The Social Impact Exchange Blog

  • Geri Stengel, Ventureneer
    Posted: August 21, 2012

    Many corporations are obsessed with scale. It brings efficiencies and effectiveness that small- to mid-sized businesses can't provide. Only a few social ventures -- such as Habitat for Humanity, Teach for America, and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers -- have scaled. But scaling is becoming a mantra for some of those concerned about solving the world's problems in a resource-constrained environment.

    The concept is that more social good could be done if effective organizations scaled. In his book Scaling Your Social Venture: Becoming an Impact Entrepreneur, Paul N. Bloom from Duke University's Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship provides a roadmap for social ventures that want to scale.

  • Anne Sherman, Social Impact Exchange at Growth Philanthropy Network
    Posted: August 13, 2012

    In her recent blog post on PhilanTopic, Lisa Philp, VP for Strategic Philanthropy at the Foundation Center, talked about the invaluable service that the Foundation Registry i3 provided her in her previous role as philanthropic advisor to emerging philanthropists seeking to support meaningful education reform efforts. Lisa’s post is a great example of how ready access to high quality data eventually led to $5mm in new pooled funds, eventually leveraging $145mm in public funding. 

    At the Social Impact Exchange, we are making a similar bet on the potential of an “online marketplace” to stimulate giving to evidence-based initiatives that seek to scale their impact.  A central premise underlying our work is that successful nonprofits cannot access the type of growth capital required to help thousands or millions of people (as opposed to dozens or hundreds).  To be clear, we don’t think all nonprofits should be in the business of scaling, but we want to help those that should. 

  • Simon Jawitz, Social Impact Exchange at Growth Philanthropy Network
    Posted: August 3, 2012

    By all appearances it looks like we've taken the next big step in developing Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in the U.S. News broke Wednesday about two deals in Massachusetts and yesterday about one in New York City. In fact, regarding the latter announcement, I heard it at about 8:30 a.m. on my car radio. I think it's pretty exciting that this innovative mechanism for financing effective social services has made it into mainstream news radio and was reported during a brief 10-minute segment on WCBS 880.

    The Social Impact Exchange (the signature initiative of the Growth Philanthropy Network on whose board of directors I sit) has been tracking SIBs since people in the nonprofit sector first began talking about them several years ago. Our Market Development Working Group is devoted to supporting their development as one of several innovative strategies for enlisting private sector involvement to solve some of our most intractable social problems.

  • Brenda Liz Henry-Sanchez, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    Posted: July 10, 2012

    At the wee hours of Thursday, June 14th I was forced by not-so-fresh supermarket sushi (I know, I should have known better) to pull out of a panel discussion at the Social Impact Exchange conference in New York City. In its third year, the Social Impact Exchange’s annual conference brings together nonprofits, funders, advisors, intermediaries, researchers, and practitioners to highlight and discuss how we can best support the scaling and replication of effective programs, systems, and/or policies so the benefits are experienced by a broader segment of the population.

  • Sarika Bansal, Dowser.org
    Posted: July 2, 2012

    The recent Social Impact Exchange conference discussed one of the most difficult aspects of running a nonprofit organization: the decision of how, and when, to grow.  How does an organization decide to go from being a community-centered group to a national network?  How should organizations think about collaborating with others?  When does it make sense for nonprofits to engage with policymakers and try to reform the systems in which they operate?  When should an organization stay put?