Scaling What Works

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Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

This study examines the term “scale” as it’s used in the field of philanthropy and social services, as a way of saying expansion, and growth of programs to new areas or populations, or the deepening of programs within the same area.

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations recommends that programs not focus so much on expansion, which, though a good thing, is not the only way to achieve impact, and often not the most effective way.

According to this report, grantmakers are shifting the way they think about scale, emphasizing not size or reach, but impact.

Increasing impact does not require an organization to grow in size or the wholesale replication of programs, but can instead be the expansion of an idea, innovation, technology, advocacy or policy change.

According to Jeff Bradach, managing pargner and co-founder of Bridgespan, “The question is ‘How can we get 100x the impact with only 2x change in the size of an organization?’”

Grantmakers’ role in this new process of scale is to make sure a program has the aspects necessary to succeed, such as an organized infrastructure and a talented staff, in addition to helping grantees build their evidence base and securing additional growth capital.

Free. 7 pages.