural Gap: Business and Nonprofits
Cosponsored by the Foundation Incubator and Skoll Community Fund, this workshop addressed trends in philanthropic partnerships and the differences between business and nonprofit cultures.
Video File, (45:15 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Managing Nonprofits Requires Mainstream Business Skills
Strategy is key to success for nonprofit organizations says the head of the Nature Conservancy. Steve McCormick, a graduate of the School's Stanford Executive Program, was one of the speakers at the launch of the new Stanford Social Innovation Review. Details

Nonprofit Consulting Skills
Seth Barad, principal, the Bridgespan Group, and Maisie O'Flanagan, associate principal, McKinsey & Company, spoke to GSB students and alumni about how to effectively apply private sector skills to help nonprofit organizations at a workshop presented by the Alumni Consulting Team and Public Management Program.
Video File, (45:21 minutes, RealPlayer® format)

Presentation slides

Research Links

Scrooge May Really Want to Help
Letting people pretend they are supporting worthy causes because there is something in it for them may increase their participation. Researchers say nonprofit organizations need to recognize the wide range of motives behind donations of both money and time. Details

Location Makes a Difference for Nonprofit Support, Says New Study
Nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area are better-funded and spend more per capita compared to the rest of California and the nation, according to an important new study released by the Center for Social Innovation. Details