2005 Practitioner Survey on Scaling Social Impact:
In November, 2005, CASE worked with Princeton Survey Research Associates International to conduct an exploratory survey of practitioners to understand their past practices, future plans, and assumptions about scaling social impact. Sent to 764 recognized social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders, the survey yielded a 20% response rate and 151 completed questionnaires. This survey is an intermediate deliverable in an ongoing research project and is intended to provide suggestive but not conclusive findings.
Summarizes 12 key findings and includes overview of methodology. (Also includes a summary of a 2001 survey on geographic expansion). ('.pdf' format). Key findings include:
Interest in Scaling Social Impact
• Respondents want to scale their social impact and are eager to learn more about scaling social impact.
• Respondents viewed and defined the concept of “scaling social impact” in a variety of ways.
Overall Success in Scaling Social Impact
• Respondents reported mixed success in their efforts to scale social impact.
Approaches to Scaling Social Impact
• Respondents pursue a variety of approaches for scaling social impact – there is no dominant model.
• Approaches for scaling impact through direct service were reported as more successful than those attempting indirect influence on other organizations or the larger system.
• Respondent choices of strategies are often driven by the types of goals they seek to accomplish for scaling social impact.
• While over half of the respondent organizations were founded with a local focus, a number reported significant geographic expansion to date.
• Approaches to scaling social impact varied somewhat by field/industry and by age of organization.
• Many respondents reported diversification as a past and, to a lesser extent, a future goal for scaling social impact, yet few ranked it as a high priority.
• A majority of respondents report pursuing scaling social impact through influencing public policy and advocacy, yet few rank it among their top past or future goals or strategies
Assumptions about Scaling Social Impact
• Most respondents believe that effectiveness and sustainability should come before scale.
• Respondents were divided about whether standardization and centralization are important for scaling social impact.
Extensive report of detailed findings by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Includes detailed analysis, description of methodology, and actual survey questionnaire annotated with results.