Taking Strategy All The Way to Implementation

January 8, 2014

Discussions of strategic philanthropy, with their emphasis on big ideas and root causes, can sometimes treat the implementation of new policies as essentially a tactical matter — important, maybe, but not really strategic. In this guest post, the former director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation for The Atlantic Philanthropies takes on this bias, citing an example of smart philanthropy in Ireland that involves plenty of big ideas, but that puts effective implementation at the center of its strategic agenda.


Crossing the Scale Barrier

December 4, 2013

Among the simpler approaches to strategic philanthropy — verging on the simplistic — is the venerable Demonstration Program. In the idea’s most basic form , a foundation supports a new activity in three to five places, “demonstrates” it, documents its successes (if there are any), and then publishes a report recommending that the model be “taken to scale” — i.e., copied everywhere.The experience usually ends with a handful of inspiring stories and (at best) some solid evidence that an idea worked well in limited circumstances. 

As Sunset Approaches

February 21, 2012

Even under normal circumstances, it can be tricky for foundations to change a grantmaking strategy once it’s launched (hence all the learned writing on “mid-course correction” and “exit strategies,” which has provided a generation of consulting fees for people like me). Yet strategic changes become even harder when a foundation’s life expectancy comes down to single digits. At that point, the time for making adjustments is short, and the risk of a rushed or haphazard course-correction rises steeply.

"Scaling Up" in a Time of Scarcity: Some Experiences, Observations, and Caveats (Part I)

June 29, 2011

On June 15, 2011, Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies, delivered a speech before the participants of the second annual Conference on Scaling Impact, hosted by the Social Impact Exchange in New York City. Over the next three days, the Intrepid Philanthropist will run the text of Gara's speech. Here is Part I.

It's A Book!

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


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