Upon carefully reading the application guidelines for many grants, it becomes apparent that something many foundations and donors expect of your proposal is to show the project’s scalability. But what does this actually mean? And why does a donor want to see this? In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about scalability.
Scalability basically entails that a project idea can be adapted to a bigger scale than just the local context. It also means ideas and concepts that you propose can be used in a different context again. It will thereby affect many more people than the original proposal intends to.
Why is scalability important for a donor?
Scalability is a very important concept for donors. Indeed, they want to make sure that their money is invested in a way that gives maximum benefits. When funding an, initially, local idea, that can be scaled up to an entire country or more, a small seed funding will go a long way. Donors can thereby make sure they have the maximum impact, even if they only start by funding a small, local, project.
How can you show scalability?
When the donor’s guidelines ask how scalability can be achieved, you should spend some time to develop a good concept and strategy. Being able to explain this well in your proposal will go a long way and help you convince your donor.
A very simple way of scaling up would be geographical. If you propose a project that would only work locally, you can always explain how you would plan to take it to the regional or even national level if the local project is a success.
If you develop a technology or a new approach towards a problem that could be used in projects working in similar contexts, be sure to explain how you would like to share your results in a form that would be beneficial for everybody. Your donor will be very happy if you give them a way of using your results in future projects and thus having an effect on a bigger scale.
Scaling up is not necessarily something the donors want you or your organization to do personally. It is just something they want to see possible. If you manage to show clearly that your project has a great scalability, the donors will be much more willing to fund an initially local project, as it would have the potential to benefit many more people in the future.