Unit 2 – Define a plan to scale social innovation

This unit should be able to guide the social innovator towards the concrete steps to be undertaken for the successful scaling. To do so you need to know and outline the stages of elaboration of a scaling plan and be able to identify the areas to be addressed during the scalability check. To guarantee the success of social innovation scaling you should also be able to define the resources needed.

This unit focuses on the need to revise the social innovation in order to check its scaling potential and build a consistent scaling plan.

You can watch Scaling Plan: What Is It & What Should I Do? in order to get an idea about what is the Scaling Plan.

In the DIY toolkit on the NESTA foundation’s website you can find some tips and an useful tool for developing a scaling plan.

Your future organization_Mod5_Unit2

Note that the plan is subject of permanent monitoring and evaluation and acts as a guide to the innovator. It is also subject of a periodical update according to the circumstances.

The Scaling Plan can be the basis for attracting partners in the process of its implementation!

Before starting the development of a scaling plan, you first have to perform a scalability check. In the Social Replication Toolkit you could find a lot of useful information regarding the whole stage of scaling and the scalability check in particular. You could do it by taking the following test “Am I ready to replicate” and by applying the Scalability Assessment Tool (SAT) , p. 21.

To support a social innovator in preparing for successful scaling, you will have to assist him/ her in carefully planning the resources needed. It might be useful to make a PEST or SWOT analysis, presented in Module 2 especially if the scaling of the innovation is expanding to a new region or another country.
This can be done manually, by outlining in table format (e.g. using MS Excel) all the needed resources, including human (personnel), financial (both income and expenditure), as well as technical security/ capacity requirements (e.g. equipment needed) for a period of 1-3 (one to three) years on average.


  • When defining the human resources, it is advisable to you use the full-time equivalence (FTE)[1].
  • When defining the financial resources, you will have to envisage all the financial sources (e.g.: EU programmes, donors, competitions, etc.). It is good also to envisage the revenues expected from the scaling so that the balance is calculated for the purpose of sustainability during the period referred.
  • When the social innovator is in search of funding three are different options. We recommend you to go through the following ones which are appropriate for social innovations:

Grant funding

Funding through grants is mostly thematic with specific objectives designed and implemented by various types of funds (e.g. philanthropic) and/ or departments of the European Commission, or executive agencies at EU level.

There are many types of grants, among which:

  • EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (Employment and Social Innovation), particularly the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis.

Awards and prizes -> Competitions:

Nowadays Social Innovations are becoming a more a more regular beneficiary of competitions and awards.  Some are organised by private companies as part of their social responsibility; other types of organisations and associations and also by National and European Institutions. Below you can find some examples of these:

[1] 1FTE is the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The concept is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. (e.g. when an employee is engaged on a full-time basis (8 hours per day), his FTE will be 1. All the part time employed staff’s labour will be correlated to the full time equivalence which is 1. Thus if an employee is engaged for 4 hours a day, his FTE will be 0,5 and so on