I have one word for you: IMPACT. This is the future. There is no doubt in my mind that the success of Child & Family Service (CFS) - either as a single organization or in collaboration with other organizations - into the future will be determined by our ability to demonstrate measurable and verifiable impact on people’s lives.
As government funding continues to decline, I believe one key to increasing private support will be our ability to prove that we are truly producing benefits and measurable, verifiable results - with strong data to back this up. Stories of success will still be important to share with our supporters, but some private donors view their charitable giving as investments and they will be looking for a social return on investment (SROI). Foundations and government funders will increasingly focus on programs that work and organizations that are getting the job done in addressing social problems. They will also increasingly look at other indicators of effectively managed and high-performing nonprofit organizations in determining which ones they will fund.
While quantifying and measuring social impact is challenging to achieve, I believe organizations that are disciplined and drive a performance-oriented culture to produce outcomes will be the “go-to” organizations for funders in the future. I intend for Child & Family Service to be that “go-to” organization here in Hawai‘i. CFS has already made strides in this direction and every day our direct service staff members see people improve and change their lives for the better by overcoming what appear to be insurmountable obstacles. So, we know we are helping people, but we also need to verify this through reliable and convincing data to match the individual success stories. CFS has also been implementing “evidence-based” practices in a number of our programs that are already proven by research to work.
Over the coming months, we will be taking the necessary steps to align our entire organization to this focus on measurable outcomes and impact. I am very excited as we will challenge ourselves to select not just outcomes we can measure but the most meaningful outcomes that the people we serve need and want to achieve.
While we touch the lives of over 40,000 people in Hawai‘i each year, what is most important is that the people we serve are better off than when we started providing service to them. This is an ambitious goal, but I am confident that CFS has the dedicated and talented staff to get us to that destination: every program will produce measurable benefits for the people we serve.
CFS provides many services that help us achieve our mission of strengthening families and fostering the healthy development of children, so proving that these services are producing true benefits to the people we serve translates into “mission measurement” and more importantly “mission achievement”.