Pay for Success: Here’s What's Happening

January 23, 2017

NEW YORK, Jan. 23, 2017 — Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) has launched an easy-to-use, one-stop resource for comprehensive, up-to-date information about the fast-moving and complex field of Pay for Success (PFS).

The revamped Pay For Success Learning Hub features an interactive map and detailed descriptions of PFS projects across the US, plus explanations of the PFS model and the issue areas in which it has most commonly been used to date, including criminal justice, early childhood care and education, and homelessness.

The Hub also includes fact sheets, sample documents, readiness questionnaires, market analyses, and news of current funding opportunities and learning events from NFF and many others in the field. It is designed to help both PFS newcomers and seasoned service providers, governments, investors, and their partners learn about and share best practices, projects, and progress toward shared social goals.

The PFS approach to social services ties payment for service delivery to measurable outcomes for the people and communities who need them most. Strong service providers deliver high-quality programs designed to improve lives and prevent future problems. Mission-driven investors cover the upfront delivery costs. If the predetermined goals are achieved, investors are repaid – often by governments – with a return. Governments benefit from PFS by using public dollars to pay only for results, addressing problems at earlier and more cost-effective stages, and building a data-driven understanding of how to best address social issues. And service providers and their clients benefit when the PFS approach frees them from the red tape of compliance that usually comes with funding and allows them to focus instead on innovating and implementing effective services.

Over the past five years, PFS has attracted significant attention, bipartisan support, and spirited debate across the country. More than a dozen projects have launched in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington, DC, and elsewhere, and nearly 50 more are in development.

"Pay for Success has accelerated a national conversation about outcomes-based funding and how to best incentivize, measure, and drive positive social change," said Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of NFF. "The Hub extends the value of the time, money, and thought invested in PFS by creating an open space for stakeholders to share what’s working, and what isn't, in efforts to do better for people in need."

NFF invests in and consults on PFS projects, and launched the Learning Hub in 2011 to serve the broader field with research and knowledge-sharing. Visit to learn and share.

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