January 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome to the PerformWell Newsletter

After the Leap: Hitting the Ground Running
By Adrian Bordone, co-founder, Social Solutions

The PerformWell team is proud to have closed out 2013 with a spectacular sold-out event – After The Leap – in Washington DC. This two-day conference, with 450 attendees, was initiated and planned by the PerformWell team – Social Solutions, the Urban Institute, and Child Trends – in collaboration with Mario Morino’s Leap of Reason Initiative. The conference showcased many key performance management luminaries, as well as thought and practice leaders from the public sector, including John Bridgeland, Melody Barnes, Kathy Stack, Tracey Wareing, and Jennifer Brooks. The foundation community was very well-represented – Nancy Roob, Carol Thompson Cole, and Daniel Stid – as was the field of practice – Communities in Schools, ROCA, LAYC, and Congreso, to name a few. Each presenter and attendee came in a spirit of collaboration and left with a lesson learned and new-found inspiration that we are part of a “tribe” whose strength and influence is growing. All materials from the conference – including videos of keynotes and panel presentations – are now available on the After the Leap website.


As convener, with Mario Morino’s Venture Philanthropy Partners, Performwell ensured that there was a space at After the Leap where outcome strategies, service models and metrics would be front and center. Our Performwell team, including Kristin Moore, Elizabeth Boris, Mary Winkler, Teresa Derrick-Mills, and Ingvild Bjornvold hosted an idea and practice exchange with attendees that was timely and on-point. The two-day event offered a marketplace of learning and sharing, where attendees came with questions, suggestions and insights reflecting the pulse of a community that is vibrant and seeking.


Among the most common points of interest and areas of feedback shared with our team in the PerformWell room, there was a drum beat for some of the following “wishlist/game changers”:

  • Identifying, strengthening and codifying incremental milestones that chart the path toward outcome achievement
  • Validating the need for professional development and training for practitioners on how to convert data to intelligence and adjust services accordingly
  • Advocating for the funding community to support and augment data and performance management resources (staffing resources and technology) reflecting the increased complexity of data management needs
  • Advocating for aligning the level of investment with the level of impact – short-term grant making and funding should be met with short-term outputs and outcomes, while long-term (multi-year) investments should be matched with long-term indicators of outcomes
  • Helping the community of practice strengthen a defensible reporting structure that aligns funder and compliance needs with evidence of program effects at the practice level

If nothing else, After the Leap reminded those of us in attendance that the sector’s best nonprofit and public human service providers are improving outcomes while reducing cost of service.  But there was much else!  Each is embarking on their own “evidence and innovation” agenda with a sense of urgency that reminds us that, first and foremost, the lives of the neediest individuals and families are at risk.  Recognizing this moral and socio-economic imperative, we can trust that working collaboratively toward system and sector-wide solutions will help to lift the community of practice - the sum of our efforts is likely to be greater than the value of each independent part. PerformWell, the partnership between Urban Institute, ChildTrends and Social Solutions, is working hard to do our part in support of this effort. 


In order to continue delivering on this promise in 2014, PerformWell is planning additional webinars, new content, and a business planning process.  In addition, the team is looking for opportunities to work more deeply with organizations on their implementation of performance management.  The PerformWell team is also contemplating a follow-up conference in a year or two.  If you attended After the Leap, please provide us with your feedback so that we have the benefit of your input and ideas as we go forward.

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New & Noteworthy


Recent Webinar: Expertise Exchange on Involving Participants in Decision-making
On January 16, the second Expertise Exchange took place, with panelists Megan Fetter from the John H. Boner Community Center, PerformWell’s own Teresa Derrick-Mills, and Keystone Accountability CEO David Bonbright. Around 700 people tuned in. Missed it? View the recording here.


New Content & Upcoming Webinar: Foster Care Outcomes
Child Trends has developed PerformWell outcomes content in the program area of foster care, including nine surveys/assessments. Join the launch webinar and meet our content developers on March 13. Register here.


Financial literacy is up next; it will be available in the spring.


We welcome your feedback and input as a part of the PerformWell community! Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Performance Management in Practice


One Man’s Quest to Improve Fatherhood Outcomes

Steve Killpack is the executive director of the Community Endeavors Foundation and runs the Healthy Fathering Collaborative, a network of public and private agencies dedicated to supporting fathers, families and their children in Greater Cleveland, Ohio. Steve has been working with his partners in the community to standardize performance measurement tools, and turned to PerformWell to find those tools. He spoke with PerformWell’s Jeremy Koulish.


PerformWell: How did you come to care about performance management?


