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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
There seems to be a prevailing belief in the nonprofit sector that you can merge the cultures of partnering organizations. But Oakland East Bay Symphony's Steven Payne disagrees. The three organizations that merged to create the Symphony approached their partnership as a new organization, and in doing so, is creating a new culture in the process.
Posted: 3/25/2014 6:05:24 AM by
Nonprofit mergers—and the preparation for them through due diligence—aren’t only about paying attention to finances and other back office functions. They also require what Good Shepherd Services calls "cultural due diligence": spending the time, energy, and money to carefully plan how to incorporate staff from acquired entities into Good Shepherd's culture.
Posted: 3/20/2014 5:51:22 AM by