Guide to Milestones

We seek out the best organizations we can find and fund them to do what they do best. These are our guidelines for annual milestones for our grantees.

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For Mulago the milestones are both a process and a document.  The process (a series of conversations) allows us to come to a better understanding of an organization’s current activities, scale strategy and evidence of impact.  The document helps align our expectations and hone-in on what the most critical developments will be over the next few years.  Whenever possible, we try to tie the grant milestones to strategic or operating plans organizations already have in place.  

THE BIG PICTURE

These details frame the conversations we have with an organization and the milestones we collect from them. It gives us an opportunity to understand the big picture of the work before diving into specificity. 

 

Mission
In 8-words or less, what is the central mission or purpose of your organization?  This should include a verb, target population, and an outcome you can measure (more info here). 
Solution

To achieve your mission, you need a solution that achieves real impact.  Your solution is driven by a big idea, focused by an intended outcome on a specific target population, and delivered via a replicable impact model. 

  • Big Idea: In one short phrase, tell us what your big idea is. For example:
  • Professionalized – paid, supported, supervised, supplied -  community health workers
  • One stop shops for affordable health diagnostics
  • Bundled financing, inputs & training for farmers
  • Outcome: What outcome does your solution aim to achieve?  
  • Target Population: Who/what does your solution serve? 
  • Impact Model: List the 3-5 key elements that drive impact and are the heart of your solution. This includes the core activities or components that lead to impact and how it gets to your target population.
Impact

What are you trying to measure and prove, and how far along are you? 

  • Indicator: List 1-3 indicators that you follow to build evidence of impact for your solution. These should directly relate to the outcome you’re driving for. 
  • State of Evidence:  How far along are you in demonstrating progress on this indicator? For example, are you perfecting your internal monitoring, getting an external evaluation, or starting an RCT? 
Potential of the Solution

In 1-2 sentences, share your current sense of the potential scope of your solution, e.g. the intersection of where it could work and where it is needed (settings or geography). 

Scale Strategy

In a short narrative, describe how you plan to get your solution to scale. Include: 

  • Doer at scale: Who does the heavy lift to replicate your solution at scale (you, other NGOs, other businesses/market, government)?  If it involves others, how will you engage and support their efforts?
  • Payer at scale: Who is paying for it at scale (government via taxes or Big Aid, customers/earned revenue, philanthropy)?  If they aren’t paying for it now, how will you get them to pay for it?
  • Accelerators: If relevant, comment on your key accelerators of scale, especially technology and policy.
Current Stage
  • Stage of Solution:  Are you in R&D, replication, or scale-up? 
  • What We Do:  What are the key activities your organization currently does to implement your solution? For example, do you directly deliver all the key elements of the impact model (described above as part of your solution) or do you train others to deliver it? 
  • Delivery to Date: This gives us a sense of the scale of your key delivery metric.  Provide both cumulative figures and annual data on your key delivery metric(s) for the most recent fiscal year (e.g. # farmers enrolled).
Three-year Ambition

In a few bullets, please describe where you hope to be in 3 years with regard to the stage of your solution (R&D, replication, scale), the number of customers/beneficiaries, your scale strategy and your organization. Be specific (but high level) and feel free to draw on your current strategic plan.

If you want more detailed milestones guidelines you can view the full document below.

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