Community-based organizations face myriad challenges to effectively addressing the critical needs of their communities. While organizations are unique in what they face as their most critical priority, a common denominator for success lies in ensuring an enterprise focus exists for implementing solutions.
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities/Council on Accreditation (COA)’s Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations is a strategy framework that guides organizations across 10 key competencies developed to help them strengthen their teams, the organization and its impact. Heartland Family Service, Omaha, Nebraska, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) in Philadelphia, and The Opportunity Alliance (TOA) in Portland, Maine, are three organizations that have been successful with major initiatives across data measurement, technology innovation, and mission discipline, respectively, to help strengthen their organizational impact.
Learn more about how these organizations leveraged the Commitments to further their missions by through the Commitments in Action Celebration.
Right Data, Right Direction at Heartland Family Service
Successful growth over 145 years has required organizational excellence in many areas for Heartland Family Service and today its leadership’s laser focus on gathering solid data is seen as the key to effectively measuring the organization’s continued impact.
A multiservice organization located in the metro Omaha and Council Bluffs areas of eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa, Heartland’s CEO John Jeanetta and Chief Strategy Officer Greg Ryan continually work to evaluate and elevate the organization’s delivery of services. The organization is also working to gather and evaluate longitudinal data, which is needed to judge Heartland’s services’ effectiveness and whether programs should be kept or eliminated.
“It's having the right data in that system to really guide the work that we're doing,” explains Ryan. To collect and interpret data, Heartland set up an evaluation department and hired specialists, including a mathematician, to systematize the information and clarify results. What they found was positive. “Most of our clients do make gains in safety, self-sufficiency, and well-being. And those gains do sustain after they're discharged from the agency,” said Ryan.
Heartland Family Service is adopting new methods, investing in staff and programming, and seeking partnerships that help integrate the social determinants of health into all aspects of community health and well-being. And by incorporating data into program structure and evaluation, the baseline measures for program success and cross-sector collaboration are being realized.
Learn more about Heartland Family Service’s commitment to Measuring that Matters by listening to episode 32 of the More than Health Care podcast: People Don't Live in Vacuums: Getting Systems Collaboration Right. Ryan and Jeanetta describe their work to use longitudinal data to evaluate their efforts and foster partnerships with health care.
Technology Investments at PHMC To Maximize Every Connection
Regardless of what door a person enters at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), the team on the others side prides itself on being ready to deliver the best care possible, despite the fact the organization offers 350 programs in 70 locations to nearly 350,000 clients each year.
Combining the mission-driven perspective of a nonprofit with the fiscal control and management capabilities of a rigorous corporate structure, Philadelphia-based PHMC has been helping to build healthy communities in the Delaware Valley for more than 40 years.
Foundational to PHMC’s success has been the significant investments made in technology, including development of the organization’s own personal health record solution, which combines traditional primary medical care with the services PHMC offers. Through this innovative approach, PHMC can also help ensure the social determinants of health are considered when each client receives care.
“When we better understand the issue and the needs of the people we serve, we’re better able to adjust our services and operations to meet the needs,” said Stephanie Shell, senior director of strategy development at PHMC.
Innovating with enterprise has been critical to the continued success of PHMC, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972 as a facilitator, developer, intermediary, manager, advocate and innovator in the field of public health. PHMC offers a broad array of programs spanning behavioral health/recovery, nurse-managed primary care, chronic disease management and prevention, tobacco control, obesity prevention, early intervention, HIV/AIDS, violence intervention, homeless health services, parenting supports for families, and much more, plus research and evaluation efforst that allow PHMC to assess and target health issues effectively.