Going to scale with NGOs

In my last livemint column, I looked at the phenomenon of ‘scaling up’ – and the challenges that NGOs will face in their effort to scale up. Is ‘scaling up’ an imperative? Is the inability to go to scale failure? In a country as vast as India is, scale is essential. Demonstrating impact at scale should be the end goal

The objective of an NGO should be to demonstrate: (1) proof of concept of their model; and (2) that implementing this through a government agency is indeed feasible. The latter is especially important, given that key stakeholders in the sector have by now realized and acknowledged that the state/government is at the forefront of the development battle. Scale is crucial in a country like India—it is expected of organizations that they will demonstrate consistent results over a long period of time, and at the same time, reach out to large numbers of people.
Thus, even while attempting to redefine their roles as enablers and incubators, NGOs remain of great interest to students of organizational behaviour. In particular, scaling up as referred to above remains a serious conundrum, but in order to demonstrate the “implement-ability” of an intervention, attaining a certain level of scale remains inevitable
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