Why is impact at scale so elusive? Scaling Pathways adds to the conversation by capturing tactical insights and hard-won lessons from social enterprises for social enterprises and funders to more effectively navigate this path.
Who is it for?
- Social enterprises who want to leap the chasm from impact to impact at scale with tactical advice from those who have been there.
- Funders who want to use their capital to accelerate this journey.
- Accelerators or any other intermediaries who want to help enterprises in their portfolio learn from the success and mistakes of others.
- Any other curious learner.
Tactical advice, guidance, examples, and lessons learned from social enterprises and funders who have (and still are!) navigating the road to scale. The content largely revolves around key topics that social enterprises told us were the largest challenges as they positioned themselves for scale: their people, their finances, their data, and partnerships with government. We also asked them what they wanted funders to know to help accelerate scale, and they provided some excellent advice. When COVID-19 hit, we also took the opportunity to cull insights about scaling through mass disruption. In addition, we have some deep-dive scaling snapshots illuminating the strategies a handful of social enterprises have used to scale, and the implications of pursuing those.
How can I use it?
Where to start? Just a few examples here:
Social enterprises have used:
- the government partnership checklist to map out their strategies
- the earned income advice to rethink alignment between revenue streams and mission, and adjust financial sustainability targets
- the case studies for inspiration to rethink their scaling strategies and understand the implications for different pathways
- the guidance on ensuring equity underpins data strategy to rethink if they are actually measuring what matters to their constituents.
Funders have used:
- guidance on providing flexible capital and milestone-based funding to rework RFPs that will better allow for the necessary pivots along the journey to scale
- improved the questions they ask during due diligence to ensure investees/grantees are better positioned for scale
- recognized the ways in which they can use their influence, networks, and vast knowledge to provide support beyond just capital
- shared scaling snapshots and case studies from other other enterprises with their investees to help them think about other growth and impact opportunities
Who is behind Scaling Pathways?
Scaling Pathways is funded & advised by the partners who were part of the Innovation Investment Alliance (IIA): the Skoll Foundation, USAID, and Mercy Corps Ventures. The IIA was funding and learning partnership between USAID and the Skoll Foundation, supported by Mercy Corps. Through the IIA nearly $50 million invested in eight proven, transformative social enterprises to scale their impact. In addition, the IIA partners bring rich experience from their individual portfolios and deep insights to inform the Scaling Pathways work.
Scaling Pathways is researched and written by CASE at Duke. CASE is an award-winning social impact center within the business school at Duke University. Generating cutting edge insights around scale and impact investing, and preparing leaders and organizations to change the world.