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October 28, 2010

About two years ago CSPCS, along with the Fuqua School’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) and the Bridgespan Group, hosted a conference at Duke titled “Scaling Social Impact: What We Know and What We Need to Know.” (Session summaries of the conference can be found here.) Out of that conference came a book edited by CASE’s Paul Bloom and our own Edward Skloot, Scaling Social Impact: New Thinking (Palgrave Macmillan).

The twelve essays that make up Scaling Social Impact are divided among five themes:

  1. Framing the Issues
  2. The Pros and Cons of Scaling
  3. Cultivating Ecosystem Alliances and Networks
  4. Communicating and Branding
  5. Guiding Funders and Supporters

The California charter school movement, sustainable development in rural India, and the impact (or lack of impact) generated by microfinance are just a few of the phenomena examined by the essays in Scaling Social Impact.

Bridgespan’s Jeff Bradach writes, in the book’s Foreword, “Finding ways to scale impact without scaling the size of an organization is the new frontier for work in our field. Put simply, how can we get one hundred times the impact with only a two times change in unit size?”

Scaling Social Impact, while not providing the definitive answer to that question, is an important contribution to the conversation. To read more about the book, click here.

Barry Varela