Growing Pains at Santropol Roulant, Part B: Sustaining and Disseminating the « Magic »

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CASE STUDY. Case B focuses on how a grassroots non-profit might go about disseminating successful social innovation ideas and how this might contribute to or impede organizational growth and/or stability.

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Growing Pains at Santropol Roulant, Part B: Sustaining and Disseminating the « Magic »: Abstract

Case B focuses on how a grassroots non-profit might go about disseminating successful social innovation ideas and how this might contribute to or impede organizational growth and/or stability (see case A and case B).

This three case examines the challenges faced by a grassroots non-profit struggling to carry out its mission and stabilize its finances in an increasingly competitive and demanding funding environment over a twenty-year period. It examines the issues faced by non-profits as they chart a course for growth despite precarious funding and divergent stakeholder expectations, examining the often difficult and paradoxical decisions that non-profit managers must make to ensure the survival of their organizations.

Santropol Roulant (SR) is a small, community-based non-profit offering a meals-on-wheels service to individuals living with a loss of autonomy. Founded in 1995, SR’s mission is to provide an important service to the community while enabling young people to gain valuable work and leadership experience. Despite numerous setbacks, many typical of those encountered by grassroots non-profits, SR managed to grow and thrive without compromising its “ethos” and happily celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015.

Teaching objectives

Educate students about the challenges facing grassroots non-profits as they struggle to reconcile their mission with funder expectations. Identify the funding sources available to non-profits and debate the advantages and disadvantages of each. Examine avenues for growth for small non-profits, and discuss strategies for the wider-scale dissemination of successful social innovation ideas.

Main themes covered

  • Managing the growth of small, grassroots non-profits
  • Fund development strategies adopted by non-profits
  • Growth and its impact on organizational culture
  • Dissemination of social innovation ideas: scaling up or scaling out

Concepts and theories related to the case

  • Growth strategies for non-profits
  • Dissemination of social innovation ideas

Additional information

Also available in French.

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre for more information.

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