Scaling – How To Adapt a Business Process to Each Context Successfullyback

Yves Salama, CEO of CharityMatrix

Who could have anticipated that Starbucks would open 50+ stores in France, home of the original cafè crème, but not in Italy, home of the original latte? While Starbucks adopted the Italian model (coffee as a social event) to the U.S. and 43 other countries, they could not improve the experience for Italians.  Streamlining the business process to make it portable and adaptable to other areas requires that evaluation include the context: the region or culture. 

If the program is to provide books to young children in the US in partnership with churches, then packaging the process should address sourcing the books in local languages and finding alternatives to distribution where there are no churches. This ‘feet on the ground’ expertise was brought up during the conference, where it was suggested that the nonprofit community might need to find a creative mechanism to share their cultural experience.  Think of it as nonprofit ambassadors for each country or community to help shape how assistance might be implemented effectively. More than just fitting with the needs of the population or region, it is also necessary to understand how the assistance impacts the life journey of residents.  

It’s hard to learn how to read when listening to your stomach growl.  

Consultants are helping nonprofits learn from the private sector. The business process re-engineers are helping organizations do things faster, better, cheaper, and have developed sophisticated tools to remove delays and costs from their processes. Generally, this means eliminating unnecessary tasks (send a copy to Joe), making sure it is fluid (ship daily) and focusing only on the most effective solution (we discuss domestic violence during a meal we provide to the village).   

Tools such as Blackbaud CRM, Salesforce for Nonprofits, and  Microsoft Dynamics are designed to help nonprofits manage the email fundraising function and incorporate information on how to best accomplish that process.  Similarly, at CharityMatrix, we have packaged a set of tools to help large nonprofits  develop and manage their online presence. We accomplish this by providing a single source of information about online media, an online process for managing your team and content, and guidelines for developing and maintaining your website and social media content.

I hope that finding new ways to share resources, information, and technology will be one conversation the 2011 conference will pursue. Another topic, fraught with ambiguity, is evaluating performance. If nonprofits are going to cooperate nationally and globally to manage their resources, we have to come up with an acceptable method to balance the following:

  • short term vs long term (providing housing vs job training)   
  • prevention vs remediation (give a man a fish vs. teaching him to fish) 
  • depth vs. breadth (how much help vs. how many impacted)

The inaugural conference broke the ice on the topic, now comes the heavy lifting. 

For complete coverage of the 2010 inaugural Social Impact Exchange Conference: Taking Successful Innovation to Scale, go to Ventureneer SIEX10.