Here’s a novel idea: When you pay for something, expect something in return.
Harriet McDonald, Executive Vice President of the Doe Fund in New York, is challenging governments to do just that. In her Chronicle of Philanthropy article, McDonald argues that governments currently pay nonprofits and other companies to provide social services without ensuring that their services are making a difference.
For example, the State of Pennsylvania recently determined that individuals who spent time in State-funded halfway houses actually had higher recidivism rates than those who skipped them. Based on this data, Pennsylvania decided that it will only pay the companies that can demonstrate their ability to lower recidivism rates. As the valley girl in me would say, Duh!
So why is it taking so long for governments to require quantifiable and verifiable results from the social service agencies it supports? It may be because no one likes change, especially one that will require rigorous new data keeping from governments as well as the nonprofits and businesses that provide the services.
Tell us whether you think government funding is about to get a facelift.