GDI team shares insights on scaling impact with 400 social sector leaders in China

What does it mean to scale impact? Why does it matter? How can we do it better?

GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang shared insights from GDI’s research on these questions at the Effective Philanthropic Multiplier (EPM)’s annual convening in China earlier this month to an audience of over 400 social sector leaders and practitioners.

The Effective Philanthropy Multiplier (EPM) is a platform that facilitates the accelerated replication of effective social products and models across China. EPM was initiated by 17 leading organizations in the sector: Narada Foundation, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and One Foundation, China Merchants Charitable Foundation, Xinhua Philanthropy, Tencent Foundation, JD Philanthropy, Shanghai United Foundation, the Amity Foundation, NPI, SEE Foundation, Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation, ThoughtWorks, Sina Weibo Philanthropy, TJA Foundation, China Foundation Center, and Anna Chennault Foundation.

In its first two years, EPM has selected and supported 53 “effective products,” and facilitated 11,928 replications (including 2,857 nonprofits and volunteer associations, and 9,071 schools). EPM held its annual meeting to share their experience and achievements in the past two years and discuss scaling up impact with social sector leaders and practitioners.

GDI, together with China Donor Roundtable (CDR), led a seminar on scaling up impact for over 40 international and local foundations including Oxfam HK, Ford Foundation, and One Foundation. The discussion aimed to use the concepts of end-games and pathways to scale to help participants better understand their portfolios, drawing on GDI’s “What’s Your Endgame?” Stanford Social Innovation Review article and additional strategic research that EPM and GDI conducted on how EPM could better select and support products to scale up their impact (supported by Narada Foundation, Sanyi Foundation, and Zhaoshang Foundation).

GDI took foundation leaders through the research and focused on two case studies (Huiling and Shifangyuan) to show how these ideas about scaling impact operate in practice. The team also facilitated small group discussions for foundations to share their own experiences and insights on how to better scale-up the impact of their portfolio.

“We’re excited about building real initiatives that have impact at scale,” said GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang. “For our research and strategy work to have any meaning, it needs to be grounded in practice and needs to deliver real results and value that we can measure. That’s why we build off this foundational research and next year will continue to work with the fantastic EPM team to build a ‘scale-up academy.’ The academy will put our findings into practice to significantly improve the social sector’s ability to select and support organizations aiming to scale their impact.”

Interested in learning more? You can watch the full video of GDI’s presentation, download the English slides, or read the first of a four-part Chinese article series on the topic where we explore the concept of scaling up, why it matters, and introduce the endgame framework as a starting point for organizations wishing to start their scale-up journey.


Sound fun? Want to get involved in GDI’s East Asia scaling impact efforts? GDI is currently looking for top talent to join our fast-growing Greater China team that is at the forefront of the Chinese social sector. We work hand-in-hand with partners, bringing our core competencies in strategy consulting, capacity building, design thinking, and implementation, to design and build initiatives that achieve impact at scale. Check out our Job Posts here (Chinese) or here (English).

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