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How Nonprofits Can Find Data-driven Success

Good ideas and intentions are not enough to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Many early-stage organizations fail because they lack the tools they need to grow—especially when it comes to collecting data and measuring impact. Data is essential for nonprofit scaling because it not only attracts funders but also allows organizations to prove and improve on their mission. In this recording from our 2018 Data on Purpose conference, Kathleen Kelly Janus, a social entrepreneur, Stanford...


Data Privacy and Security: From Mandate to Mission

Social sector organizations are increasingly under pressure to better protect the privacy and security of their data. How should they examine their data governance practices to align with the demands of governments, their constituents, and their mission? At our 2018 Data on Purpose conference, Lucy Bernholz, a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and the director of the Digital Civil Society Lab explored this topic with Alix Dunn, executive director...


Debating the Role of Philanthropy in Democracy

Given the largely unaccountable position of power held by philanthropists, what role should they play in democratic societies? In this recording from the 2017 Philanthropy Innovation Summit, hosted by Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Rob Reich, a Marc and Laura Andreessen faculty co-director of Stanford PACS, facilitates a conversation with Reed Hastings, cofounder and CEO of Netflix, and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. They discuss their differing...


Reigniting Leaders’ Passion to Advance Equity

Nonprofit leaders can’t continue to do the same things and expect different results in their work to help move the United States toward greater equity. In this podcast from our 2017 Nonprofit Management Institute, PolicyLink President Michael McAfee (@mikemcafee06) shares his perspective on being both angry and excited about the changes America needs to make—and using both of those emotions in a productive way. Before taking the helm of PolicyLink, McAfee was the inaugural director of the...


Leading Through Turbulent Times

Since its founding in 1913, the ADL has fought against the defamation of Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. That mission has kept Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) very busy over the past two years. His tenure has coincided with the 2016 US election, a rise in hate crimes and hate groups, and an increase in cyber-hate. In this podcast from our 2017 Nonprofit Management Institute, SSIR Senior Editor David Johnson (@contrarianp) interviews Greenblatt about...


Shifting Philanthropy to a Justice-Minded Approach

Youth, families, and residents are the leaders of their own destinies, and yet public institutions oftentimes don’t reflect the demographics of their communities and are not guided by strategies defined community members. In this podcast from our 2017 Nonprofit Management Institute, Paola Peacock Friedrich, a consultant with Achieve Mission, interviews Dorian Burton (@Dorian_Burton), assistant executive director and chief program officer at the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, and...


Bridging the Climate Change Investment Gap

Our Winter 2018 cover story, “The Investment Gap that Threatens the Planet,” takes a detailed look at investments in discovering and developing new solutions to address climate change. It finds that such investments are woefully low and have even been falling in recent years. The article concludes that philanthropists are particularly well-suited to bridging this investment gap in the market. On this related podcast, David Johnson (@contrarianp), senior editor of Stanford Social Innovation...


Learning How to Listen to Beneficiaries

In this session, Valerie Threlfall discusses the Fund for Shared Insight‘s largest grant program, Listen for Good, which provides grants and technical assistance to dozens of nonprofits to build high quality feedback loops with those they serve. Two Listen for Good grantees, Krystle Onibukon of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula and Brad Dudding of the Center for Employment Opportunities, also talk about their experience with the...


Unlocking Data and Unleashing Its Potential

Data has the potential to help fuel social change across the world, yet many relevant datasets remain locked away and siloed across government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations. What kind of collaboration does it take to make this data available to different actors working to create change? In a series of TED-style talks, Melinda Rolfs of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, John Wilbanks of Sage Bionetworks, Greg Bloom of Civic Hall Labs and Open Referral, and ST Mayer of Code...


Prediction vs. Bias in Data: A Debate

This panel from our Do Good Data | Data on Purpose conference features conference co-hosts Lucy Bernholz of Stanford PACS and Andrew Means of Uptake, along with Stanford education professor Candace Thille, and Kristian Lum, lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. The discussion focuses on the advantages and drawbacks of using data to analyze social trends in areas including higher education and criminal justice. View the slides from this presentation...


