CASE Articles, Papers & Presentations
Below are selected CASE articles, working papers, and presentations about scaling social impact:
Abstract: With support from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), the authors set out to document and analyze the currently available literature on scaling, in order to both highlight the best set of resources available that are useful to funders actively pursuing grantmaking strategies around scaling impact, and to shine a light on what still needs to be studied and explored. This report is a compendium of the main findings of that work, and is arranged in the form of a funder-facing literature review (with materials selected based on their usefulness to funders and grantmakers interested in supporting scaling initiatives and listed in priority order), with links and abstracts, along with recommendations for future work.
“Scaling Social Impact: New Thinking” by Paul N. Bloom and Edward Skloot, eds, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (summary available in pdf format)
Abstract: Many social entrepreneurs struggle to take successful, innovative programs that address social problems on a local or limited basis and scale them up to expand their impact in a more widespread, deeper, and efficient way. Scaling Social Impact: New Thinking offers a range of insights into the variety of ways that people are building strong organizations and finding ways to get dramatically more impact. The need for solutions to our most intractable problems has never been greater. With researchers in the field and the academy helping us make sense of what is working – and what is not – this book makes a valuable contribution to building not only our understanding of how we scale social impact but also help to create a better world.
Note: summary is available for download. Full text available for purchase through Palgrave Macmillan or www.amazon.com
“Identifying the Drivers of Social Entrepreneurial Impact: Theoretical Development and an Exploratory Empirical Test of SCALERS,” by Paul N. Bloom and Brett R. Smith, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 126-145 (pdf format)
Abstract: The scaling of social entrepreneurial impact is an important issue in the field of social entrepreneurship. While researchers have focused relatively little theoretical and empirical attention on scaling, a recently proposed set of drivers of scaling – incorporated into what has been labeled the SCALERS model – may provide guidance for new theoretical and empirical work on scaling of social impact. In this study, prior work on the drivers of scaling is extended by adding to the theoretical foundations upon which the SCALERS model is developed and by providing an initial empirical test of the SCALERS model. Initial empirical support is found for the SCALERS model of scaling social entrepreneurial impact.
“Scaling Social Entrepreneurial Impact,” by Paul N. Bloom and Aaron K. Chatterji, California Management Review, Vol. 51, No. 3, Spring 2009, pp. 114-133 (pdf format)
Abstract: While there have numerous examples of successful social entrepreneurs, there has been a lack of conceptual clarity about the question of why some organizations are more successful than others. Bloom and Chatterji outline a new model, SCALERS, to provide guidance on how organizations with a social mission can align their internal resources with their external environments to scale their impacts most efficiently and effectively. The SCALERS model can help social entrepreneurs identify the strengths and weaknesses in their own organizations and use these insights to further scale their social impact.
Abstract: Arguing that social entrepreneurs have commonly sought to spread or “scale out” their innovations by replicating or “scaling up” their organizations, this article offers a framework for a larger set of pathways from which to choose. The authors encourage social entrepreneurs to consider different ways of both defining and spreading their innovations before determining whether and how to proceed. Presents a framework for evaluating what type of innovation to scale (program, organization, or principle) as well as the mechanisms for how to scale (along a spectrum from dissemination to affiliation to branching). Also provides a useful checklist of “Five R’s” - factors to consider when choosing a strategy for scaling out: readiness, resources, receptivity, risks, and returns. (For the original working paper, see Pathways to Social Impact below.)
Abstract: Includes a matrix of options for how to scale social impact. More comprehensive treatment of article above. The authors encourage social entrepreneurs to consider different ways of both defining and spreading their innovations before determining whether and how to proceed. Presents a framework for evaluating what type of innovation to scale (program, organization, or principle) as well as the mechanisms for how to scale (along a spectrum from dissemination to affiliation to branching). Also provides a useful checklist of “Five R’s” - factors to consider when choosing a strategy for scaling out: readiness, resources, receptivity, risks, and returns. (For edited version, see Stanford Social Innovation Review article above.)
" The Question of Scale: Finding an Appropriate Strategy for Building on Your Success" by Melissa A. Taylor, J. Gregory Dees, and Jed Emerson, Chapter 10 in Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit, edited by Dees, Emerson, and Economy, Wiley 2002.
Abstract: This book chapter explores the choice of whether or not to attempt to scale a social-purpose organization, outlining the potential drivers, benefits, risks, and costs of doing so. Offers and defines several pathways for “scaling deep” (achieving greater impact in home community or market) and “scaling out” (disseminating principles, creating learning networks, or packaging/selling programs), as well as a four-step process for deciding whether and how to scale: 1) define what you are scaling and determine its replicability, 2) assess the opportunity, 3) evaluate your readiness, 4) formulating a scaling up strategy that fits.
Abstract: Nonprofit organizations often move into new territories by establishing local branches, affiliates, or a combination of branches and affiliates, resulting in a plural form. This paper presents data from a survey of U.S. nonprofit leaders who have experience with or are considering expanding their organizations via branches, affiliates, or both. By capturing the perspectives of front-line nonprofit managers, this research aims to provide greater insight into the process of geographic expansion and to explore some of the key similarities and differences across these three organizational structures. The most substantial finding from this research is that regardless of organizational structure, some of the anticipated benefits of scale failed to materialize, while other, unanticipated benefits seemed to dominate across all expansion strategies. Economies of scale were often less than anticipated, and tapping into new funding sources was a significant benefit primarily for affiliates. In contrast, the benefits from both brand and organizational learning consistently exceeded expectations across all strategies. Based on these investigations, the authors offer new hypotheses for exploring the strategic preferences, motivations, challenges, and benefits of nonprofit expansion via a range of organizational structures.
Abstract: Slides from a one day workshop delivered by Greg Dees and Beth Anderson for North Carolina nonprofits interested in exploring strategies for spreading social innovations. The workshop provided practical frameworks to help organizations assess the opportunity and their organizational readiness for scaling out; define their innovation for scaling; and identify promising pathways for effectively scaling their innovation.