I am currently working on a proposal to help bring funders together around the issue of scaling up successful projects to achieve large impact. The idea is to examine how you address the challenges of scale, like finding the resources you need and applying successful ideas in new contexts.
I find this really exciting: if we can learn lessons from successfully scaled-up projects we can perhaps influence practice, and make a difference for people all over the world.
A brilliant trainer I once worked with at Skillshare International, David Harries (dvharries.co.uk), used to start his systems improvement training by pointing out that, on the whole, on a global scale, things get better. A hard one to argue perhaps when we look at negative news stories, and particularly considering global climate change, but I think he was right.
Anyone who has worked in the NGO sector for a while will become aware of the importance of how funding is made available, as well as how much, and of the struggle for funders and funded alike to share understanding and improve practice. But there is plenty of evidence of funders responding to the external environment and leading change, whether that's improved cross-sector collaboration on key outcomes, promotion of rights around gender, disability or having a say, or simply targeted funding at strategically important groups. I'm hoping that civil society can now find a new way to work with funders on this issue of scale. As work on this progresses I'll try to share news of it here.
EDIT 06/08/14: I've provided a report to a client to support development of a partnership on this work.