Software for Good: Empowering the Social Sector Data Revolution

Leading for-profit companies thrive by embracing data insights to drive increased efficiency, effectiveness, and scale. They view information and analytics as core strategic assets in running a modern business. In this talk from our 2017 Do Good Data | Data on Purpose conference, Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO of the tech nonprofit Benetech, argues that the social sector must follow these companies’ lead. Drawing from his 2016 SSIR article “Using Data for Action and for Impact,”...


Get Out of Your Own Way: Challenging Your Mindsets and Behaviors

Building successful networks isn’t just about pairing organizations with similar missions. It’s also about human relationships. In this talk from our 2016 Nonprofit Management Institute, conservationist Steve McCormick looks at several common barriers to developing strong relationships—and ways to overcome them. Steve McCormick is cofounder and CEO of The Earth Genome, a startup venture to create the first global, open-source information platform on ecosystem services and natural capital....


There Is No Geography to Intelligence and Passion

In this podcast, Ernesto Sirolli, founder of the Sirolli Institute, considers how to decentralize, democratize, and empower local communities. Sirolli has been working in the field of local economic development since 1971 and has developed a philosophy and practice that allows communities to manage their own social and economic growth. Based on his experience, Sirolli argues that NGOs must incorporate local know-how and leadership into their operation, and that a key to successful...


Building a Culture of Opportunity Within Disadvantaged Communities

In his talk from SSIR‘s 2016 Nonprofit Management Institute, Derrick Braziel looks at how connecting people with the right resources and training, and building a culture of opportunity from within communities, can enable unlikely entrepreneurs, revitalize neighborhoods, and break the cycle of poverty. Urban communities across America are experiencing an unprecedented renaissance. But this boom threatens to displace long-time residents, who are typically lower income and people of color....


Cultivating a Network Leader Mindset

In this podcast, Jane Wei-Skillern, an adjunct associate professor at the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley, identifies four counterintuitive principles that are essential to effective collaboration: Based on 15 years of research on a range of successful networks, Wei-Skillern uses detailed case studies to illustrate these principles and offers insights for how nonprofit leaders can ensure their collaborations can have an impact that is dramatically greater than...


Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio: Successful Tech Projects and Social Networks in the Trump Era

Smita Vadakekalam of Heller Consulting and Sandy Reinardy of the University of Wisconsin Foundation discuss ways to avoid some all-too-common pitfalls of nonprofit technology. And Amy Sample Ward of the Nonprofit Technology Network suggests strategies to organize for success in a new political environment.


Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio: Digital Inclusion and Creating an Annual Grants Plan

How can we reach people who don’t have home access to the internet? In this podcast, part of a partnership with Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio, three women who have each made digital inclusion a priority share their thoughts: Kami Griffiths of the Community Technology Network, Karen Lincoln of The Stride Center, and Alicia Orozco of the Chicana/Latina Foundation. Martignetti also talks with Diane Leonard, president and owner of DH Leonard Consulting, about creating an annual grants plan....


Lean Experimentation for the Social Sector: Build Smart to Learn Fast

How do you know if your idea will work, without burning through all your time and money? To solve this problem, many nonprofits are turning to the “lean startup” approach, which emphasizes flexibility, pragmatism, and experimentation. The method, pioneered by entrepreneurs such as Steve Blank, allows organizations to learn as quickly as they can about what works, so that they can build and scale successful programs while avoiding huge up-front investments that might lead in the wrong...


Thriving in an Age of Volatility

In a time of profound and sustained disruption and volatility, organizations need greater agility, innovation, and creativity than ever before. In this talk from our 2015 Nonprofit Management Institute, Andrew Zolli provides a big-picture view of critical trends and forces of change that will shape the decade to come. He discusses the biases that limit our understanding and explores new ways that organizations can create more resilient organizational strategies and cultures. Zolli is the...


The Evolving Role of Social Innovation

How can the social sector develop to meet new and ongoing challenges in the 21st century? And how can individual social entrepreneurs and organizations find their place within this changing environment? In the concluding session of our Frontiers of Social Innovation forum, Zia Khan, vice president for initiatives and strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, discusses questions such as these with Johanna Mair, academic editor at SSIR and professor of management, strategy, and leadership at the...


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