Nonprofit Sector

The Invest in Results Podcast

August 5, 2021

What does it mean to invest in results?  

Mission-driven organizations dedicate their time, talent, and resources to improving lives and communities. Yet they are hindered by a nonprofit funding system that is oriented around counting "outputs," rather than "outcomes." For example, a health center is more likely to receive funding based on an output like the number of times it provides treatment, rather than an outcome like how many patients get healthier as a result of its services. Investing in results means shifting our mentality from funding based on short-term outputs to funding based on long-term, meaningful outcomes. 

This podcast series grew out of a multi-year partnership between NFF and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, exploring the benefits and challenges of outcomes-based funding. It features social sector leaders on topics like measuring outcomes, funding with unrestricted operating support, and building trust into nonprofit-funder relationships. 

We’ve learned a lot on this journey and have come to recognize our blind spots around racial inequities in outcomes-based funding. This series wraps up with a conversation about what we’ve learned and how we’re changing – taking a closer look at who is leading, how we define success, and what outcomes we value.   

Thanks for listening!  

Learn more about investing in results


Introducing the Invest in Results Podcast Series

The Invest in Results initiative explored outcomes and outcomes-based funding in the social sector. It yielded a book and a series of events around the country where nonprofits, philanthropy, academia, and government converged to discuss these issues. This podcast series will highlight key sessions from those events.

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Episode 1: Cooperation, Collaboration, and Change

In this episode, Kristine Alvarez, Director, Advisory Services at Nonprofit Finance Fund explores how successfully measuring outcomes is going to require cooperation, collaboration, and change from nonprofits, philanthropy, government, investors, and private donors. This segment was recorded at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on May 22, 2019.

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Episode 2: The Nonprofit Funding Model Is Broken

In this episode, Fred Ali, President and CEO of Weingart Foundation, in conversation with Fred Blackwell, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation and David Erickson of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, explains how unrestricted operating support from funders is critical to helping nonprofits engage clients and communities, create better infrastructure, and ultimately become more effective organizations. Since recording this podcast, Fred has stepped down as President and CEO of Weingart Foundation. This segment was recorded at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on June 13, 2017. 

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Episode 3: Creating Space for Trust

In this episode, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, joins Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund, and Andrew Plepler, global head of ESG at Bank of America, in a conversation about the steps Ford Foundation has taken to build trust with their grantees and provide them with the flexibility, time, and resources to do their work. This segment was recorded at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on June 5, 2017.

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Episode 4: The Power of Philanthropy

In this episode, join San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell in conversation with David Erickson of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Weingart Foundation President and CEO Fred Ali, as they highlight the role of power within the philanthropic sector and explore the need for philanthropy to partner with local government in order to create systems change. This segment was recorded at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on June 13, 2017.

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Episode 5: Four Steps to Creating True Impact

In this episode, Lisa Fitzpatrick, former Senior Medical Director for DC Department of Healthcare Finance, gives the four steps to creating true impact: engage communities, tailor services, incentivize partners, and shift culture. Lisa is the founder and CEO of Grapevine Health, which creates engaging and entertaining health content for underserved and under-resourced communities. This segment comes from an Invest in Results event recorded at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on September 12, 2017.

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Episode 6: Investing in Health, Not Just Healthcare

In this episode, Tyler Norris, Chief Executive of Well Being Trust, makes the case that in order to improve the health of the country, it is going to take a comprehensive strategy that includes a significant investment of resources, as well as changes in policy. This segment was recorded at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on September 12, 2017. 

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Episode 7: Lessons From a Randomized Control Trial

In this episode, Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance, discusses what it takes for nonprofits to administer randomized control trial studies as a means of measuring outcomes, while also trying to continue delivering immediate services to their communities. Since recording this podcast, Eshauna has left Urban Alliance. This segment comes from an Invest in Results event recorded at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on September 12, 2017. 

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Episode 8: Understanding Rules and Rituals

In this episode, Zia Khan, Vice President, Initiatives and Strategy at The Rockefeller Foundation, highlights the need to recognize and understand rules and rituals in order to spur change, especially when it comes to achieving and measuring outcomes. Since recording this podcast, Zia has a new role: Senior Vice President for Innovation. This segment was recorded at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on June 5, 2017.

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Episode 9: What We’ve Learned and How We’re Changing

For this episode, we asked two NFF staff who have been deeply engaged in outcomes work across the US to reflect back on their takeaways from the Invest in Results project and outcomes-based funding generally. We’ve increasingly recognized our blind spots around racial inequities in the way outcomes-based funding was envisioned and too frequently plays out. We’ll look today at what we’ve learned and how we’re changing so that money, power, and decision rights are centered in those communities – largely communities of color – that have been systematically disconnected from wealth. We’ll hear from Annie Chang, a Director of the Advisory Services team at NFF. She’ll be talking with Jessica LaBarbera, Chief Business Development Officer of the Advisory Services team.

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Visit InvestInResults.org to learn more about this campaign and to download a free copy of the book that fueled this project, “What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities.” You can find Nonprofit Finance Fund at nff.org, tweet us @nff_news, or follow our work on LinkedIn. We’d love for you to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #InvestInResults. We’d like to thank the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for their dedication and collaboration. Thank you for listening!

 

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