Steve:I started out as a social worker, working with adolescents on the streets. A common theme was that a father was disengaged from his children. In the early 1990s, at a time when there were few fatherhood programs in our county, I founded the Community Endeavors Foundation, with two friends, to develop grantmaking programs for fathers. We engage young men who are not yet fathers, and support them through the whole life cycle of fatherhood. My focus shifted in 2001, when I formed the Healthy Fathering Collaborative to serve more of an organizing role in the community. I use that vehicle to engage public and private agencies working with dads and family services agencies who want to extend their services to fathers. We have about 75 active agencies in that network.

Now that we know how to provide services to dads, we need to be tracking outcomes. But the organizations and agencies in the field have not been funded well enough to do effective evaluation and performance management on their own. I aim to fill that void by helping build a system that can track fatherhood outcomes in a uniform way across agencies.


PerformWell: How have you used PerformWell to that end?


Steve: I started using Social Solutions’ ETO software about 15 months ago, to track performance data for various agencies in a single system. The goal was to find evidence-based tools, have everyone use the same tools, and use the system to demonstrate community-wide outcomes. I discovered PerformWell through Social Solutions’ website, and on PerformWell, I found the Protective Factors Survey. Programs started to coordinate and use it by mid-summer of 2013, and we’ve seen some positive results. I’ve since downloaded a series of employment tools to be used with low-income fathers.


PerformWell: Tell us about your use of the Protective Factors Survey.


Steve: I found the Protective Factors Survey to be particularly applicable because its validity and reliability have been established, it is free to use, and it is meant for our target population. We pulled out the last two pages of the survey and just used those. We use them as pre-posttests in connection with classes for ex-offenders, usually during the second session and as they leave. About 50 people have completed the survey in six months, and in the next few weeks we will be comparing pre- and posttest data. A number of funders in the community have also embraced that survey.


PerformWell: So what’s next in your plan to instill performance management across the community?


Steve: We are starting to use four PerformWell employment tools. I am also on the economic security work group of the Responsible Fatherhood Research Network, so I hope to expand the reach of those tools beyond our collaborative to employment assistance agencies. Big picture, I aim to build a system that tracks outcomes across the community, not just for a specific program or type of program.



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The Toolbox


Spotlight: Protective Factors Survey

The Protective Factors Survey, the tool highlighted by PerformWell user Steve Killpack in the previous section, is part of our Parenting Education content area. It was developed by the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention in 2004, for use by its network of federally-funded programs and in partnership with the University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research and Public Service.


The survey is a self-report questionnaire for parents, meant to be administered at the beginning and end of participation in child abuse prevention programs. It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. It contains five subscales: Family Functioning/Resiliency, Social Support, Concrete Support, Nurturing and Attachment, and Child Development/Knowledge of Parenting. There are twenty questions total.


The creators produced a simple checklist that can help practitioners determine whether the survey is right for them and if so, how to best apply it. More information on the Protective Factors Survey and how to score results can be found at the FRIENDS NRC website.



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What People Are Saying

After the Leap attendee Nell Edgington lauds the quality of the conference in Starting a Movement Toward Higher Performing Nonprofits:


“This was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in years. The caliber of the presenters and audience was amazing. It felt like I was witnessing the birth of the next generation of the social sector. Buoyed by the ability to see the writing on the wall, this group is determined to lead the fundamental, and critical, shift towards a more effective sector.”


Phil Buchanan of the Center for Effective Philanthropy laments, however, that funders still aren’t getting it in his Dispatch from After the Leap.




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What We're Reading


Daniel Stid among others at Bridgespan released a report of interest in November: What Does It Take to Implement Evidence-Based Practices? A Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Shows the Way.


The Charting Impact Resource Center, launched late last year by Independent Sector, allows organizations to publicly report on five questions related to impact and has further resources to help them achieve that desired impact.


Bill Schambra writes a provocative op-ed in Nonprofit Quarterly about “The Tyranny of Success”, critiquing the binary metrics so often associated with performance measurement.


In Five Ways Funders Can Replicate What Works, published in last month’s Stanford Social Innovation Review, Laura Burkhauser touts the importance of implementation to the success of evidence-based practice.


In a guest post on the Markets for Good blog, Mary Winkler of the Urban Institute and PerformWell lays out A Reason for Optimism: 6 Strategies To Accelerate, Improve Measurement.


Similarly, Mary Terzian of Child Trends and PerformWell highlights three phases of implementing performance management in Why It’s Worth Taking the Leap toward Performance Management.


We welcome your feedback and input as a part of the PerformWell community! Contact us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Advisory Board


Amanda Broun, Independent Sector| James Firman, National Council of Aging

Irv Katz, National Human Service Assembly | Mike Lawson, Performance Management Consultant

Jeff Mason, Alliance for Effective Social Investing | Jon Pratt, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Cynthia Strauss, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund | Nick Torres, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania

Fay Twersky, Hewlett Foundation | Jane Wales, Global Philanthropy Forum


Executive Committee Contacts


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