Community Impact Model
Since the beginning of 2019, Rowan County United Way implemented the Community Impact Model for distributing funds to the community. This new model matches donations with community needs to create the most significant, sustainable improvements in our community by focusing on measurable results. With the ever-growing needs across our community, donors want to know that their dollars are being used as effectively as possible, and United Way wants to maximize our positive impact. Increased accountability and measurable outcomes will help us make sure we are doing our very best to meet the critical issues our citizens face.
Community Impact FAQ
What is the Community Impact Model?
The Community Impact Model is a systematic approach to community change. It provides a clear strategy to change community conditions through funding that is aligned with achieving common outcomes. While the model is based on tracking performance and evaluating outcomes, it does not mean our community investment partners are faced with unreasonable expectations. Rather, we will work in tandem with them to ensure that we are always improving and providing maximum support to the people we serve. With this approach, Rowan County United Way will be able to address problems no one organization can solve alone by mobilizing the community's people, talent, expertise, technology, financial assets and other resources.
What do we hope to achieve through the Community Impact Model?
By setting clear, targeted goals, Rowan County United Way will be better positioned to respond to growing community needs. Increased accountability and reported metrics will help us develop more comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the critical issues our citizens face.
Why was it the right time to transition to this model?
At a time when there are more needs than ever across our community, donors and companies want to know that their dollars are being used as effectively as possible. Rowan County United Way, along with other funding partners, conducted the 2018 Needs Assessment. By listening to feedback and insight from a variety of sources, the community has identified the top priorities in our county, and we now base our efforts on those through the Community Impact Model.
The 2018 Needs Assessment identified the following priorities: Substance Use, Mental Health, and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors.
Will Rowan County United Way continue to have member agencies?
For the 2019 calendar year, all member agencies received their full allocation until the end of December. Starting in 2020, grantees that receive United Way funds will be considered as Investment Partners.
What happened in 2019?
Under the new model, all Rowan County 501(c)(3) agencies that provide programs in one or more of our priority areas will be able to apply for funding through our competitive grant cycle. In 2019, we provided a series of three training sessions to help potential grantees understand the Community Impact Model, outcome measurement and how to create an impressive RFP. The training gave potential grantees the information they needed to be competitive in the Community Impact funding process. After the application process, accepted agencies received site visits and evaluations.
How does “basic needs” fit into the new plan?
Rowan County United Way’s Strategic Plan calls for 15% of dollars raised each year to be used to fund basic needs such as affordable housing, lifestyles, life skills and transportation. Under the Community Impact Model, we will continue to focus on meeting basic needs in Rowan County.
What does a funding cycle look like?
We now fund in a two year cycle, allowing us to have a laser focus on four priorities each year. Our funding priorities are Substance Use, Mental Health, Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors and Basic Needs. In the second year, funding will be cut by 10% to ensure program sustainability. Our process utilizes trained volunteers, who are community stakeholders and current partner agencies who are considered “subject matter experts”, to develop short-and-long term goals, strategies for partnerships and key performance indicators (KPI’s) that create measurable outcomes for agencies to meet. This process requires programs to track KPI’s, allowing us to gauge and report back to our donors, the amount of impact our funding is having. In order to qualify for funding, programs must directly meet the needs of the funding priorities, deliver measurable outcomes; not outputs, and provide a sustainability plan.
Are other United Way branches transitioning to the Community Impact Model?
Yes. United Way Worldwide has determined that initiative-based funding will result in more focused outcomes. Some United Ways are well into this process, and others are just beginning. The goal is to create significant, sustainable solutions to community needs through collaborative partnerships and measurable results.
How can I learn more?
For more information on the Community Impact Model, please call Jenny Lee.