Close-up photo of watermelon zoanthid coral

Taking conservation to scale

A framework for achieving impact at scale

Many conservation organizations are setting ambitious, large-scale goals for addressing today’s daunting environmental challenges. But they often lack a clear plan for achieving these goals and have large gaps in the logic of their theories of change.

A new framework, collaboratively developed and tested with six real-world conservation programs, sets out to address these gaps.

Central to the scaling framework are five main approaches for taking a concept to scale, each with its own generic theory of change pathway that conservation teams can adapt to their purposes.

The framework provides a decision tree to help conservation teams choose which scaling approach(es) to use, depending on the situation they are facing. It also provides guidance and tools, such as the FOS Scaling Challenge, for mapping out who needs to do what at the desired scale of impact and how the system works.

By adopting our framework, practitioners will find the pathways to bring their work to scale and funders will be able to support grantees in developing solid strategies for scaling. As designing for scale is demystified and becomes the norm, the conservation community can greatly enhance its global impact.

Final report

Findings and further questions

The final report describes the original question and what the network did to answer it, outlines the key lessons learned and lists key questions moving forward. It also describes each of the five scaling approaches and summarizes the partner programs and their scaling work.

Stay tuned for a full description of the framework!

Will your idea scale?

The FOS Scaling Challenge

An example of the tools we've developed to help you achieve impact at scale is the FOS Scaling Challenge – a step-by-step method that you can use to road-test your scaling idea. It helps you sketch out your scaling strategy by mapping out how the system works, defining the ultimate change you want to see, clarifying how you can get there, and checking the feasibility of the strategy.

Get support

Take your idea to scale

Want coaching or support in applying our scaling framework to your own context? Contact us to arrange anything from a brief consult to a fully facilitated workshop to walk you through the process of scaling your project, program, or idea.


A learning network on taking conservation to scale

Foundations of Success (FOS) formed a learning network with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and six real-world conservation programs to collaboratively develop and test a systematic framework for taking conservation to scale.


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