How Integrating Financial Capability with Other Services Can Boost Financial Inclusion

Limited access to financial services is a major barrier to overcoming poverty in America. A potential solution is to offer financial capability services through other programs in proximity to those who need themand we’ve gleaned some important lessons to share.

Since September 2015, Prosperity Now has partnered with 45 organizations across the country to support their integration of financial capability services into other social service programs using the tools in Building Financial Capability: A Planning Guide for Integrated Services. These partnerships are part of Prosperity Now’s federally-funded Technical Assistance to Support the Integration of Financial Capability contract from the Office of Community Services within the Administration for Children & Families. The contract aims to make financial services available on a much wider scale by piloting integration for select entities and sharing lessons to inform best practices.  

Through this project, we’ve identified unique opportunities for integrating financial capability services among different types of organizations within diverse sectors serving vulnerable populations. For example:

  • Local intermediary organizations, like United Ways, can foster successful financial capability integration among direct service organizations by serving as a convener, capacity builder and thought leader.
  • Integrating financial capability services into multiservice organizations, like Catholic Charities and community action agencies, helps staff across the organization learn about internal programs and leverages resources to better serve clients.
  • When integrating financial capability services in rural communities, it’s important to conduct a scan of available service providers and navigate transportation barriers by meeting clients where they are.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs have a unique opportunity to address clients’ financial capability needs as clients have already identified the organization as one they trust and are thinking about their finances when they seek tax preparation.

These lessons, and more, are captured in the following briefs available for download from Prosperity Now’s website:

Three additional briefs on integration into the tribal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), tribal Tax Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and state TANF programs will be published by September 2018.

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