Cost effectiveness allows organizations to take good ideas to scale.

“Scale” is a common aspiration for social service providers and their funders. It offers promises of greater impact, lower average costs, and institutional sustainability. We help service providers achieve and maintain efficient scale, even when they manage complex enterprises with inclusive governance.

Steady change that respects complexity revitalizes social service delivery. When Tewodros Melesse became director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in September 2011, he sought to help the massive federation, with over 150 countries member associations participating, set a new course for sustained improvement. In a joint effort with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we collaborated with a global team of IPPF leaders to design and execute policy changes, initiatives and tools to increase services and to strengthen the federation’s performance culture. Over the course of three years, we worked with IPPF to make steady improvements. We continue to apply the same approach to our work with IPPF to other service delivery organizations – rigorously analyzing opportunities for improvement and designing processes to deliver steady gains.

Clear strategy informed by data and analysis reveals opportunities for improvement. By combining good data with clear strategy, we help service delivery organizations expand the scale and efficiency of their work. In our work with The New York City Food Assistance Collaborative, an effort to direct emergency food resources equitably and efficiently to residents in need, we performed geospatial analyses to identify high-priority neighborhoods in which the Collaborative could focus initial capacity building efforts. A case study dives deep into our work with the collaborative.

Great institutions become sustainable ones. We help clients build sustainable, high-impact institutions that achieve ambitious goals. We regularly push beyond strategy to engage with the organizational issues that ultimately determine a strategy’s success. Indeed, we often use the strategic planning process to build an institution’s capacity, convening senior leaders and engaging funders so that the strategy that emerges is quickly implemented and funded.