Scaling Social Impact
The Challenge & Opportunity of Scale
Even the most effective mission-driven enterprises face the daunting challenge of scaling social impact. While some social sector organizations have scaled their impact significantly, most are small in absolute terms and in proportion to the social problem they work to improve. All too often, the impact generated by an organization or even a whole social sector “industry” is too low in relation to the magnitude of the social issue it seeks to address. Society’s complex and pressing challenges call for solutions with higher trajectories for the growth and scale of impact. Fortunately, an increasing number of practitioners, funders, researchers, and others are working on this issue. The rapidly evolving and interdisciplinary field of social entrepreneurship carries great promise for innovative approaches to scaling impact in the social sector.
CASE aims to help catalogue, coordinate, and contribute to the body of knowledge around scaling social impact. The conceptual and practical frameworks and resources we have compiled and produced are accessible on this website. Currently, we are exploring how concepts from biological and business ecosystems may offer useful insights for the social sector, and particularly for social entrepreneurs and funders seeking to scale social impact.
Scaling Social Impact is the process of closing the gap between the real and ideal conditions as pertains to particular social needs or problems. Scaling social impact can occur by increasing the positive social impact created, decreasing the negative social impact of others, or decreasing the social need or demand.
Social Impact is the consequence that moves us closer to or further away from the conditions of an ideal society and world, the common good as defined by human society.
Social-Purpose Organizations (whether nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid) seek to create positive social impact for human society, animals, or the natural environment in the form of social value that is not limited to economic wealth for owners or consumption benefits for customers.