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Growth Portfolio

Three years of general operating support, hands-on coaching and thought partnership, and capacity building services.

Growth Portfolio’s one-two punch of advisory services and capacity building is, in many ways, our secret sauce. We’re not just about being your thought partner in mission, we’re also about getting you the just-in-time resources you need to meet challenges head-on and make the space to grow.

Our advisory services are a mashup of business acumen, emotional intelligence, and active problem solving. And our capacity building sources from what we’ve learned over the past 25 years to deliver you the most promising technical assistance support.

There’s no sugarcoating: this experience is intense, requiring a significant time investment from entrepreneurs, like you, who already have a full plate. Half the battle of getting the most out of our Growth Portfolio is coming in at the right time for you and your enterprise. Read on to learn more about the nature of the commitment to determine if this is a fit for you.

Enterprises are assigned a relationship manager — aka primary contact and trusted partner — over the three-year period. The relationship manager’s goal is to be your glue and your guiding light. They spar and ideate with you on how to strengthen your business and employment model and help you navigate the array of REDF resources available. Bonus: they are here to support the entire organization — not just the CEO or executive director.

Getting the most out of this relationship requires a pretty rigorous cadence of communication: typically a 1-hour monthly meeting to check in, share updates, and problem-solve with their relationship manager. You’ll also be asked to attend meetings for capacity building activities (projects that you pick together based on where the need is greatest).

A distillation of what we’ve learned over the past 25 years, the baseline assessment is a tool we use to measure your enterprise’s capacity and help us identify the areas most ready for technical assistance.

Broken down into five key areas — business model, program design, talent, fundraising, and operations (each a driver in ESE growth) — this tool is accompanied by a maturity model that depicts how these areas typically evolve over time.

We gather the inputs for the baseline through questionnaires and interviews, and then we bundle the findings to inform our work together. Good news: it’s a tight synthesis of all the things you’re crushing and an easy read on areas for growth. Grantees should plan to spend roughly 30 hours on this process.

Informed by the baseline assessment, each grantee and their relationship manager co-create a multi-year work plan of targeted technical assistance to help the enterprise to grow. Grantees should anticipate dedicating up to 20 hours per month to these technical assistance projects during the first year of engagement.

Don’t panic: these projects often align with work you’re already doing, and since you helped pick the projects, the intent is that this time pays off for you — saving your team time or maximizing opportunity downstream. (Technical assistance projects will also take place in the second and third years of our engagement.)

Finally, we get that things can change rapidly in social enterprises. So know that your relationship manager will work with you to course-correct as needed.

As we work with you to grow, we also ask you to work with us to inform the field on the impact of this movement and to inform ourselves on the impact of our programming, so we can get stronger too. You’ll be asked to submit reports on the following:

Reporting RequirementDescriptionFrequency
ESE employee intake and exit dataAnonymized data, collected at the individual level, for each ESE employee at point of intake (e.g., demographic information, prior related experiences) and exit (e.g., reason for exit).Semi-Annual
ESE employee follow-up dataAnonymized data, collected at the individual level, for each ESE employee post-employment to understand longer-term outcomesSemi-Annual
FinancialsProfit and loss statement and balance sheetSemi-Annual
Annual Benchmarking SurveyAnnual survey fielded to all ESEs within REDF Community that collects information on leadership demographics, business and program model, and ESE funding sourcesAnnual

We will work with you to determine the best way to manage any data collection constraints. We also commit to sharing aggregated data with our portfolio, funders, and policymakers to facilitate learning and advocate for increased investment in the field.

Finally, on occasion, you may also be asked to complete shorter (<10 minute) surveys on an ad-hoc basis (e.g. feedback on technical assistance projects and an annual pulse survey to understand grantee satisfaction with the Growth Portfolio experience). (Grantees who are also RIIF borrowers will still have to comply with additional reporting requirements as stipulated on the loan agreements.)

How We Work with ESE Leaders

Learn more about our technical assistance