The numbers: 314 nominations, 133 applicants, 43 winners
What we required: The executive director's statement explaining mission and strategy; two years of audited financials and tax filings; and a 35-question survey regarding management, vision, and metrics. This year we added a second-stage application to assess core winners on their ability to create and sustain corporate partnerships.
Who did the work: Eight Monitor Group consultants invested 3,000 hours in the primary evaluation. We also recruited two teams of experts: a selection committee to choose the winners and a methodology board to help identify successful partnerships. Those included:
Selection Committee: Beth Anderson, Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Duke University; David Gergen, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University; Thomas McLaughlin, consultant, Grant Thornton LLP; Billy Shore, founder and executive director, Share Our Strength
Methodology Board: John Elkington, chief entrepreneur, SustainAbility; Bradley Googins, Center for Corporate Citizenship, Boston College; Jeffrey Hamaoui, founder, Origo Social Enterprise Partners Inc.; Jane Nelson, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
What we looked for: Using Monitor's methodology, we calculated 15 scores for various aspects of performance in five categories:
Social impact: Social value created, and demonstrated potential to stimulate systemic improvement in the creation and delivery of a social good.
Aspiration and growth: The desire and ability to achieve greater social impact over time.
Entrepreneurship: Effectiveness at galvanizing resources for social impact and exploiting the discontinuities created by change.
Innovation: The originality and strength of an organization's "big idea" and/or its business model.
Sustainability: The ability to maintain the impact achieved through an organization's "big idea" over an extended period of time.
Winners' overall scores were converted into letter grades. For more details on the scoring, and to meet our panel of nominators, visit www.fastcompany.com/keyword/social111.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2006/January 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.