New Financial Health Genome identifies proven strategies that help nonprofits address financial challenges of the individuals they serve
RADNOR, Pa. (BUSINESS WIRE), April 28, 2021 - Lincoln Financial Foundation and The Impact Genome Project® today announced the findings of the Financial Health Genome, an initiative that measures, defines and tracks “what works” when it comes to delivering nonprofit programs that successfully address low-income households’ financial health challenges. The Financial Health Genome is especially relevant given that nearly 30% of adults living below the poverty line before the pandemic are in worse financial shape than a year ago, according to the AP-NORC Center of Public Affairs Research.
“Financially challenged communities are struggling now more than ever in the wake of COVID-19, and they are looking for help to navigate the path forward to achieve long-term financial resilience,” said Nancy Rogers, president of Lincoln Financial Foundation. “At Lincoln Financial Group, we’re focused on a common purpose: to help provide financial peace of mind to Americans — enabling them to plan for and protect their financial futures, and that extends to the communities we support through our Foundation. The Financial Health Genome allows us to not only assist our grantees but to provide resources to all nonprofits working to improve financial health and support economic mobility.”
The Financial Health Genome was established to help support nonprofits by creating a shared language and understanding of financial health across the sector and by identifying the most successful strategies that nonprofits can use to achieve positive financial health outcomes. The Financial Health Genome performed an in-depth analysis of nonprofit programs to identify and define the outcomes that comprise financial health and what strategies, or combination of strategies, can be used to deliver on those outcomes.
“A growing number of nonprofits, funders and government entities are working to alleviate the financial stresses that many Americans face,” said Jason Saul, founder and chief executive officer, Impact Genome. “The Financial Health Genome brings these stakeholders together through a shared understanding of the meaning of financial health and the strategies that underlie programs successfully achieving desired outcomes.”
Financial Stability, Resilience and Security: Defining the Path to Financial Health
A critical step on the path to improving financial health for low-income Americans through the work of nonprofit programs is to coordinate efforts across the financial health sector. The Financial Health Genome provides a shared language and understanding of financial health for the nonprofit financial health sector and its funders by distilling the complex idea of financial health and wellness into six measurable outcomes.
The six measurable outcomes are split into two categories:
- Status Change Outcomes:
- Current Financial Stability: Ability to manage day-to-day expenses
- Financial Resilience: Being ready for financial shocks
- Future Security: Ensuring that long-term needs can be met
- Supporting Outcomes:
- Financial Literacy and Skills: Knowledge of core concepts and skills in personal finance
- Financial Access: Access to key resources
- Financial Self-Efficacy: Confidence in ability to make financial decisions
The six outcomes reflect a progression from more foundational “supporting outcomes” to the more complex “status change outcomes” that have the ability to significantly drive behavior and accelerate individuals on the path to financial health. The Financial Health Genome shows that not all outcomes are created equal — some outcomes cost more to reach than others, and some outcomes have greater efficacy – and that to attain overall financial health individuals must achieve a combination of multiple outcomes.
Through its analysis of program components, the Financial Health Genome identified types of strategies that correlate with successful programs and aligned those with the six financial health outcomes. With these findings, nonprofits can examine their program’s framework, understand where their work fits in the broader context of the field and show how they are creating an impact to potential funders.
Putting the Financial Health Genome into Practice
Lincoln Financial Foundation sponsored the Financial Health Genome as a way to help guide its nonprofit partners to maximize their impact in the communities that need it most – and the results have been made public to establish a way for all nonprofits in the financial health sector to have access to evidence-based best practices and strategies to achieve the shared goal: building Americans’ financial resilience and stability.
Lincoln Financial Foundation has put this research into action in new ways, including helping grantees evaluate their programs for multiple stakeholder groups. Scott Karol, Deputy Director at Clarifi, a Lincoln Financial Foundation grantee, shared that, “Last year, Clarifi’s certified financial counselors helped more than 1,700 individuals and families to overcome barriers and reach their financial goals. While we know that our relationship-centered, client-led model is highly effective, it can be difficult to illustrate to our funders the real costs associated with each positive outcome. We are excited to see how the Financial Health Genome can help us continue to deliver efficient financial resiliency services, but also to improve how we talk about our work and its impact in underrepresented and underserved communities across our area.”
The Financial Health Genome findings are available here.
About Lincoln Financial Foundation
The Lincoln Financial Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Lincoln Financial Group. The Lincoln Financial Foundation focuses on building stronger communities through nonprofit partnerships in financial wellness, education, and human services, with the long-term goal of helping people build secure financial futures for themselves and their families. In 2020, Lincoln Financial Foundation donated approximately $10 million to philanthropic endeavors that empower and improve the lives of countless in our communities. To learn more visit our website.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help people take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, and guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE: LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $270 billion in end-of-period account values as of June 30, 2020. Lincoln Financial Group is a committed corporate citizen included on major sustainability indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and FTSE4Good. Dedicated to diversity and inclusion, we earned perfect 100 percent scores on the Corporate Equality Index and the Disability Equality Index, and rank among Forbes’ World’s Best Employers, Best Large Employers, Best Employers for Diversity, Best Employers for Women and JUST 100, and Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Sign up for email alerts at http://newsroom.lfg.com/.
About The Impact Genome Project®
The Impact Genome Project® (IGP) is a public-private research initiative to standardize the way social outcomes are measured, reported, and benchmarked. IGP’s mission is to enable grant makers and policymakers to use precision data to solve social determinants. With support from leading corporate and private philanthropies, it has just announced the Sentinel Outcomes Initiative, a multi-year effort to track and quantify the unmet critical human needs of all Americans, spanning financial health, social capital, food security, housing, employment, and education. For more information, please visit: www.impactgenome.org.