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The Challenges in Scaling Growth of Nonprofits

Scaling growth, whether in nonprofits or social benefit enterprises, continues to generate attention and buzz. The underlying concepts behind scaling growth are not new. But scaling growth has gained further traction in recent years as the philanthropic and social investment sectors have increased their focus on improving and documenting organizational effectiveness, developed new collaborative funding models to address systemic problems, and supported individual donors’ interests in maximizing the impact of their charitable giving and social investments. Efforts like the Social Capital Markets conference (SOCAP), the Social Impact Exchange, the Social Innovation Fund, Investing in Innovation (i3), and Social Impact Bonds, all touch on or extend the parameters of the scaling growth dialogue.

An upcoming event (link) on scaling growth of nonprofits with William Foster, Bridgespan Group Senior Partner and incoming Executive Director of the Jacobson Family Foundation, continues this dialogue. Sponsored by UpStart Bay Area, the Foundation Center, and the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, this event will build on Foster’s decade of primary research and client work. The discussions will focus on what nonprofits need to do in order to achieve scale, how their program models relate to their funding models, and philanthropy's central role and common failings in helping nonprofits scale.

Is Charity Impact the missing link?

Friday’s guest post on Sean Stannard-Stockton’s Tactical Philanthropy blog by Bob Ottenhoff, CEO of Guidestar, introduced a new tool to help assess nonprofit effectiveness. The guest post and Sean’s post today generated a few interesting comments; Charting Impact certainly heralds a positive direction in improving how we assess and communicate impact. That said, I still wonder how far we are from being really able to best align our charitable giving and investments with the most effective nonprofits.

The Questions Submitted to Bill Gates for TED2010

On Tuesday, Bill Gates posted a short Tweet: "Headed to TED - http://bit.ly/brwfV1 - I will be sending notes and taking your questions. Send them to @BillGates and tag them #BillatTED." On Friday, some of those questions will be answered via a video feed following his TED presentation on energy and climate change. (UPDATE: The video link is here.)

As is typical with a Bill Gates Tweet, the post was retweeted and referenced a lot. The questions submitted have also been interesting to review. Using the webstie What the Hashtag?!, I  pulled together a listing of most of the questions submitted in advance of Friday's presentation at TED. Of the nearly 500 tweets using the Hashtag, approximately 70 or so where actual questions. The rest were retweets, nonsensical questions or personal pleas, and comments.