Through an agreement with the Stanford Social Innovation Review, PND is pleased to be able to offer a series of articles and profiles related to the "business" of improving society.

The Power of Strategic Mission Investing

Mark Kramer, Sarah Cooch December 12, 2007

A growing number of foundations are offering low-interest loans, buying into green business ventures, and investing in other asset classes to advance their missions. Yet most mission investing remains haphazard and inconsequential. To bring about real change, foundations need to take a fundamentally different approach, making strategic mission investments that complement their grantmaking and leverage market forces....

Micro-Franchise Against Malaria

Jessica Flannery October 18, 2007

Msimbi is 11 years old. She is one of seven children in her family, and she lives in rural Kenya. Lately, Msimbi gets tired earlier than usual, and the sun feels hotter than usual. Her head, her limbs, and her back ache. She feels weak....

Creating High-Impact Nonprofits

Heather McLeod Grant, Leslie R. Crutchfield September 19, 2007

In fewer than two decades, Teach for America has gone from a struggling start-up to a powerful force for education reform in the United States. Launched in 1989 by college senior Wendy Kopp on a shoestring budget in a borrowed office, the organization now attracts many of the country's best and brightest college graduates, who spend two years teaching in America's neediest public schools in exchange for a modest salary. In the last decade alone, Teach for America has more than quintupled in size, growing its budget from $10 million to $70 million and its number of teachers from 500 to 4,400. And it aims to double in size again in the next few years....

Pyrrhic Fundraising: Nonprofits Pay Dearly for Their Donations

Rosaline Juan August 8, 2007

It takes money to make money, the saying goes. But nonprofits actually lose money — at least in the short term — when they try to raise funds through direct marketing, find the coauthors of a recent paper in the Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing (vol. 16, no. 1/2). The researchers show that over a one-year period, U.K. nonprofits earned just 39 cents in donations for each $1 they spent on direct mail. Altogether, fundraising through direct marketing, which includes direct mail, television and print advertisements, and face-to-face solicitation, generated just 44 cents for every $1 invested....

Partners for the Planet

David Yarnold July 11, 2007

You know the world is changing when the largest corporate buy-out in history hinges on an environmental commitment. That's what happened in February when two top private equity firms enlisted the help of Environmental Defense, a nonprofit that finds practical solutions to environmental problems, to acquire TXU Corp., the largest utility in Texas, for $45 billion....

Microfinance Misses Its Mark

Aneel Karnani June 15, 2007

Microcredit is the newest silver bullet for alleviating poverty. Wealthy philanthropists such as financier George Soros and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar are pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to the microcredit movement. Global commercial banks, such as Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, are establishing microfinance funds. Even people with just a few dollars to spare are going to microcredit Web sites and, with a click of the mouse, lending money to rice farmers in Ecuador and auto mechanics in Togo....

Profiting From Failure: What Nonprofits and Donors Can Learn From the Closing of a Venture Philanthropy Firm

Paul Shoemaker May 16, 2007

I remember that breakfast at Ella's restaurant in San Francisco back in the spring of 2003. I had flown down from Seattle to meet with three cofounders and two staff members of Social Venture Partners Bay Area (SVP Bay Area), a venture philanthropy nonprofit. SVP Bay Area was struggling after its fast and successful start in 2000. As executive director of SVP Seattle and founding president of Social Venture Partners International (of which SVP Bay Area was an affiliate), I was there to help the organization address its stagnating donor pool and ebbing morale....

How Nonprofits Get Really Big

Gail Fine, William Foster April 26, 2007

Since 1970, more than 200,000 nonprofits have opened in the U.S., but only 144 of them have reached $50 million in annual revenue. How did they get there? Not, as conventional wisdom would recommend, by going after diverse sources of funding....

15 Minutes with Victoria Hale

Eric Nee March 20, 2007

In an interview, Hale, president of the Institute for OneWorld Health, discusses what role the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plays in her organization, why for-profit drug companies are knocking at her door, and why her optimism about the chances of saving millions of lives every year is growing....

The People's IPO

Anne Stuhldreher February 22, 2007

In 2006 the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation launched an initial public offering to build a shopping center in a struggling neighborhood. Creating a new kind of IPO wasn't easy, but nonprofits and foundations across the country are interested....

Capitalizing on Convergence

Enrique Ogliastri, Ezequiel Reficco, James E. Austin, Roberto Guti?rrez February 1, 2007

Nonprofits and businesses are converging — in the value they create, the stakeholders they manage, the organizations they form, and the financial instruments they use. The era of convergence is upon us. Do you know how to take advantage of it?