The current (Spring 2004) issue of SSIR contains an article by Dees, Anderson, and Wei-Skillern on the strategic and practical factors nonprofits need to consider in seeking to take their work “to scale.”  The article suggests five key dimensions (the “five R’s”) of the scaling up process and provides some illustrations about how it works.  For me, the piece raises two fundamental questions about the issue of “going to scale”: 1) Is scaling up always a good thing? (The question is highlighted in a cartoon later in the issue in which an executive in front of a sign that merely says, “MORE,” telling a staff member, “That’s our new mission statement.” 2)  Isn’t the issue of resources (one of the five R’s) by far the most important factor in determining whether the effort to scale up will be successful?  I would suggest that a great many nonprofits could grow significantly if simply given the funding to do it.

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