Giving Compass' Take:

• Jessica Faulkner explains how a skateboarding social project, Skateistan, created the Goodpush Alliance to scale their impact by collaborating with the global skating community. 

• How can funders help to start and grow collaborative efforts to achieve scale? Are you effectively collaborating with your peers and others in the social sector? 

• Read about the benefits of collaborative philanthropy

It’s spring 2020 and, like much of the world, skateboarders are on lockdown. Around the world, there are over 200 social skateboarding projects, each aim to empower young people and build community through skateboarding. But as Covid-19 wreaks havoc, the skaters are off the streets. Instead, they are connecting through a webinar series, hosted by Skateistan’s Goodpush Alliance. Coming together to share ideas as to how they can continue to reach their beneficiaries, skate projects in many different locations and contexts are working out how to navigate through the pandemic. ‘Coping with Covid’ was the first of this webinar series, just one of the ways that the Goodpush Alliance is supporting the growth of social skateboarding, built on the ideas of collaboration and sharing the knowledge that Skateistan has built up since its inception in 2008.

Skateistan was the first NGO to combine skateboarding and creative education. It remains the largest international skate NGO (according to a recent global survey of social skateboarding projects), being the only one with an annual budget of over $1million. As well as reaching over 13,000 students since its inception, Skateistan has expanded, both within and outside of Afghanistan. It now runs Skate Schools in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Phnom Penh, and Johannesburg. Construction is underway on a fifth Skate School in Bamyan, Central Afghanistan.

In 2017, the NGO decided to launch a new program called The Goodpush Alliance. The idea was to provide resources and support for the whole social skateboarding sector, which has over 200 organizations. Most initiatives using skateboarding for social change have very limited resources and time. 75 percent of social skate projects have budgets of less than $50,000, and only 31 percent have paid full-time staff members. Given the grassroots nature of this emerging sector of Sport for Development, social skateboarding projects often struggle to achieve sustainability or provide regular training to their staff and volunteers.

Skateistan had been looking for a way to scale its impact globally. Rather than seeking to replicate its own model, which would be expensive, labor-intensive and time-consuming, it began work on a project that could reach tens of thousands of children and young people each year, by providing support for other organizations with shared and similar aims.

That knowledge, from both Skateistan’s experience and the collective knowledge of the sector, forms what is now the Goodpush Toolkit, an open-source, online set of resources which anyone can use to help guide a social skateboarding project. From advice on how to get started, all the way through to promoting inclusion and establishing a child protection policy, the toolkit is designed to support social skate projects, whatever their stage of development.

Goodpush also provides a community forum, where projects can connect directly with each other, as well as hosts events (both online and in-person) where organizations can learn from one another.

With these digital resources Goodpush can continue benefiting  organizations currently working to empower children through skateboarding, and those in the future. The online toolkit enables more social skate projects to spring up, empowered by the collective knowledge of Skateistan and the Goodpush community. The experience that Skateistan has acquired in 12 years of operation can now benefit over 10,000 children and young people per year, instead of 2,500 (the direct beneficiaries of Skateistan’s programs).

Read the full article about scale through collaboration by Jessica Faulkner at Skoll Foundation.