Searching for the Right Resource

Welcome to the CSEF Resource Index

There are a growing number of publications, organizations, and initiatives dedicated to advancing and sharing knowledge related to social entrepreneurship. Many of them have extensive resource lists of their own. Rather than replicate these efforts or attempt to capture them all, we have identified several major topics of interest and highlight some of the most relevant resources for each.

We will attempt to add new categories and update existing ones on a regular basis. Before delving into the specifics, we list several other initiatives that develop and disseminate practical social sector knowledge that you may want to access directly.

The Bridgespan Group: A Bain-affiliated nonprofit consulting firm, The Bridgespan Group serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. In an effort to extend impact beyond their direct clients, Bridgespan is dedicated to sharing what they learn with the broader nonprofit community, to help other organizations pursue their own missions more effectively.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy: The Center for Effective Philanthropy is a nonprofit research center focused on creating comparative data and insight to enable higher performing foundations. Its mission is to provide management and governance tools to define, assess, and improve overall foundation performance. Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social entrepreneurship. Its mission is to provide inspiration, resources, and opportunities for those interested in social change throughout the world.

The McKinsey Quarterly: A publication of global consulting firm McKinsey & Co., the McKinsey Quarterly is a print and online publication that draws on the experiences and expertise of the firm to produce articles that aim to offer new ways of thinking about management in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Access to some articles require membership.

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Published by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Business School, the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s mission is to share substantive insights and practical experiences that will help those who do the important work of improving society do it even better. Subscription required.

Social Entrepreneurship – General


• “The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship,” by J. Gregory Dees, 1998.

• “Enterprising Nonprofits,” by J. Gregory Dees, Harvard Business Review, January 1998.

• Dees, Emerson and Economy edited two books designed to help nonprofit leaders develop more entrepreneurial approaches to achieving their missions by adapting many of the concepts and tools of business:

Enterprising Nonprofits: A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneurs, edited by J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson, and Peter Economy, Wiley 2001.

Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit, Edited by Dees, Emerson, and Economy, Wiley 2002.

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and The Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein, Oxford 2004.

• "Social Entrepreneurship and Social Transformation: An Exploratory Study," by Sarah H. Alvord, L. David Brown, & Christine W. Letts, The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Working Paper #15, November 2002

Organizations and Initiatives:

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public: Ashoka’s mission is to develop the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world. Ashoka has invested in more than 1,400 Ashoka Fellows in 48 countries.

Blended Value Map: Value is what gets created when investors invest and organizations act to pursue their mission. Traditionally, we have thought of value as being either economic (and created by for-profit companies) or social (and created by nonprofit or non-governmental organizations). Jed Emerson’s Blended Value Proposition states that all organizations, whether for-profit or not, create value that consists of economic, social and environmental value components—and that investors (whether market-rate, charitable or some mix of the two) simultaneously generate all three forms of value through providing capital to organizations. Thus, the outcome of all this activity is value creation and that value is itself non-divisible and, therefore, a blend of these three elements.

Draper-Richards Foundation: Provides funding and business mentoring to social entrepreneurs as they begin their nonprofit organizations.

Echoing Green: Echoing Green provides first-stage funding and support to visionary leaders with bold ideas for social change. Through a two-year fellowship program, Echoing Green helps passionate social entrepreneurs develop new solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems.

Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards: Recognizes entrepreneurial organizations that are using the disciplines of the corporate world to tackle daunting social problems.

The Manhattan Institute: The Manhattan Institute Award for Social Entrepreneurship honors non-profit leaders who have found innovative, private solutions for America’s most pressing social problems.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship: Supports social entrepreneurs around the world.

• The Skoll Foundation: Provides support for social entrepreneurs, researchers, and efforts to build the capacity and infrastructure of the social sector. Also maintains the online community SocialEdge and a comprehensive list of social sector and technology resources related to social entrepreneurship.

Youth Venture: Encourages teens to start and lead their own organizations for the betterment of their communities

Earned Income Strategies


• “Putting Nonprofit Business Ventures in Perspective,” by J. Gregory Dees, Chapter One in Generating and Sustaining Nonprofit Earned Income: A Guide to Successful Enterprise Strategies, Edited by Oster, Massarsky, and Beinhacker, Wiley 2004.

• “Developing Viable Earned Income Strategies,” by Beth Battle Anderson, J. Gregory Dees, and Jed Emerson, Chapter Nine in Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit, Edited by Dees, Emerson, and Economy, Wiley 2002.

• “Charities Doing Commercial Ventures: Societal and Organizational Implications,” by Brenda Zimmerman and Raymond Dart, Ontario: Trillium Foundation, 1998.

New Social Entrepreneurs: The Success, Challenge, and Lessons of Non-Profit Enterprise Creation, by Jed Emerson and Fay Twersky, Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, 1996.

