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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Walker

Q26 & 27: Nonprofit Scaling and Growth

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

My pre-survey reading opened my mind to the number of ways that intellectual property assets are used to expand market opportunities. Intellectual property is one asset that can be leveraged to grow or scale a nonprofit organization. It is something I have seen done by previous employers and clients. I wondered how prevalent it would be within this sample.

The 19 nonprofits were asked if the nonprofit’s intellectual property is leveraged to grow or scale the nonprofit organization and if they have specific growth or scaling goals.

Does the organization leverage intellectual property to grow or scale the organization? Yes, no, and I don't know given as answer options.
2014 Survey: Question 26

Does the organization have specific growth/scaling goals? Yes or no answer options.
2014 Survey: Question 27

All 19 respondents then indicated that the organization has specific growth/scaling goals and that IP is leveraged to grow or scale the organization.

From responses to previous questions, we know that nine (47.37%) license the IP, eight (42.10%) use it to generate revenue, and almost all use IP to expand market opportunities. All of these IP strategies can be critical components for scaling the organization. Let’s break it down a little further into how many utilize which strategies.

  • Seven (7) of the nineteen (19) utilize all three strategies.

  • Five (5) use two of the strategies.

  • Six (6) only use one strategy.

  • One (1) organization indicated that it did not use any of the strategies in its operations, which means they leverage IP in a way that was not offered as an answer in previous questions.

A clear majority of nonprofits utilize their intellectual property for external opportunities and revenue goals. The number of strategies utilized does not indicate anything other than a diversity of strategy. This survey does not tell us if the organizations are successful at managing several strategies. Strategies should also align with organizational objectives and mission, which may narrow the utility of some of these strategies for any one organization. The one thing the data does tell us is that some nonprofits have identified that their intellectual property assets are valuable assets for more than direct service and/or program delivery.


You can skip to the summary of all of the responses in the Social Entrepreneurs and Intellectual Property Management paper. Or, read through each of the blog posts tagged as Intellectual Property Data V1.0 for a more recent analysis of the data.

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