Taking Measure of Impact Investing

After several months of exciting developments for impact investing, the SOCAP conference in September provided an ideal opportunity to take measure of the movement at this key point in its evolution. My latest blog—coauthored with Willa Seldon—offers three takeaways from SOCAP and some suggestions for how impact investing can advance from here.

Posted: 10/14/2014 1:32:21 PM by Paul Carttar

Social Good = Scale x Impact (Who Knew?)

One Acre's Matt Forti and Andrew Youn share why both nonprofits and academics should focus on scale and impact in this simple formula for good.

Posted: 9/3/2014 6:33:44 AM by Carole Matthews

Achieving Growth Through Partnerships

BELL serves some 13,000 at-risk children in grades K-8 with its highly effective summer and after-school programs. The YMCA counts almost 9 million children as members, and 80 percent of Americans live within five miles of a Y facility. In 2013, the two organizations forged a strategic partnership to scale BELL’s model through the vast Y network. The work is far from easy, but the potential for impact is tremendous. In this blog, BELL’s CEO describes the challenges and opportunities of this exciting partnership in pursuit of impact at a transformative scale.

Posted: 8/19/2014 1:08:51 PM by The Bridgespan Group

Laying the Tracks for Future Growth

It's hard for nonprofits to raise money for their day-to-day work. It's even harder to raise money to grow their impact.

Posted: 7/30/2014 3:46:53 PM by Peter Kim

In Praise of Operations: Making "What Works" Actually Work

The fundamental value proposition of the "what works" movement is that the lives of many people in need can be materially improved by expanding the reach of programs and organizations that reliably yield strong results for those they serve.

Which leads me to this question: why do we in the social sector give so little attention to operations—that is, what makes "what works" actually work?

Posted: 7/29/2014 2:55:54 PM by Paul Carttar

Attending to the “Unsexy” Side of Scaling: Sustainable Funding

There is a sobering reality, a side to scaling that we too frequently avoid: with each upward ratchet in size, as a nonprofit expands facilities and hires more employees, it also increases the amount of money it must raise each year simply to maintain its operations. And if it can't do this, it can no longer build scale.

Posted: 7/1/2014 11:57:17 AM by Paul Carttar

Crunch Time for the Administration's Focus on Evidence

As the clock runs down for the Obama Administration, now is the time for it to put more muscle behind its efforts to fund "what works" for social benefit.

Posted: 5/29/2014 9:28:24 PM by Paul Carttar

Answers to Your Transformative Scale Questions

The transformative scale webinar hosted by Stanford Social Innovation Review on April 29 came to a close before BRAC's Susan Davis, Year Up's Gerald Chertavian, and Bridgespan's Jeff Bradach could answer all the participants' questions. Here, Bradach and Bridgespan Consultant Abe Grindle answer several of the more broadly applicable questions.

Posted: 5/5/2014 1:38:29 PM by Jeff Bradach

Evidence and Innovation—Friend or Foe?

In the nonprofit sector as well the for-profit world, innovation is a hot topic and is recognized as a powerful force for good. Unfortunately, we in the nonprofit world can’t seem to agree on just what innovation is, and because of that, we’re mystifyingly irresolute about whether evidence is innovation’s friend or foe.

Posted: 4/17/2014 12:26:49 PM by Paul Carttar

Give People the Tools to Change Their Own Lives and Their Communities

There’s a quicker path to transformative scale that doesn’t hinge on the actions of government or business. It focuses on a dramatically under-utilized asset in the social sector: the people we are in business to serve.

Posted: 4/10/2014 11:28:51 AM by Willa Seldon

The Courage to Collaborate: Four Lessons From Our Mergers & Collaborations Series

Instead of founding an organization, could you create social, economic, or environmental impact by collaborating—plugging into another founder’s proven approach and taking it to scale? It’s a question that social innovators should be asking. The nonprofit leaders whose stories we’ve published this past month in the series Mergers That Make a Difference show that collaboration does take courage and can be worth the initial pain.

Posted: 3/31/2014 1:25:16 PM by Katie Smith Milway

Power in Numbers: Joining Forces to Create a Nonprofit Network

In 2010, three public charter schools in Cleveland came together to create Breakthrough Charter Schools. The merger wasn't motived by financial distress nor by academic underperformance. They came together voluntarily in the hopes of increasing their impact. Their story illustrates that the possibility of coming together can be explored with modest risk, provided that organizations have the time, resources, and foresight to follow a thoughtful process.

Posted: 3/31/2014 9:51:40 AM by Carole Matthews

From Tiny to Transformative: Match Education’s Quest for Impact

Match Education's CEO Stig Leschly runs a “tiny,” highly innovative organization with stellar charter school and teacher training results. Now he’s trying to figure out how best to spread Match’s knowledge far and wide. This is the new frontier for scaling what works.

Posted: 3/27/2014 3:27:25 PM by Jeff Bradach

Time to Follow Congress’ Lead…to the SIF

Although in recent years the concept of "Congressional leadership" has become questionable, to say the least, our representatives in Washington proved with their additional budget for the SIF in January that the term is not a complete oxymoron.

Posted: 3/27/2014 11:41:15 AM by Paul Carttar

How to Check Your Ego and Three Other Keys to a Successful Nonprofit Merger

There's no room for egos in nonprofit mergers, says AIDS Action Committee's Rebecca Haag. Instead of thinking "How does the merger affect me?" nonprofits should ask "How does this enhance our nonprofits ability to meet its mission?"

Posted: 3/27/2014 6:00:16 AM by Carole Matthews
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