The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities' recent report on the state of the sector, A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America identifies “North Star” initiatives designed to improve population health and well-being, increase economic productivity, and lower social costs over time with and through the success of community-based organizations. When fully developed and implemented, these initiatives have the ability to set the sector on a path to unlocking its potential. Participate in workshops specifically aligned with the North Start initiatives, which include:
- Commitment to Outcomes—Efforts should be focused on a common set of widely used outcomes and core measures with accountability and appropriate flexibility. Funding should be targeted to outcomes and results rather than outputs or services delivered.
- Capacity for Innovation—The human services ecosystem must develop its capacity for innovation through better data sharing and analysis, technological strategies, and knowledge and leadership exchange. Public and private funders will also need to recognize the importance of the capacity for innovation, and the need to support that through funding.
- Strategic Partnerships—Community-based organizations must look for opportunities for deeper and disruptive partnerships, mergers, affiliations, and networks with other organizations and related systems to realize maximum value and impact. Grants from public and private funders should include allocating financial resources toward partnership, merger, and network development activities.
- New Financial Strategies—Community-based organizations and their boards of directors must look to develop more robust finance and financial risk management capabilities, including scenario planning, recovery and program continuity planning, benchmarking and self-rating, reporting, and disclosure.