Scaling Up. Role of Philantropy


This phase is about significantly gearing up for impact.  To date, significant changes have occurred in the way people and institutions collectively think and work, but there has not yet been significant improvements in outcomes (impact has happened – but small scale and in pockets).  

Early on in this phase, you need to frame or negotiate your role in relation to advocacy and influence.  First, are you prepared to do it?  If yes - you need to work through becoming authorised to take up advocacy and influence on behalf of the collaboration, in service of the shared agenda.

The types of things you can do in the scaling up phase are:

  • Understanding that effective communication is the lifeblood of systems change. Support the initiative to maintain transparent and compelling communications both internally with collaborative partners, and externally with public audiences; 
  • Undertaking policy and political work. System change often requires changing the laws, administrative rules, and official practices governing that system; 
  • Investing in consistent and ongoing data assessments and relying upon those findings to guide strategy and ensure accountability; 1
  • Dedicating your staff time to lead or support some of the key functions eg: data analysis, facilitating learning or communications; 2
  • Convening community-wide engagement efforts that develop shared aspirations for taking action on challenging systemic issues; 
  • Investing in bringing pockets together to coordinate strategy and marshal community’s collective resources; 
  • Focusing resources and efforts on those populations, issues and geographic areas that have been left out of progress; 
  • Supporting both existing and new, often more diverse leaders and organizations that are deeply rooted in the community and can bring people together across dividing lines to learn, innovate and coordinate efforts. 3

With your support, the following progress is possible

  • Underlying, systemic issues are placed on the public agenda for common action; 
  • Collective efforts marshal community resources and in coordinated way; 
  • Strong organisations exist to bring various leaders, groups and residents together across dividing lines and siloes; 
  • New cadre of leaders emerges that adds new insights and energy to efforts; 
  • Clear outcome measurements exist and drive efforts; 
  • Positive can-do community narrative grows stronger as underlying issues get addressed. 4

The key insight here is to invest for the long term. System-level change does not happen on a grant cycle timeline. Be prepared to make long term investments, and to measure progress in terms of process and systems changes in addition to ultimate outcomes. 5




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