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Scaling Impact

Learn to develop strategies to increase your organization’s impact


How can we make a greater impact?

Leaders and changemakers who set out to solve complex social, economic, or environmental challenges often have one great hope—that if their new approaches turn out to be effective, they can be scaled to a larger level and have an even greater impact. Many want to extend their reach or to develop new offerings to complement their existing efforts. Some may want to expand their impact by changing parts of a system.

In reality, Scaling Impact is far more complex than we thought. The process is rarely a linear enterprise in which changemakers finalize the conditions for scaling in one big push. Instead, it is likely to be a relentless, long-term process of adaptation and change. Scaling requires teams to be serious about learning from both successes and failures, and to have the capacity to build on those insights moving forward.

Developing and implementing a Scaling Impact strategy is a complex process. It is highly context specific and can be challenging and time consuming. Scaling Impact often requires leaders to pursue big organizational changes, including helping their teams build new capacities, skills, and resources, as well as different relationships. It may also necessitate a willingness to let go of particular aspects of existing work and/or embrace an entirely new approach.

Types of scaling

Depending on which resources you consult, there are a variety of Scaling Impact approaches teams can employ to amplify their impact (either stand alone or in combination). Some of the most prominent of these include:

Scaling out: Scaling out is the expansion of an existing program and/or its replication and adaptation in different contexts so that it reaches more people or regions, resulting in more beneficiaries. Examples of scaling out include:

  • An organization replicating a successful school-based program across many different school boards.
  • A regional sustainability network that starts similar networks in other communities.

Scaling out can also include developing new programs or activities to improve the depth and/or range of outcomes for the same beneficiaries. For example:

  • A youth mental health clinic that expands the variety of support services it offers to provide more holistic care to their patients and generate greater outcomes for them.

Scaling up: Scaling up is influencing a broader system. It often focuses on some of the root causes of problems by directing efforts toward changing the system that created the social or environmental problem. An organization trying to scale up might build on its past program- or organization-level success by working to influence policies, curricula, legislation, regulations, institutions, working relationships and/or the flows of financial resources in order to expand their innovation and/or impact. Scaling up can take many forms. For example:

  • An environmental group that has been focused on creating urban green spaces can scale up its impact by working with governments to create carbon pricing mechanisms, or by changing national/provincial regulations on urban planning.

Scaling deep: Changing the “hearts and minds” of people or the organization, system or community (e.g., in terms of narrative, values, beliefs and identities) so that the idea underlying the social innovation is supported and embedded. Scaling deep shifts the cultural DNA by changing widely held societal values and norms. For example:

  • An organization that has exclusively provided personal support services for people with disabilities can scale its impact by trying to change cultural ideas about what it means to contribute and participate in society.

Please note that Innoweave is currently reviewing our strategy and evolving our offerings. Our original coaching streams are available during our 2024 funding round as we gradually refine our approach. Stay up to date by checking back regularly and subscribing to our newsletter.

The Innoweave self-assessment tool is designed to help you determine your organization's readiness and whether your initiative or program model is well suited for Scaling Impact.


This assessment has 5 questions.

Please respond to each of the questions to the best of your ability by choosing the option that most accurately reflects your organizational context.

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We want to increase our impact by… (choose the one that most closely aligns with your intentions)
How would you describe what you are trying to scale?
How clearly do you understand what it is you are trying to scale?
Which statement best fits with your goals for your scaling strategy?
Do you have the time, energy, and resources to manage the short- and medium-term costs (e.g., time, financial, and human) involved in scaling?

Info Session

We encourage teams interested in Innoweave’s Scaling Impact stream to review our latest Information Session recording:

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Additional Resources


Innoweave offers coaching support to leaders whose organizations are well positioned to implement a scaling approach. You can connect with an Innoweave coach to help you explore and implement your initiative. Then apply to Innoweave for funds to support that coaching engagement.

Yassen Yordanov
Juniper Glass
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Apply for support

Teams of 2 to 5 participants are eligible to apply for Innoweave coaching support if they have submitted an Expression of Interest and it has been approved.

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These are our most frequently asked questions.

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We are not sure how to demonstrate the impact of our program, but we know we do good work. Can we apply for Scaling Impact support to grow?

Part of the preliminary work for Scaling Impact is helping teams identify which parts of your program or service are generating the strongest impacts, and then planning to develop a plan to scale those impacts. If you aren’t sure how to demonstrate or measure impact, you may wish to explore other Innoweave resources (like Impact & Strategic Clarity) to help you better identify these core elements.

We have already developed a scaling strategy and are looking for funding to implement it. Can Innoweave help?

Innoweave provides support for teams to access coaching to develop and advance strong Scaling Impact plans. Our coaching support mandate does not allow us to provide funds for project implementation.

What social impact does the Scaling Impact initiative have to generate for Innoweave to support it?

Innoweave is happy to support models that generate positive impacts across almost all domains in Canada. We do not, however, support projects for which the primary beneficiaries are outside of Canada (e.g., international development projects).