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10 Great Social Innovation Reads: November

By Nell Edgington

November was another great month in the world of social innovation. Here is my pick of the top 10 posts, articles, graphics, and discussions. As always, please add your favorites from the month to the comments. And if you want to see a longer list of what catches my eye, follow me on Twitter @nedgington. You can also read past months’ 10 Great Reads lists here.

  1. Some very interesting reports and predictions on how nonprofits and philanthropy are changing. First, the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation predicts a pretty exciting future for philanthropy. And Blackbaud released a report on what 35 experts think it will take to grow philanthropic giving in the US. And finally the 2011 Nonprofit Almanac is out. The annual report shows the nonprofit sector growing and that giving is back to 2000 levels

  2. DC Central Kitchen founder and nonprofit sector advocate Robert Egger launched a new group called CForward to help nonprofits fight for their rightful place at the political table.

  3. The Washington Post gets into the social innovation business by launching a new “On Giving” section to discuss¬†philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, socially responsible business and much more.

  4. The Nonprofit Finance Fund offers a great worksheet to assess a nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses in order to link their financial health to their impact. Love it!

  5. HubSpot offers a great infographic on pull vs. push marketing, but I’d argue it applies to fundraising as well.

  6. The Alliance for Global Good is launching a $10 million fund to promote innovation in philanthropy. The new fund will “draw attention to charities that have found new approaches to tough problems and provide money to help them expand their work.”

  7. On the Unsectored blog Jeff Raderstrong encourages us to start asking the right questions about the charitable deduction currently the focus of so much debate.

  8. Always one to tell it like it is, Mario Morino from Venture Philanthropy Partners offers 6 Wrenching Questions Every Board Member Must Answer.

  9. Jim Kucher argues on his blog that there is a bipolar disorder in social entrepreneurship, between the competing, and sometimes conflicting, social and business perspectives.

  10. Tom Tierney, chairman of Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consultancy, has written a paper, “The Donor-Grantee Trap, about the dangers of the nonprofit starvation cycle. In a recent interview about it, he argues “Nonprofits should be clear about their definition of success, articulate their strategy for achieving success and be up front about what that costs. That includes understanding the organization’s true overhead costs and making a case for funding good overhead.” Amen to that!

Photo Credit: Sim Van Gyseghem

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About the Author: Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (, 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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5 Comments to 10 Great Social Innovation Reads: November

December 2, 2011

I hadn’t seen an few of these. Thanks for the roundup!

Nell Edgington
December 2, 2011

You’re welcome!

[…] 10 Great Social Innovation Reads: November Social Velocity picks the 10 best reads in nonprofits, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship in November. Source: […]

December 5, 2011

Dear Nell:
So interesting. I am at a stage in my life where I know my mission is to be part of an organization who puts their best foot forward to help needy people, whether it fund-raising or on a one to one basis. My life has changed dramatically in the past few years. I lost my dear husband suddenly at 59 years old. My job for many years is Sales, Marketing and Catering Sales. I realize I do help people, but not in the way I feel makes a difference. Am not sure where to turn. My personality, warmth and true understanding of anguishes people experience in every day life has made me realize through much soul-searching, I can accomplish unimaginable feats. I feel it in my heart. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Warmly, Stella

Nell Edgington
December 5, 2011

Stella, I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. However, it sounds like it has provided you an opportunity to make a career change into the social sector, which is exciting. I would encourage you to start by volunteering at some local nonprofits to get a sense for the sector and to find out where your skills can be put to best use. You also might read up via Linked In and some social innovation blogs and other resources (check out about what’s going on in the social sector and to discover out where your interests may lie. Good luck!

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