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10 Great Social Innovation Reads: February

By Nell Edgington



February was another great month in the world of social innovation reading. As I mentioned last month, I’ve started a new monthly series on the Social Velocity blog highlighting my favorite 10 reads in the world of social innovation over the past month. You can read the January list here.

There are many more than 10 great reads out there, but these were the ones that really challenged me and got me thinking. I hope they do for you as well. As always, please add to the list in the comments. I’d love to hear what got you thinking this past month.

  1. Seedbeds for Social Innovation: The Echoing Green blog discusses a new Carnegie Mellon University report that details what it takes for a city to be a seedbed for social innovation.

  2. Nonprofits need to stop begging for scraps From the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Money and Mission blog, authored by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, comes a great response to the Stanford Social Innovation Review article a couple of years ago about the nonprofit starvation cycle. This post discusses what nonprofits can do to break out of the cycle.

  3. A 10 Year Lesson in How Not To Spend $200 Million The Northwest Area Foundation in Minnesota has declared it’s ten year philanthropic experiment a failure. An interesting study in the less talked about side of innovation (failure) and transparency.

  4. Social Impact Bond Learning Group The Nonprofit Finance Fund has launched a learning and discussion group to explore the feasibility of social impact bonds (government bond funding for social impact organizations tied to outcomes) in the US. The UK has already experimented with similar kinds of bonds. If the US introduced these kinds of bonds it could be a revolutionary new tool for funding social innovation.

  5. Wired and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt A fascinating look from the New York Times into the structure and tactics of the small group of young innovators who brought Egypt’s ruling dictator to his knees. A real study in social innovation.

  6. To Collaborate or Compete? From New Philanthropy Capital comes a report studying when it makes sense for nonprofits to collaborate and when to compete. Such a framework could be a really helpful way to tackle to this burning question.

  7. Q&A With Middle East Entrepreneur Habib Haddad And another view of what happened in Egypt, a fascinating interview with a young entrepreneur who discusses the role of social media in the uprising.

  8. Stop Giving Donors What You Think They Want: Dan Pallotta challenges nonprofits to treat donors like adults and be upfront and honest with them.

  9. Rethinking the State of the Sector: The Deep Social Impact blog encourages the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to focus on assets instead of challenges.

  10. Governmental “Crowding Out” in Philanthropy: Sean Stannard-Stockton argues that because of the arcane way nonprofit accounting is done, money from government sources might actually cripple the financial sustainability of a nonprofit.

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About the Author: Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (www.socialvelocity.net), a management consulting firm leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits grow their programs, bring more money in the door, and use resources more effectively. For more information, check out Social Velocity consulting services and clients.


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