Expanding your impact: scalability and replicability

by Jenny Spaulding


On day four of the Global Engagement Summit, Kait Steele, the Director of Field Operations at 826 National, facilitated the workshop Expanding your Impact: Scalability and Replicability. In this, she discussed how to scale operations in a way that does not compromise the quality of impact. Throughout the workshop, Steel focused on a few main takeaways and questions to ask before beginning the process of scaling.


Know yourself.
As Steele said, “make sure that your project is solid and you understand why.” Having a clear mission statement will help guide decision making behind expansion. Your mission should remain the driving force behind scaling. Understand how your mission advances your vision, or the way the world would look if you succeed in your endeavors. What are the benchmarks and indicators for success?

Know the communities in which you are expanding.
Ask yourself if the community is a match for your model, and if your model is a match for the community. It is key to learn what cultural nuances exist in the communities where you plan to expand. What organizations exist that are doing work similar to yours, and how can you utilize them as a resource?

Depth vs. Breadth.
How can you scale your operations without compromising the integrity and quality of your work? Scaling may mean expanding the capacity of your current operations, or it replicating the model entirely in a new location. What aspects of the project are best suited to expand?

How to scale?
Consider who will lead the scaling efforts, as well as what resources you need to secure before expansion. Will current staff or volunteers spearhead this effort, or is it necessary to bring more people in? It can be helpful to partner with organizations doing similar work when scaling to new locations. Create a plan to generate short and long-term funding necessary to sustain expansion.


Regardless of the size and type of the project, it is important to consider these elements while going through any process of scaling.