Scaling Programs with Research Evidence and Effectiveness (SPREE) is a process that provides insights into conditions that can help identify and support effective interventions that are ready to be scaled. Foundations can apply SPREE to help them and their grantees scale successfully. Implementing SPREE can assist foundations in two ways:

  1. Using evaluation research as a tool to determine which interventions are likely to produce desired outcomes

  2. Identifying those organizations ready to scale them

Since 2016, AmeriCorps has applied the SPREE process to determine how to identify effective interventions conducted by grantees and decide which of those to scale.


AmeriCorps has found that the SPREE process accomplished the following:

  • It identified the primary reasons why an intervention did not meet the standards set for effectiveness: the evidence that could establish whether the program produced desired outcomes did not consistently provide favorable results and the evidence could not establish that the intervention produced the desired outcomes.

  • The process highlighted the need for more detailed and structured information from grantees about their readiness to scale an intervention. Because scaling documents were developed before AmeriCorps adopted the SPREE process, information provided was not always specific enough to assess readiness, the criteria for which are now clarified through the SPREE process.

  • The SPREE process fostered conversations about the desire to incorporate evidence in decision-making and scaling. It spurred discussion on how best to use evidence as a basis for funding intervention scaling and support grantees in documenting the potential effectiveness of their interventions.

For more information, download the full 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 case study 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:


  • 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 Evidence-Based Models: Document Review Rubrics: The guide is a two-part rubric for systematically reviewing documents that will help practitioners to identify the critical components of intervention effectiveness and describe plans for scaling the effective intervention.


  • Scaling Checklists: Assessing Your Level of Evidence and Readiness (SCALER): This report 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.


Case Studies:

Further information

Scaling, Best Practice Dissemination
Implementing Organization
AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation Commissioned Report
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Outcome Category
Financial literacy
Aging in place
Obesity and food
Access to care
School readiness
K-12 success
Post-secondary educational support
Energy efficiency
At-risk ecosystems
Green jobs
Veterans and military families served
Improving AmeriCorps
Study Type(s)
Study Design(s)
Mathmatica: Nan Maxwell, Scott Richman
Published Year