This Evidence in Action blog series highlights the voices of the more than 70 social innovation organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition, the results-driven solutions our community has for our country’s most pressing social problems, and the evidence-based federal programs that are critical to scaling the impact of this work. Today we will hear from Social Finance about its newest outcomes-based financing tool, outcomes rate cards.
Governments across the United States face a recurring dilemma: how to solve intractable social problems despite increasing fiscal constraints. At Social Finance, we believe these social problems can be addressed by driving public resources toward programs that achieve meaningful results. We use Pay for Success as a tool to improve our communities, by aligning partners around the achievement of outcomes, rather than outputs.
Since 2011, Pay for Success in the United States has grown and evolved; projects have launched in 12 states, and dozens more are in development. Pay for Success projects are transforming the way government works across health, employment, criminal justice, education, and more—channeling funds toward outcomes-driven programs.
Since the earliest days of Pay for Success, Social Finance worked to expand access to high-quality services across diverse geographies and issue areas. Now, as part of our efforts to grow the reach of Pay for Success, we are adding an additional outcomes-based financing tool to the Pay for Success Toolbox: outcomes rate cards.
Outcomes rate cards standardize the Pay for Success approach by establishing a menu of outcomes a government seeks to “purchase” for a given issue and target population and the amount it is willing to pay each time a given outcome is achieved. With one outcomes rate card, governments can launch multiple projects, selecting multiple service providers to deliver on the same rate card.
We know that the change that Pay for Success pursues– a shift toward evidence-based policy and funding – is larger than any one project or nonprofit. Outcomes rate cards are one tool to further these efforts, expanding the diverse, high-performing interventions taking on our toughest social challenges.
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