Results of a New National Study of Nonprofits Scaling Social Impact

Tamara Schweitzer Raben, Social Impact Exchange at Growth Philanthropy Network
Posted: January 22, 2013

The Social Impact Exchange is excited to announced the release of a new national study on nonprofits' status in scaling impact. The State of Scaling Social Impact: Results of a National Study of Nonprofits, released in partnership with Veris Consulting, reports on how practitioners view scaling, their motivations and readiness to grow, the strategies they are deploying to achieve scaled impact and the challenges they face in moving forward with their plans. 

The findings are based on more than 400 U.S.-based nonprofit respondents, 75 percent of which are currently scaling their impact. This report is the first-ever study of its kind on the state of scaling impact among nonprofits in the social sector, and has implications for the field in the areas of evaluation, planning, and financing initiatives that are scaling.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • Nonprofit scaling efforts are focused on traditional avenues for growth -- expanding target audiences or replicating their models -- and an overwhelming percentage are past the assessment stage in scaling their initiatives and expect to complete implementation in less than six years.
  • Both funders and nonprofits need more information about the effectiveness and return on investment of various approaches to scaling and growth planning.
  • There is a strong need for better information and more funding dedicated to impact measurement, so organizations can evaluate their programs and scale only those innovations with proof of results.
  • Though often overlooked, investments in nonprofit boards can be highly impactful to strengthen organizations and support their scaling efforts, as they are critical to strategy formation and decision-making.
  • On average, nonprofits require a significant amount of funding to finance their growth, yet raising capital continues to be a challenge. Nonprofit leaders identify securing sufficient capital as most helpful to their growth efforts, with those conducting campaigns having raised an average of only 17% of the funds required.

For the full report, please visit www.siex.us/nonprofit-scaling-study.