Outcomes: Rethinking What Success Looks Like

Our country faces many complex and entrenched social problems. Great amounts of money, hard work, and goodwill go toward building socially, culturally, economically vibrant communities. But it’s difficult to know what really works to address the underlying issues if we only measure and fund how many band-aids are placed on the symptoms.

Most social-service organizations are funded according to a count of their activities, or outputs. A nonprofit dedicated to fighting homelessness is likely to be paid according to how many people they shelter on a given night. Their funding – despite their mission and passion – doesn’t drive a focus on outcomes, such as how many people move into permanent housing, or progress against the root causes of homelessness.

We are among the pioneering voices encouraging a shift in the US social sector, toward a system in which funding is increasingly tied to the ability to demonstrate that high-quality social services produce results for those in need.

NFF is working proactively on many fronts to inform and propel this shift. Along with our partners, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, we have published a book and launched a nationwide dialogue around what it takes to move the social sector toward outcomes. We have hosted events in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, engaging experts from the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and academic sectors.

Click here to see an explanatory video that outlines the differences between "outputs" and "outcomes."

Learn more at investinresults.org.

Outcomes Campaign Launches

Hundreds of experts from government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and finance gather to share ideas and advance the innovation needed to solve America's most severe problems in healthcare, education, housing, employment, and more.
More on NFF and Outcomes
  • We’re helping nonprofits prepare to measure and be funded based on outcomes.
  • We consult on and invest in projects, education, and outreach for Pay for Success, a vanguard of outcomes-based funding (visit our Learning Hub: payforsuccess.org).
  • We’re financing organizations that are part of the increasing focus on health outcomes.
  • We’re helping community-based human-services providers explore outcomes-oriented partnerships with healthcare organizations.

Join the campaign

investinresults.org