What result do you want to achieve? It sounds like such a simple question, but it’s not always that simple to answer. Many times organizations that deliver services to people are so busy serving the community they forget to take a moment to look at the bigger picture and ask themselves, “What’s the purpose?” They find themselves delivering the same high quality services year after year but are producing temporary solutions instead of long-term results.
Results Based Accountability (RBA) turns that all around. RBA is a data driven process that works in the reverse. The targeted result is identified in the beginning of the process using data that indicates how you are doing on the issue and what the impact is on children, families, and the community as a whole. This could be the childhood obesity rate, the homicide rate, the high school graduation rate or (unfortunately) a myriad of other issues. The data is then used to lead the work towards coming up with a solution(s). This strategy can be used to target a micro environment (a program within an organization) or a macro environment (the City of Indianapolis).
The key is finding partners who care about the result as much as you do, are willing to bring their ideas, programs and strategies into the room and begin to do the work to align their actions with a laser-like focus on a targeted population for a targeted result. Again, much easier to say than to do. Holding the laser-like focus can cause conflict because it may mean letting go of “the way we’ve always done it,” and having tough conversations with people who do not have authentic contributions to make toward the Result. But, if the Result is always held at the forefront and data leads the work, those tough conversations just become part of the work.
The pay-off in using a Results Based Accountability strategy can be huge. Can you imagine aligning partners to take action and redesign systems that actually resolve issues rather than just deliver programs that offer a quick fix to the problem? We’ve seen it happen in our work with the Marion County Re-Entry Coalition resulting in the successful re-entry of offenders into the community and a decrease in arrest rates and re-incarceration rates: http://www.communitysolutionsinc.net/wp-content/uploads/Marion-County-1-Percent-Cost-Savings.pdf We’ve also seen RBA work at the Dove Recovery House resulting in solutions to help women become sober and productive citizens…..pretty heavy stuff.
– Lena Hackett, Founder Community Solutions, Inc.
CSI founder, Lena Hackett, has a broad background and extensive expertise in public policy, human services and community development. Through her work with a wide variety of service of providers; local, state, and national policy makers; and a myriad of funders, Lena has been an integral part of community change in the Indianapolis community.