Managing the Double Bottom Line: A Business Planning Reference Guide for Social Enterprises, by Sutia Kim Alter, Pact Publications, Washington DC, 2000.

• Social Entrepreneurship: The Art of Mission-Based Venture Development, by Peter C. Brinkerhoff, Wiley 2000.

Social Enterprise Typology, by Kim Alter, 2005.

Venture Forth! The Essential Guide to Starting a Moneymaking Business in Your Nonprofit Organization, by Rolfe Larson, Wilder Publishing Center, 2002.

Organizations and Initiatives:

Social Enterprise Alliance: A membership organization for nonprofits and funders seeking to advance earned income strategies. Offers extensive resources, activities, and events, including the npEnterprise Forum, a very active public listserv, and the largest annual gathering of practitioners, grantmakers, and technical assistance providers dedicated to this topic.

Community Wealth Ventures: A consulting firm that helps nonprofits generate revenues through business ventures and corporate partnerships.

NESsT: An international nonprofit, NGO that supports the development of social enterprises in emerging democracies worldwide.

Yale-Goldman Sachs Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures: provides educational and financial support for nonprofit enterprise, primarily through its National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations and Online Resource Center.

The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs: Offers seminars, workshops and consulting services for nonprofits seeking to develop earned income business ventures.

For-Profit Social Ventures


• “For-Profit Social Ventures,” by J. Gregory Dees and Beth Battle Anderson, International Journal for Entrepreneurship Education, 2004. Read abstract.

RISE CAPITAL MARKET REPORT: The Double Bottom Line Private Equity Landscape in 2002/2003, produced by the Research Initiative in Social Entrepreneurship (RISE), Columbia Business School, 2003.

• “The Hard Numbers on Social Investments,” by Manda Salls, HBS Working Knowledge, November 10, 2003.

Organizations and Initiatives:

Community Development Venture Capital Association (CDVCA)
Investor’s Circle
Pacific Community Ventures
Social Venture Network

Venture/High-Engagement Philanthropy


• “Virtuous Capital: What Foundations Can Learn from Venture Capitalists,” by Christine W. Letts, William Ryan, and Allen Grossman, Harvard Business Review, March-April 1997.

• “If Pigs Had Wings: The Appeals and Limits of Venture Philanthropy” by Bruce Sievers, Address to the Waldemar A. Nielsen Issues in Philanthropy Seminar, Georgetown University, November 16, 2001.

• Venture Philanthropy Partners and Community Wealth Ventures have produced a series of reports surveying the field of venture philanthropy and high-engagement grantmaking. These reports include articles from thought leaders as well as The following reports are available for download at

Venture Philanthropy 2000: Landscape and Expectations
Venture Philanthropy 2001: The Changing Landscape
Venture Philanthropy 2002: Advancing Nonprofit Performance Through High-Engagement Grantmaking
High-Engagement Philanthropy: A Bridge to a More Effective Social Sector

• Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) has written extensively on the topic of venture philanthropy. In particular, the REDF Box Set - Social Purpose Enterprises and Venture Philanthropy in the New Millennium (1999) offers perspectives from both practitioners and investors as well as profiles of practitioners.

A Case Study in Venture Building: NewSchools Venture Fund’s Work
With New Leaders for New Schools
, New Schools Venture Fund, September 2004

Organizations and Initiatives:

The 2002 Venture Philanthropy Partners/Community Wealth Ventures report contains a fairly comprehensive list of venture philanthropy organizations and initiatives.

Performance Measurement/Impact Assessment

Measuring Innovation: Evaluation in the Field of Social Entrepreneurship, Mark R. Kramer, Foundation Strategy Group, April 2005.

• Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) produced the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Collection in 2000. This set of publications captures REDF's efforts to calculate the SROI within its portfolio of social purpose enterprises. In 2002, REDF published An Information OASIS, which walks through the process of developing a comprehensive, customized client information and tracking system known as OASIS (Ongoing Assessment of Social ImpactS).

• “Guidelines for Social Return on Investment,” by Alison Lingane and Sara Olsen, California Management Review, Spring 2004, vol. 46, no. 3. Download excerpts from the full article.

• “Measuring what matters in nonprofits,” by John Sawhill and David Williamson, The McKinsey Quarterly, 2001 Number 2.

• "Strategic Performance Measurement and Management in Nonprofit Organizations," by Robert Kaplan, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Spring 2001.

• “Performance Information That Really Performs,” by Fay Twersky and Jill Blair, Chapter Eight in Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit, Edited by Dees, Emerson, and Economy, Wiley 2002.

• “Social Impact Assessment: A Discussion Among Grantmakers,” The Rockefeller and Goldman Sachs Foundations hosted a conversation among grantmakers and investors on the topic of Social Impact Assessment in March 2003. The report includes case studies from New Profit, Inc., the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

Double Bottom Line Project Report: Assessing Social Impact in Double Bottom Line Ventures. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Double Bottom Line Project produced the first catalog of methods that for-profit and nonprofit social ventures and enterprises are using to assess the social impact of their activities. March 2004.

