The International Centre for Social Franchising tackles the issue of scale; its mission is to help the most successful social impact projects replicate.
Here at ICSF we speak to hundreds of projects about their potential to scale up their impact through social replication.
Generally, the projects have piloted in one area and are looking to replicate that success in new areas. Often, there is a charismatic social entrepreneur, driven by his or her strident belief that their innovation is going to change the world as we know it.
And it might. Yet the vast majority just aren’t ready.
We recently assessed applications for our South African Social Franchising Accelerator and noticed two broad trends emerging among those who were not successful:
- Applicants couldn’t show that their model worked: having a proven model involves demonstrating social impact and a sustainable business model. Many organisations could point to how many people they were working with but not the difference their intervention made to beneficiaries’ lives. Others could not convincingly argue how franchisees would sustain themselves.
- They did not have the capacity to franchise: in one case, the CEO of a really promising project was filling seven different roles and wanted to lead on franchising the organisation to spread the model to new areas!
To replicate their interventions successfully, they should have thought through these factors beforehand.
Key tools could have helped them doing so.
Using a Theory of Change would have helped our applicants to clarify their intended impact so they could have properly measured it.
The Business Model Canvas may have helped them to think through where the income generation could have been strengthened.
Conducting a thorough SWOT analysis would have allowed for an honest assessment of the organisation’s capacity.
So where does the DIY Toolkit fit in?
For us, it’s in the ‘prove’ stage of the 5 Stages of Replication; it’s in helping projects develop their intervention and organisational capacity so that later on they are ready to replicate – if replication is indeed right for their model .
Inevitably, some organisations will need additional support, whether it be training, funding, consultancy, mentoring or otherwise. Yet SWOT analyses, business and scaling plans will help organisations to do what they can on their own and better identify their support needs.
In the future we’d love to see more resources on scaling and replication and look forward to contributing to its development.
Matt is a Consultant at ICSF. He is currently leading ICSF’s work on its Rockefeller-funded South African Social Franchising Accelerator, and is working with a range of organisations including international healthcare social franchise Population Services International and UK projects Tender and Beyond Youth.