Building Financial Capability: A Planning Guide for Integrated Services

Prosperity Now is proud to announce the release of Building Financial Capability: A Planning Guide for Integrated Services, an interactive resource to help a wide range of community-based and social service organizations integrate financial capability services into their existing programs (e.g., housing, workforce development or Head Start). Prosperity Now developed Building Financial Capability in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' Office of Community Services (OCS), with input from a number of our local, state and national partners who tested and reviewed its 13 tools.

Financial issues affect, and are affected by, virtually every other aspect of a person's life. Recognizing this, organizations across the country have begun integrating financial discussions, resources and tools directly into other programs and services they offer. The outcomes of this work indicate that not only can building clients' financial capability directly impact their financial knowledge, skills and access, but that embedding it within other programs can also increase the likelihood that clients will succeed in those programs. For example, in New York, clients in a workforce development program who received financial counseling had higher job placement rates and earned higher average wages than the comparison group. In New Mexico, community college students who received financial capability services as part of an integrated suite of services were far more likely to achieve positive outcomes (such as staying in school and/or obtaining a certificate or degree) than students who did not.

Prosperity Now has seen first-hand the impact of financial capability services integration through projects such as our Bank of America Charitable Foundation-supported Integration Learning Cluster and the Asset Initiative Partnership we manage with OCS. Our work with organizations under these and other projects powerfully informed the development of Building Financial Capability. The Guide contains 13 interactive tools—divided into four sections—that walk organizations step-by-step through the process of developing an integration plan:

  • Section 1: Envisioning Your Clients' Financial Capability provides tools to develop a deeper understanding of clients' current financial capability and determine which financial capability strategies will help them improve their circumstances.
  • Section 2: Building the Team focuses on assessing the resources (both in-house and external) available for integrating financial capability services into existing programs.
  • Section 3: Moving Into Action culminates in the creation of a comprehensive logic model—showing what financial capability services will be integrated, into which programs and by which providers (internal or external)—that will serve as a roadmap for implementing the integration plan.
  • The Cross-Cutting Section: Making the Case provides a tool that can be used throughout the entire process to make the case for financial capability integration to key internal and external stakeholders.

Prosperity Now is excited to bring these practical, field-tested tools to more organizations, whether they are providing financial capability services for the first time or looking to expand or improve services. Click here to download Building Financial Capability, and join us for a webinar on April 29 from 3:30-5 pm EDT to learn more about the Guide and how you can use it in your work.

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