Organizations and Initiatives:

The Balanced Scorecard Institute
The Research Initiative on Social Enterprise (RISE)

Business Planning/Business Plan Competitions:

• “An Introduction to Business Planning for Nonprofits,” by Zoe Brookes, The Bridgespan Group, April 2002. Includes two sample business plans available for download.

• “Business Planning for Social Enterprises” by Sutia Kim Alter, The Grantsmanship Center.

Global Social Venture Competition: An international business plan competition for start-up for-profit and nonprofit social ventures with at least one MBA student on the team.

Yale-Goldman Sachs Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures: A national business plan competition for nonprofits seeking to develop/grow earned income ventures. The website contains sample business plans from past winners as well as an extensive database of resources, including “A Brief Tutorial on Business Planning for Nonprofit Enterprise,” by Partnership Co-Director Cynthia Massarsky.

Some websites that offer information on business planning/entrepreneurship not targeting social entrepreneurs but that might be useful include,,, and Bulletproof Business Plans.

Cross-Sector Partnerships


• The Collaboration Challenge: How Nonprofits and Businesses Succeed Through Strategic Alliances, by James E. Austin, Wiley 2000.

• Common Interest, Common Good: Creating Value Through Business and Social Sector Partnerships, by Shirley Sagawa and Eli Segal, Harvard Business School Press, 2000

Corporate Partnerships: A Guide for the Nonprofit Manager, by Dennis Young, National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise.

• “Profits for Nonprofits: Find a Corporate Partner,” by Alan R. Andreasen, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996.

• “Collaborative Advantage: The Art of Successful Alliances,” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review, July-August 1994.

Organizations and Initiatives:

• The Independent Sector: Mission & Market – The Resource Center for Effective Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

• The Leader to Leader Institute: Collaboration

• The Synergos Institute Global Philanthropy & Foundation Building – Building Bridges Across Sectors Initiative



• “Scaling Social Impact,” by J. Gregory Dees, Beth Battle Anderson, and Jane Wei-Skillern, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2004. Earlier working paper version available from CASE.

• “Going to Scale,” by Jeff Bradach, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2003.

• “Nonprofits: ensuring that bigger is better,” by Maisie O’Flanagan and Lynn Taliento, The McKinsey Quarterly, 2004 Number 2.

• “The Question of Scale: Finding an Appropriate Strategy for Building on Your Success,” by Melissa A. Taylor, J. Gregory Dees, and Jed Emerson, Chapter 10 in Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit, edited by Dees, Emerson, and Economy, Wiley 2002.

• “A Point of Light in Mumbai,” by Rukmini Banerji, Madhav Chavan, Paresh Vaish, and Atul Varadhachary, The McKinsey Quarterly, 2001 Number 1.

• “Managing Multisite Nonprofits,” by Allen Grossman and V. Kasturi Rangan, Nonprofit Management and Leadership; vol. 11, no. 3; Spring 2001.

• Social Franchising: A Worthwhile Alternative for Development Co-operation, German Foundation for World Population.

Replicating Social Programs: Approaches, Strategies, and Conceptual Issues, Nico van Oudenhoven & Rekha Wazir, International Child Development Initiative.

Lessons from the Street: Capacity Building and Replication, The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation.

Organizations and Initiatives:

Growth Philanthropy Network
New Profit Inc.
New Schools Venture Fund
• The School for Social Entrepreneurs: Ready, Steady, Grow Topics


  • Bridging the Cultural Gap
    Hosted by Eleanor Clement Glass, Janice Fry, Andrew Goldfarb, Greg Hodge, Barbara Kibbe, Jan Masaoka, Mario Morino and Gillian Nash
  • Domestic Violence & Community Development
    Sponsored by Changemakers, hosted by Aimee Thompson
  • Rethinking Accountability
    Hosted by Caroline Hartnell, Anand Shukla, Barbara Kibbe, David Bonbright, Jan Masaoka, Kumi Daidoo, David Kalete, Peter Shiras, Simon Zadek, Woodrow W. Clark III, Marilyn Wyatt, Peter Reynard
  • Water Conference
    Sponsored by Changemakers
  • What Does It Take to Be a Social Entrepreneur?
    Hosted by David Bornstein, Charles Cameron, J.B. Schramm, J. Gregory Dees, Cheryl Dorsey, Bill Drayton, Maring Fisher, Jim Fruchterman, Sushmita Ghosh, Pamela Hartigan, Roshaneh Zafar, Christina Kirabo Jordan, Kevin Long, Wellington Nogueira, Sally Osberg, Simon Parisca with special guest Muhammad Yunus
  • Why Social Edge?
    Hosted by Jeff Skoll, Sally Osberg and Keely Stevenson

    Other Resources

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