Case Study: Scaling Impact with Together Project
August 17, 2023
Founded in Toronto in 2016, Together Project, a charitable initiative of MakeWay, connects refugee newcomers and Canadians to build stronger, more integrated communities. Through their “Welcome Group Program,” they match 3-5 volunteers with government-assisted refugees or refugee claimants for six months of social and integration support. Volunteers help newcomers build social connections and make progress towards their unique integration priorities, such as informal language learning, career navigation, access to education and healthcare, and the emergent pandemic challenge of digital inclusion. Due to the pandemic, Together Project temporarily transitioned their program from “in-person” to an “online” model and have now transitioned again to a hybrid model for program delivery.
Scaling Impact after Impact & Strategic Clarity
Together Project applied to Innoweave’s Scaling Impact stream two years after completing Impact & Strategic Clarity coaching, a foundational Innoweave stream that supports organizations to focus on the impact they intend to have, develop a strategy to achieve it (using a Theory of Change), and identify strategic priorities and an action plan for the short and medium-term. The strategic clarity work that Together Project did really helped them focus on preparing for scaling. A large part of a successful Scaling Impact project is starting from a place of proven success in generating meaningful impact at current scale, with a clear focus on intended outcomes.
Through their Scaling Impact coaching, the organization aimed to scale their “Welcome Group Program” to establish social connections between 2,000 volunteers and 1,750 newly-arrived government-assisted refugees and refugee-claimant newcomers in three cities across Canada by 2024. These connections would help foster civic engagement and cultural understanding, and support newcomers in their integration by addressing their unique priorities with respect to social inclusion, language, education, health, and employment.
From local initiatives to scaling successes
Scaling out a regional project is a considerable challenge, and with the support of Innoweave coach Sally Fazal, the project managed to establish realistic and attainable goals through a landscape review to arrive at a “scaling hypothesis,” which was tested using informant interviews. This preliminary groundwork resulted in an intended impact statement with specific goals, allowing the project to make decisions regarding the “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How” of program implementation.
When asked what her biggest learning was through the process, Anna Hill, Co-Director of Together project, said: “There are many amazing social change initiatives across Canada that started out as a small, local initiative. By taking time to learn from others about their scaling successes and challenges, you will be much better prepared for the road ahead. We spoke to a range of organizations, government and corporate funders and people with lived experience in our area of program delivery. We developed a perspective on how the Together Project fits into the larger landscape of social change in Canada. In our case, some of our key informant interviews led to future program and funding partnerships.”
Together Project’s experience also reminds us that another important key to a successful Scaling Impact coaching engagement is organizational capacity and carving out the necessary time to do all the work, which can often be a considerable challenge. In Anna’s words, “prioritizing everyone’s time when there were many competing priorities was not easy. But in the end, it was definitely worth the effort.”
Together Project continues to do amazing work in their communities, and Innoweave is proud to have supported them!