How organizations are scaling their impact in 2023
A repurposed article, originally written in 2021.
In 2023, organizations across various sectors are on a mission to increase their impact. The urgency of this mission has been heightened by global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and social issues. These factors have highlighted the critical importance of organizations in scaling their impact, both internally and externally. However, what can organizations learn from successful examples of impact scaling?
Scaling impact means expanding the reach of operations and increasing the team’s size. This growth requires additional training, quality control, and expansion into new target areas or activities. As organizations grow, they must manage impact growth, maintain efficiency, and reduce operational risk while upholding quality. Successfully scaling a firm requires comprehensive planning, financing, and the introduction of tools and technologies to aid in scaling. Additionally, an increase in the capacity for management and control is necessary to support this growth.
Organizations seeking to scale their impact may face various practical challenges. These challenges can be addressed through careful planning, investment in tools and technologies, and building a strong team with the capacity to manage and control growth effectively. By learning from the experiences of successful organizations, companies can develop effective strategies for scaling their impact and achieving their mission to make a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.
Let us look at some practical challenges you may face in scaling.
Scaling up operations
One of the most critical factors for any growing organization's success is its workforce's ability to perform efficiently. Adequate employee training is essential to execute duties best during onboarding and continuous training to maintain and update best practices. A gap in training could have resounding effects on the organization's ability to serve its stakeholders, track and measure activities, and ensure consistency across operational areas.
Consistency in service delivery is vital during scaling, and maintaining operational excellence is crucial to avoid reputational risks. Therefore, growing organizations should implement resilient and redundant processes to ensure consistency across regions and programmes. Standardized and harmonized training curricula for staff and external beneficiaries provide a reliable knowledge base and know-how common to all trainees, ensuring long-term knowledge retention or behavioural change.
Managing multiple offices and people in various countries can be challenging, especially in remote settings, especially when employees are visiting and working with underprivileged communities with limited Internet connectivity. Safe and reliable communication is critical for efficient reporting, managing operations at scale, escalating needs, managing stocks, and implementing whistleblowing mechanisms. Growing organizations can learn from nonprofits' expertise in regulating and managing frontline workers to maintain a permanent effort toward effective management.
Scaling up impact measurement
When scaling, it is crucial to consider both how to enable the workforce and how to report to partners efficiently: indeed, a scale-up that does not include the means to measure itself is a scale-up at risk of not being recognized. Essentially, scaling up impact means doing two things at once: scaling up operations and scaling up impact measurement.
In 2023, all organizations looking to scale for impact must prioritize reporting. While reporting is crucial for most industries, it is particularly challenging for organizations that operate in complex and diverse environments. Reporting is necessary to measure and evaluate the larger externalities of an organization's activities, often under scrutiny from donors, investors, and host governments. Incomplete or disputed KPIs can cause organizations to lose critical stakeholders and financing, which is why investing in extensive reporting and data-driven decision-making is important to achieve better recognition and funding for growing activities.
Automated Key Performance Indicators, standardized reports, and data transparency can improve reporting as organizations scale their operations. Investing in reporting is essential for organizations to understand their impact and actions and make strategic choices for future partners and sponsors. Ultimately, prioritizing reporting is essential for organizations looking to scale their impact and demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach to solving specific problems.
Streamline Processes with Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
One key area where Artificial Intelligence (AO) and Machine Learning (ML) can help organizations scale is in reporting. Reporting is critical for organizations to prove and justify their approach to solving problems and measure and evaluate their activities’ larger externalities. Automated Key Performace Indicators and standardized reports can help organizations improve reporting efficiency and accuracy, while data-driven decision-making can lead to better recognition and funding opportunities. Consequently, investing in AI and ML can also help organizations scale their workforce. Automating repetitive tasks allows employees to focus on higher-level strategic work, leading to increased efficiency and productivity and, in the long run, greater impact and success.
How Chalkboard Education helps organizations scale
With its unique mobile-based 2-way Learning Management System for training and reporting in remote areas, Chalkboard Education is an asset for organizations willing to scale their actions abroad or at home.
Digitization, Consistency & Flexibility
Chalkboard Education can digitize your training materials for your firm and provide a web application that allows your trainees to take training in their own time, wherever they are, from any device. This offers flexibility but, most importantly, resilience, as your trainees (staff or external beneficiaries) are ensuring access to content in all situations and learning throughout the year.
On top of being operationally efficient and cost-savvy, distance training often means greater impact through better-measured knowledge retention and longer-lasting training programmes.
Thanks to asynchronous analytics, you can easily and reliably collect and export hundreds of Key Performance Indicators, making actionable reports from our platform that highlight key information in your training modules. These data reports give a recap on the usage of your training material on our application and the opportunity to measure what is working best and for whom.
Our application works without internet connectivity. Your employees and beneficiaries can access your training materials anytime, regardless of the internet infrastructure available. This is particularly critical for trainees in rural areas or often on the move.
Impact Measurement & Tracking
We provide firms with a dashboard for managing trainees and materials seamlessly. Based on built-in analytics, you can edit and improve your training content in live, display and export your trainees' activity and scores, and even conduct surveys and questionnaires to further improve your impact measurement and reporting with qualitative data direct from your beneficiaries. Export reports from the dashboard or integrate with your existing internal dashboard!
Unlimited trainees in any country
Scaling up is frictionless with Chalkboard Education. Our application works worldwide, and firms can enlist as many people as they require. Expanding your training and reporting to new regions and countries seamlessly reduces costs and simplifies implementation.
Our track record with organizations
Chalkboard Education is proud to have assisted several organizations in their scaling process. Below are a few examples of firms trusting our software for distance training and impact measurement systems.
As part of Opportunity Edufinance's Teacher Mentor pilot in Ghana and Uganda, school leaders and teachers receive digital self-access training content via the Chalkboard Education application. Opportunity Edufinance can distribute its training content to its target beneficiaries and track and measure their impact through activity KPIs and Surveys embedded into our software.
International Cocoa Initiative
International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) was looking for an innovative way to train its staff and partners on Child Safeguarding, amongst other topics, and ensure the long-term retention and application of essential notions.
Chalkboard Education instructional designers developed a new training curriculum based on their existing content, a complete assessment of the current level of the staff, and additional research. It consists of a 1-year long training made of 6 modules, entirely redacted and illustrated by our team, and delivered in both English and French.
This training curriculum was rolled out to ICI’s staff through the Chalkboard Education application and is currently being scale-up to external beneficiaries.
About Chalkboard Education
Chalkboard Education provides mobile-based distance training solutions tailored for NGOs. Lightweight, offline-first and complete with full analytics capabilities, Chalkboard Education is designed for rural and hard-to-reach community training. Currently used in 10+ countries in Africa and South America, Chalkboard Education is available worldwide.