The Social Impact Exchange Blog

  • Social Impact Exchange Staff
    Posted: June 18, 2013
    Two outstanding organizations – The Hill Center and Juma Ventures – were selected as winners of the Social Impact Exchange’s 2013 Business Plan Competition. The award recipients were selected from among three mezzanine-stage and three early-stage finalists who presented their business plans and responded to questions about scaling their initiatives from a panel of expert judges and field leaders.
     
  • Sharon J. Washington and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, National Writing Project
    Posted: June 10, 2013

    Lessons in Going to Scale is a newly-launched blog series featuring on-the-ground stories from nonprofit organizations at different points in their scaling trajectory. Hear from S&I 100 CEOs and nonprofit leaders in health, education, youth, and poverty alleviation about the strategies and challenges of developing a scaling model.

    The National Writing Project’s Executive Director and Director of National Programs explain the important distinction between “scale” and “spread” and what it meant for their growth.

    For many nonprofits, working toward scale is an all-consuming focus demanding work and strong execution. Certainly that has been true for us at the National Writing Project. As we look forward to our 40th anniversary year in 2014, we can see the path that led to our current scale and remember some valuable lessons we learned along the way.

    NWP began in 1974 as a single local Writing Project site in the San Francisco Bay Area with the goal of engaging teachers K through university-level in professional development and school reform. Since that time, NWP has grown to nearly 200 local sites located within 50 miles of 75 percent of the nation’s teachers. Each of these sites also has its own dynamics of scale, and now provides professional learning and support opportunities for educators across all curriculum areas as well as out-of-school settings. This kind of growth fits many standard definitions of scale: opening new local sites, serving new populations in existing locations, developing expanded programming and partnerships, growing the budget, and investing in evaluation.

  • Joe Miller, Wyman Center National Network
    Posted: May 14, 2013

    Lessons in Going to Scale is a newly-launched blog series featuring on-the-ground stories from nonprofit organizations at different points in their scaling trajectory. Hear from S&I 100 CEOs and nonprofit leaders in health, education, youth, and poverty alleviation about the strategies and challenges of developing a scaling model.

    S&I 100 organization Wyman Center explores what it looks like to adapt their Teen Outreach Program® model to settings outside of their network.

    At Wyman Center, we take scaling with fidelity very seriously. The organization has a 115 year history serving children from low-resource environments, and the past 15 years have focused on nationally replicating programs, such as our evidence-based Teen Outreach Program®(TOP). TOP® is a nine-month program for teens in 6th to 12th grade that reduces the risk of problem behavior while helping teens make healthy choices, develop life skills and engage with their communities.

    In order to meet our growth goal to bring faithfully-replicated TOP® into the lives of 100,000 teens in the next five years, we developed a rigorous quality system and infrastructure to both support and monitor our 57 Certified Replication Partners.

  • John Gillespie, Veris Consulting
    Posted: May 10, 2013

    This post originally appeared on the Stanford Social Innovation Review's blog. It is reposted with permission.

    Scaling is critical to any nonprofit looking to increase impact—but of course, it is easier said than done. In addition to gaining board engagement around your strategy and building a focused business plan, organizations must secure sufficient capital—funds that they can raise only if potential donors have a clear enough picture of their growth plan and financials to invest with confidence.

    According to a recent study on the state of scaling impact, conducted by the Social Impact Exchange and Veris Consulting, only 24 percent of nonprofits currently scaling have started fundraising and only 42 percent have a growth business plan. When it comes to scaling, many nonprofits are trying to “build the plane while flying,” when a more disciplined approach is required.

  • Marcia M. Kerz, The OASIS Institute
    Posted: May 3, 2013

    The following post was written to enhance the discussion that took place during the April 30 webinar, which explored the topic of using evaluation to scale for impact. "Evaluation: What an Organization Needs to Scale for Impact" is now available online.  

    With apologies to the Beatles, developing evidence-based programs that can be taken to scale does not happen in one hard day’s night. Rather, it truly is a long and winding road. At least for this organization.

    OASIS, a national nonprofit organization and member of the S&I 100, is dedicated to promoting successful aging for adults age 50 plus. Our three-fold approach provides opportunities for people to participate in lifelong learning, active lifestyles and community involvement. Through its programs, OASIS puts into practice the findings of the landmark MacArthur Foundation study of Aging in America. Researchers Rowe and Kahn found that the key ingredients for a high quality of life are maintaining a low risk for disease, a high level of engagement with the community and high physical and cognitive function; “It is the combination of all three that represents the concept of successful aging fully.”