The financial security ecosystem or “ecosystem” is a holistic partnership approach that builds financial security for the working poor at scale and accelerates sector-specific missions and outcomes. This complete bundle of the Clinic’s best practices and services is designed to seamlessly collaborate with a partner organization’s existing services.
The goal of the ecosystem is to ensure that financial insecurity isn’t keeping working poor families and individuals from achieving other facets of the American dream, like full-time employment, a secure home, education and financial mobility. Like two sides of a zipper, by meshing strategies that build financial security with other sectors’ strategies for ending poverty, the Clinic and its ecosystem partners provide a more complete solution for Americans in need.
What are the features of the ecosystem?top
Providing technical assistance and training to build financial security strategies into the daily interactions of front-line staff of the partner organization.
Delivering financial coaching and legal supports to those clients with more complicated financial security concerns.
Using data and research to leverage lessons learned from on-the-ground practitioners to create high impact far beyond an initial program by informing best practices, the field and public policy.
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The Clinic created a web-based financial coaching platform called Change Machine, that makes the financial security ecosystem possible. Change Machine seamlessly connects the three strategies in the ecosystem bundle, making it easy for partners to adopt the strategies, integrate them in their existing services, and sustain the work far into the future. Change Machine also makes it possible for the Clinic and its partners to identify barriers to financial security and provides the hard data needed to make the case for systems change.
Why bundle the services?top
Financial coaching (direct service) is a proven strategy for building financial security, but it is time intensive and a single coach can only reach 500 families in a year.
Training front-line staff (capacity building) to utilize strategies that build financial security makes it possible to reach thousands, but families might only receive that support once.
By meshing the two approaches, front-line staff are able to give an entry level approach to financial coaching to thousands, and refer those with the greatest need to a financial coach – increasing both the scale and impact of services. We also have evidence that integrating strategies to build financial security into the work of other sectors – for example workforce development – improves outcomes.
Beyond the customers themselves, by implementing both approaches using Change Machine, the Clinic and its partner are able to collect important data to analyze progress, identify the strengths and weaknesses in program delivery, and propose solutions that reach well beyond the partnership (field solutions).
Want to learn more?top
Check out the following articles and publications.
For evidence that building financial security in other sector work improves sector outcomes, check out Scaling Financial Development:
Improving Outcomes and Influencing Impact.
To see the results and analysis of the national study on financial coaching conducted by Urban Institute and commissioned by the CFPB, check out A Random Control Trial of Financial Coaching:
The Practitioners’ Overview of “An Evaluation of the Impacts and Implementation Approaches of Financial Coaching Programs”
To learn about financial coaching as a strategy for building financial security, read: Building Financial Security Through Financial Coaching:
The efficacy of financial coaching for customers prepared to work holistically. While financial insecurity is pervasive, not everyone needs a financial coach.
For more information on The Financial Clinic and the services and strategies it employs, visit www.thefinancialclinic.org.
Ecosystem Partners & funderstop
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Bank of New York Mellon