This report is designed to deepen the agency’s understanding of the most effective interventions it has funded, and its knowledge base on scaling them. The project is also designed to generate both practical knowledge about how AmeriCorps and other funders can successfully scale effective interventions. 

Goals:
The goal of this report is to examine the extent to which organizations describe the intervention and organizational factors that are important for being ready to scale an intervention with evidence of effectiveness.

Research Questions:
The research questions are:

  1. How do organizations demonstrate that their interventions are ready for scaling?
  2. How do organizations demonstrate they are ready for scaling interventions?
  3. How do organizations demonstrate overall readiness for scaling?

Findings
This report found that:

  • Intervention Readiness:
    • Well-specified intervention: Fifty-six percent of organizations specified the intervention in their scaling plans with full or limited details. When describing the intervention, organizations most often lacked a description of the qualifications for those who will deliver the intervention (personnel needs) and a definition of intervention completion. 
    • Well-defined target population: All organizations described the target population for the intervention with full or limited details. 
    • Implementation supports: Forty-eight percent of organizations described all implementation supports with full or limited details. When organizations did not describe all supports, they most often lacked a description of continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes. 
  • Organizational Readiness:
    • Enabling context: Twelve percent of organizations specified all three components of enabling context in at least a limited way. Organizations were more likely to describe support from organization leadership, stakeholders, and partners and least likely to describe encountering past implementation challenges.
    • Implementation infrastructure: Thirty-six percent of organizations provided in their scaling plans at least some description of financial resources, intervention materials, sufficient personnel, physical space, and human resource management systems. Organizations’ scaling plans most often lacked a description of intervention materials. Financial resources and personnel for the intervention were most frequently described.
  • Overall Readiness for Scaling:
    • Overall scaling readiness: Using the scaling readiness framework developed for this study, we found that 32 percent of organizations provided at least some description of all three intervention readiness conditions; 4 percent of organizations provided at least some description of both organizational readiness conditions; and no organization provided at least some description of all five conditions of scaling readiness.
    • Scaling readiness by AmeriCorps requirements: When examining scaling readiness based on an assessment of those elements of our framework that align with AmeriCorps reporting requirements, we found that demonstration of scaling readiness increases. With a revised definition of scaling readiness, we found that 40 percent of all organizations specify all three conditions of intervention readiness, 36 percent of all organizations specify both conditions of organizational readiness, and 24 percent of all organizations provide some description of all five conditions of scaling readiness.

For more information, download the report.

Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM) Project

 The Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) initiated the Scaling Evidence-Based Models project to support the scaling of effective interventions. This report is part of ORE’s Scaling Evidence-Based Models project, which includes additional resources that contribute to the study and application of scaling effective interventions. Below are additional scaling resources:

Guides:

  • Scaling an Intervention: Recommendations and Resources: The guide provides five key recommendations that will help funders like AmeriCorps, other government agencies, and philanthropic organizations identify which funded interventions are effective, enhance their knowledge base on scaling them, and pursue scaling.

  • How to Fully Describe an Intervention: This guide is intended to help practitioners to thoroughly describe their intervention and communicate the following to potential funders or stakeholders.

  • Build Organizational Capacity to Implement an Intervention: This guide will help practitioners prepare to implement their desired intervention through building organizational capacity, which involves establishing the organizational structure, workforce, resources, processes, and culture to enable success.

  • How to Structure Implementation Supports: This guide will help practitioners develop formal strategies (also known as implementation supports) to help consistently deliver an intervention as it was designed, which is especially helpful for organizations scaling an intervention and assessing implementation fidelity.

  • Making the Most of Data: This guide will help practitioners maximize the use of their intervention data to help their organizations improve program implementation and provide evidence to funders about effectiveness.

  • What Makes for a Well-Designed, Well-Implemented Impact Study: This guide is intended to help practitioners ensure that their evaluators produce high-quality impact studies.

  • Baseline Equivalence: What it is and Why it is Needed: This guide is designed to help practitioners and researchers work together to design an impact study with baseline equivalence and in turn learning how to determine if an impact study is likely to produce meaningful results.

  • Scaling Programs with Research Evidence and Effectiveness (SPREE): This article focuses on how the foundations can apply the SPREE process and provides insights into conditions that can help identify and support effective interventions that are ready to be scaled.

Tools:

  • Scaling Checklists: Assessing Your Level of Evidence and Readiness (SCALER): This guide describes a framework that identifies how organizations can improve both their readiness to scale an intervention and the intervention’s readiness to be scaled, so that intervention services are best positioned to improve outcomes for a larger number of participants. Each checklist in the SCALER provides summary scores to reflect how ready an intervention and organization might be for scaling.

Reports:

Case Studies:

Full report

Full Report

Further information

Program/Intervention
Best Practice Dissemination, AmeriCorps Research Guidance to Scale Programming
Implementing Organization
Best Practice Dissemination, AmeriCorps Research Guidance to Scale Programming
AmeriCorps Program(s)
AmeriCorps State and National
Social Innovation Fund

Office of Research and Evaluation
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Opportunity Youth
Schools
Nonprofits
Tribes
Veterans and Military Families
Rural
Suburban
Urban
Low-income
Outcome Category
Disaster assistance provided
Financial literacy
Housing
Employment
School readiness
Post-secondary educational support
K-12 success
Energy efficiency
At-risk ecosystems
Awareness of environmental issues
Green jobs
Aging in place
Obesity and food
Access to care
Veterans and military families served
Nonprofit development
Improving AmeriCorps
Other
Economic Opportunity
Study Type(s)
Review or Meta-analysis
Study Design(s)
Non-experimental
Researcher/Evaluator
Mathematica
Published Year
2021