9 elements of transformative scale

April 9, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The saying goes “enough is enough.” But one problem facing the nonprofit sector is that there is never enough.

The Bridgespan Group distributed an article, which originally appeared on the “Stanford Social Innovation Review” website, about the success founder Gerald Chertavian had with Year Up, which showed encouraging growth in 12 years. Despite this success, the organization still finds that there is more to do, that is, there is never enough.

The article discusses the idea of Transformative Scale, scaling impact rather than organizations, in other words, getting 100 times the results with just twice the organization. With that in mind, there are nine approaches that hold real promise for addressing at a transformative scale a number of major social issues. The list isn’t exhaustive, or new, but it represents ways to build on progress and maybe even find lasting solutions. They are:

  • Distribute through existing platforms;
  • Recruit and train other organizations to deliver the solution;
  • Unbundle and scale up the parts that have the greatest impact;
  • Leverage technology to reach a larger audience;
  • Don’t just build organizations and programs, but strengthen a field;
  • Change public systems;
  • Embrace the need for and influence policy change;
  • Don’t ignore for-profit models for scale; and,
  • Alter people’s beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and norms.