What is Scaling What Works?
Launched in 2010, Scaling What Works is a multiyear learning initiative of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, a powerful community of more than 350 grantmaking organizations committed to building strong and effective nonprofit organizations and promoting philanthropic practices that lead to better results.
Through this initiative, we seek to support the success of the Social Innovation Fund and address continuing disparities in human and environmental health, education and economic opportunity by expanding the number of grantmakers and public sector funders that are working together to broaden the impact of high-performing nonprofits.
For more than a decade, GEO has built a community of philanthropy's change agents and advocated for shifts in grantmaking practices that can lead to more effective grantmaking and increased nonprofit performance. The Social Innovation Fund promotes an approach to giving that includes many of these same practices, such as working collaboratively and co-investing with other funders to achieve shared goals, giving assistance beyond the grant, providing grantees with tailored support to perform evaluation and making evidence-based decisions. And thus, we are committed to helping grow the number of grantmakers that are prepared to support scaling impact or to successfully participate as intermediaries or funding partners for Social Innovation Fund grants.
Learn more about the following:
- What we are doing
- Our goals
- How grantmakers benefit from Scaling What Works
- Our partners
- Upcoming events
- Frequently asked questions
GEO has long focused on supporting the work of grantmakers. Our engagement with the Social Innovation Fund is no different. To support the fund's reach and impact, we will:
- help grantmakers define their possible roles in the context of the Social Innovation Fund,
- identify the skills and practices necessary to fulfill those roles, and
- support skill building and practice adoption.
We also support collaboration and information sharing between philanthropy and public agencies involved with the Social Innovation Fund, as well as the organizations participating in the Social Innovation Fund. This allows us to translate the learning that emerges from the Social Innovation Fund to a larger group of grantmakers and public sector funders that want to increase their knowledge and advance their practice about how to most successfully help nonprofits grow impact.
GEO hopes to achieve the following long-term outcomes through Scaling What Works.
- The partnership between philanthropy and the public sector is more effective, thereby speeding the scaling of community solutions to society's most pressing social challenges.
- More grantmakers support collaborative problem-solving and evidence-based decision making and embrace other aspects of a "social innovation" theory of change.
- Intermediaries apply new knowledge from their experience as Social Innovation Fund award recipients in their other grantmaking work.
- A permanent repository of lessons learned from the Social Innovation Fund is created and accessible to the field of philanthropy.
To lead us toward these long-term outcomes, we focus our work in three areas:
- CONVENE: Serve as an ongoing convener, liaison and information broker between philanthropy and public agencies involved with the Social Innovation Fund, with the hope of building effective partnerships between philanthropy and government that speed the pace at which community solutions scale.
- GROW: Expand the number of donors nationally who understand how and are prepared to support the evidence base, capacity and growth of promising nonprofit organizations.
- SUPPORT: Provide a platform for collaborative learning and action so that lessons learned by Social Innovation Fund intermediaries are translated for the broader field of philanthropy and public sector funders.
Grantmakers of all sizes and types and in all locations can be part of and benefit from Scaling What Works. We focus on and amplify areas of philanthropic practice that are applicable to any funder that wants to support the capacity and growth of high-performing nonprofits. Through Scaling What Works, grantmakers have access to lessons learned from the Social Innovation Fund and will be able to leverage this collective learning, build connections with like-minded peers and advance their practice to grow social impact.