Category: Viewpoints

Reflections: Transforming the sector in Toronto

After the Data on Purpose / Do Good Data conference at Stanford, the Digital Civil Society Lab kicked off a yearlong series of convenings around the globe to learn from civil society leaders creating social impact in the digital age. Toronto was our first stop, where we partnered with Powered By Data, the Ontario Trillium […]

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Reflections: Data on Purpose / Do Good Data

On a rainy morning in February, 450 of us gathered on Stanford’s campus for the Data on Purpose / Do Good Data conference, hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. This year we combined two existing conferences – hence the […]

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The missing power of the beneficiary

Have you ever thought about the power you hold in your wallet? Consumers in a capitalist economy, taken collectively, change the world. They drive markets. They push entrepreneurs to innovate. They cause businesses to compete with one another to provide the best experience for customers. When they deliver value to consumers, they flourish. When they fail […]

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This year, give the gift of transparency

It’s that time of the year again. End of year appeals are going out. Annual reports are being drafted. And each of them is going to contain stories—lots and lots of stories. Stories about how powerful our programs are. Stories that show lives being changed. Stories that are meant to compel readers to open up their […]

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Expanding the social impact measurement toolkit

This year, I had the opportunity to participate in both the Impact Convergence (ImpCon) and American Evaluation Association (AEA) conferences, two innovative forums for individuals helping social institutions measure and improve their impact. The Impact Convergence conference focused on the impact measurement and impact investing community, while the AEA conference focused on the community of […]

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Does legal status matter?

Mark Zuckerberg’s choice to use the legal structure of an LLC for his philanthropic endeavors has been making headlines for the last several months. When he sold $95m worth of his shares in June the storm started again with Wired saying “He’s No Hero Yet” and The Chronicle of Philanthropy asking whether John D. Rockefeller […]

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Overhead is not the issue

I need to get this off my chest. I am sick and tired of hearing about overhead. I don’t even mean in the overhead-ratio police kind of way. I mean at all. It is an irrelevant metric. It is a complete and utter distraction from the measurements that really matter. I’ll go one step further. […]

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Better is Good Enough: Putting Imperfect Data to Good Use

Math is nice isn’t it? That feeling of getting the right answer. 1 + 1 = 2. There is no other answer. It’s so clear. Something is either correct or incorrect. It’s not left open to interpretation. Our first exposure to numbers is usually this kind of simple mathematics. We get used to this clarity […]

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When Algorithms Run the Government

The Impact Lab’s Andrew Means calls for transparency in algorithmic decision-making to ensure proper, equitable practice in service of the public good.

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The BRIDGE Project: Progress and the Path Ahead

I’m glad to be prompted into writing, as I think we’ve been remiss about keeping people posted about the progress we have been able to make on BRIDGE, as well as any evolution of our thinking about what BRIDGE could be. I’m hoping that in this and future posts we might address some of the […]

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