When scaling up there is always a tension between reach and values. The larger the organization, the harder it is to maintain a strong identity. This is an important tension that all grassroots will face as they reach new areas and expand their membership. Yet values are usually one of their most important assets and crucial to their success in reaching the poorest of the poor.
We carry out an organizational scan to understand the challenges and the gaps that need to be addressed to establish the pre-conditions for successful scaling up. This scan includes an assessment of accounting, IT, HR and data management systems. Are they aligned with the organization’s values? Are they strong enough to support significant expansion? Will they be robust to the formalization that will be required as organizations grow?
IMAGO also works with organizations to develop data systems that will allow them to track activities and assess impacts of their interventions in the lives of their members. This investment will have a high payoff when raising funds and reporting on the use of funds. Moving from stories to data on the participation of members and the impact of activities is a huge need in many of the most successful grassroots in the world. IMAGO works hand in hand with grassroots researchers to build their capacity on survey design and analysis.
In preparation for scaling up, IMAGO works with grassroots to identify innovations to improve organizational effectiveness. It also helps with the identification and testing of prototypes for technical innovations that can improve the lives of their members. These include working with social enterprises and community-based enterprises that can generate revenues and livelihoods for the poorest of the poor. IMAGO also works with grassroots to develop data systems to track the impact of these innovations.