The Evaluation Exchange: "Scaling Impact"
“Scaling Impact” provides a useful discussion on the issues evaluators face when assisting organizations scale up their initiatives. Scaling is the process of replicating or adapting an intervention to a different activity site or for a new organization. Evaluation tools are used throughout the scaling process and to share the results with other organizations. In this issue, articles include such topics as the theory behind scaling, case studies from non-profits, and interviews with practitioners. Case studies emphasize organizations that assist youth development through education or extra-curricular support. Scaling holds promise as a method to create a unified approach for evaluation measures across disciplines. Programs, ideas, skills, and policies can all be scaled. In order for scaling to be effective, the intervention needs a strong theory of change or logic model that shows a causal relationship between the intervention and the outcomes. Once the initiative has been scaled, it needs to have the flexibility to be adaptive to the results of evaluation. Scaling, like evaluation, takes time and resources. It is critical that data collection systems are in place throughout the scaling process to evaluate the methods and outcomes of scaling. Sharing the outcomes of scaling efforts can help other organizations implement successful initiatives. Founded in 1983, the Harvard Family Research Project is dedicated to identifying evaluation strategies that strengthen the capacity of organizations serving children, youth, families, and their communities.