Since 2010, through the Scaling What Works initiative, GEO has fostered a conversation about scale that considers a variety of ways nonprofits are creating more value for communities and how funders are supporting their work. GEO's newest publication, Pathways to Grow Impact, shares new learning about the role grantmakers should play. The publication is the result of a collaborative project with Ashoka, Social Impact Exchange, Taproot Foundation and TCC Group that sought to answer the question: How can grantmakers best support high-performing nonprofits in their efforts to grow their impact? Pathways to Grow Impact is for any grantmaker who wants his or her grant dollars to have a greater effect. The publication offers a framework for understanding different approaches to scaling impact, stories from nonprofit leaders who have successfully grown their organizations' impact, and practical recommendations for grantmakers seeking more effective ways to achieve better results.
- download pdf (GEO members: click here)
- download executive summary
- download discussion guide (members only)
Through the Scaling What Works initiative, GEO is gathering and sharing learning and resources to connect grantmakers to practices that grow impact and build stronger and more effective nonprofit organizations. We have produced resources to introduce the GEO community to:
- new or different ways of thinking about scale,
- approaches to funding that support growing impact,
- grantee-centric principles and practices, and
- sources of more information to dive deeper.
Click here to visit the Scaling What Works online portal.
For more resources on growing impact, visit the following websites for our research collaborative partners:
- Ashoka - Learn more about the Ashoka Globalizer Fellows featured in the publication by visiting ashokaglobalizer.org.
- Social Impact Exchange - Visit Social Impact Exchange's Knowledge Center to access their entire collection of resources on growing impact, including articles, publications, case studies, tools and templates.
- Taproot Foundation
- TCC Group
New GEO national field survey examines some of the key shifts in grantmaking practice since 2008 and what they mean for supporting nonprofit resilience.
GEO’s newest guide, co-published with Monitor Institute, explores what it takes for grantmakers to cultivate a network mindset, and offers recommendations for how funders can effectively build the capacity of networks and share what they’re learning with the broader field.
From GEO's Scaling What Works initiative, Reframing the Conversation Briefing Paper Series
In the past, grantmakers often focused on scaling or growing promising solutions by expanding grantee organizations or replicating effective programs in other communities. Now, more and more grantmakers are broadening their understanding of scale as a means to more comprehensively grow social impact without necessarily increasing the size of the nonprofit organizations and programs they support. Recognizing that there are a variety of approaches to scale, this briefing paper explores what can be scaled and grantmaking practices that support nonprofits in growing their impact. + more
A presentation of two approaches in assessing the impact of general operating support grants: one that emphasizes pre-grant assessment and one that relies more on assessment during and after the grant.
Pathways to Grow Impact
A Scaling What Works Webinar Series
Drawing on themes from the publication, GEO’s Scaling What Works initiative hosted a webinar series to explore the role grantmakers can play in supporting high-performing nonprofits to increase their impact and create more value for their communities. The webinars in the series included:
- Topic 1: Supporting Grantees in the Use of Data to Grow Their Impact + more
- Topic 2: How Funders Can Help Spread Ideas and Innovation + more
- Topic 3: Philanthropy's Role in Movement Building + more
Strategic Co-Funding: A Grantmaker Convening - Review materials from GEO's convening on strategic co-funding, which helped provide the tools and insights for grantmakers of all types to expand the impact of their grants, leverage knowledge and resources (both philanthropic and public funds), and reduce administrative burdens on themselves and grantees. + more
GEO President and CEO Kathleen Enright has authored a new piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review highlighting how one social entrepreneur and networker extraordinaire has achieved success growing impact through a collaborative approach — demonstrating a greater focus on furthering mission rather than growing an organization or its budget.
GEO President and CEO Kathleen Enright's latest piece for The Huffington Post draws from a conversation with Paul Carttar, former director of the Social Innovation Fund, reflecting on his experience with the SIF scaling effective community solutions.
For the Tactical Philanthropy Blog, GEO's President and CEO Kathleen Enright reframes the conversation about innovation and scale by encouraging grantmakers to focus on growing impact rather than organizational size.
A feature in New York Times Magazine and The New York Times "Fixes" column highlights Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and Pathways to Grow Impact case study, Thorkil Sonne, for approach to creating new opportunities for employment and economic independence for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
This article for The New York Times "Fixes" column makes a compelling case for shifting away from the negative connotation of failure and instead, viewing it as an opportunity to revisit strategy, tweak process and benefit from the learning potential that comes from reflection. This article features Playworks' CEO and founder, Jill Vialet, who is also featured in Pathways to Grow Impact. In it, she shares, "Not talking about [failure] is the worst thing you can do, as it means you're not helping the rest of the organization learn from it."
The Center for Employment Opportunity, featured in Pathways to Grow Impact, is defying the odds of most transitional programs working to find employment and reduce rates of recidivism for the formerly incarcerated. This article explores the CEO model and how they are fostering economic independence and creating new opportunities for people with a hsitory of criminal convictions.
A recording of Thorkil Sonne talking about Specialisterne at TedX Hamburg
Featured as a case study in Pathways to Grow Impact, this video offers insight from 13 streetfootballworld members from all over the world talking about how they have used football (soccer) as a powerful tool to reduce violence. Their shared strategy of using football as a catalyst for social change illustrates the connectivity among these organizations. Together, they make up a powerful network, that strengthens one another individually while promoting the use of football worldwide as a way to keep people engaged in social programs and in community with one another.