Radical Focus and Driving Demand for Scale

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By Nancy Lublin & Aria Finger

DoSomething.org just cut more than half of its programs. That’s right, we cut the majority of the programs we offered.

No, we weren’t in a financial crisis. And no, we didn’t have some sort of front-page scandal. We wanted to scale our impact. Shrinking to grow might seem counterintuitive, but remember when your mom told you to cut your hair to keep it healthy and let it grow? Yeah, it’s sort of like that.

DoSomething.org’s purpose is to make the world suck less by activating young people around the world to participate in causes they’re passionate about. Our 2.5 million members tackle campaigns on issues such as poverty, violence, and the environment. We’re not focused on the high achievers or young advocates (who would do something no matter what). We attract teens and college students who want to engage in an awesome campaign and make change happen—those “everyday young people” that make up 80 percent of the youth market.

To truly scale, we knew we had to “audit and cut.” We looked at our programs and asked: Where do we have a competitive advantage? Where does the market truly need us? Does each program directly relate to our goal of five million active members by 2015? Can we scale this program?

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