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Pay for Success: The First Generation - A Comparative Analysis of the First 10 Pay for Success Projects in the United States

April 19, 2016

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) has released a comprehensive free report on the first 10 Pay for Success (PFS) projects that have launched in the United States. This report details how and why communities have applied this new approach to address critical social issues including early childhood education, homelessness, and criminal justice and recidivism. Pay for Success is an approach to contracting that ties payment for service delivery to the achievement of measurable outcomes. In the U.S., all of the current PFS projects have been accompanied by a form of social innovation financing, often referred to as a Social Impact Bond, in which investors provide upfront financing for the delivery of services and are repaid only if the services achieve a pre-agreed upon set of positive outcomes. The report includes a series of comparative graphics and observations on the market's development to-date. It examines project goals and project design; the partners and stakeholders involved; the underlying data, evidence, and evaluation plans; the governance and investment structures, including repayment terms and investor profiles; and project costs. To create the report, NFF drew on experience as a PFS educator, partner, and investor and conducted research using project documentation, publically available information, and stakeholder interviews. Over the past five years, NFF has conducted more than 200 PFS trainings, presentations, webinars, workshops, and convenings across the country for service providers, governments, and investors. NFF also manages the Pay for Success Learning Hub,, the leading national repository for education and information on Pay for Success. NFF's work on the report was made possible with the support of the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund (SIF).

The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth

January 5, 2012

Analyzes immediate and lifetime economic and social burdens of youth who are out of school and unemployed, including lost earnings, taxes, and school subsidies and costs of crime, welfare, social supports, and health care. Outlines policy directions.

Volunteering in America Research Highlights

July 22, 2009

The Corporation for National and Community Service hosts the most comprehensive collection of information on volunteering in the U.S. at its Web site: The site allows civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, and interested individuals to retrieve a wide range of information regarding trends and demographics in volunteering in their regions, states, and almost 200 cities. This document highlights some of the key findings from the data. For the purposes of this report, volunteers are persons age 16 and older who serve through or with an organization without pay at any point during a 12 month-period between September of one year and September of the following year.

Volunteers and the Economic Downturn

July 20, 2009

The recent economic crisis has subjected America's nonprofit organizations to considerable fiscal stress. To find out more about the response of nonprofits to the recent economic climate, the Corporation for National and Community Service partnered with the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project on a national survey of nonprofits and AmeriCorps sponsor organizations.The survey revealed that 80 percent of responding organizations experienced some level of fiscal stress between September 2008 through March 2009, when the downturn intensified, and that for close to 40 percent of them the stress was considered "severe" or "very severe." In response, nearly a quarter (23%) of nonprofits reported decreasing staff hours, a third reported eliminating staff positions, and 40 percent reported postponing the filling of new positions. At the same time, nearly three-fourths of the organizations reported they had maintained or increased the number of people their organizations served, and even among those reporting "severe" or "very severe" fiscal stress and resulting cutbacks in staff, 60 percent reported they had been able to maintain or increase the number of people their organizations served.

Pathways to Service: Learning from the potential volunteer's perspective

July 16, 2009

As a result of the economic crisis, the nation is grappling with high levels of lost jobs, foreclosed homes, and new fears about what the future holds. In the midst of this unsettling time, however, many individuals continue to reach out and serve their communities. They continue to volunteer, continue to help their neighbors, and continue to organize service projects within their communities. In fact, in 2008 alone, 61.8 million adults donated approximately 8 billion hours of service. This represents 26.4% of adults who volunteered through or for an organization to address pressing needs such as hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, environmental disasters, and other community concerns.Today, over one-third of volunteers (35.5%) drop out of service each year, and do not serve with any organizations the following year. While new volunteers may be walking through the door of an organization, they may not stay, or they may be replacing an existing volunteer. This high rate of volunteer turnover stunts the productivity of nonprofit organizations as they focus on replacing volunteers instead of maximizing impact. This report examines the perceptions around volunteering and the barriers that may inhibit prospective volunteers (either new or returning volunteers) from service.

Capitalizing on Volunteers? Skills: Volunteering By Occupation in America

November 1, 2008

Examines how volunteers are using their professional and occupational skills during volunteer activities, based on data from the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Volunteer Supplements to the Current Population Survey.

Community Service and Service-learning in America's Schools

November 1, 2008

"In the spring of 2008, 1,847 principals of K-12 public schools, nationwide, responded to a survey on the prevalence of community service and service-learning in their schools. The National Study of the Prevalence of Community Service and Service-Learning in K-12 Public Schools, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and conducted by Westat, collected data on the scope of community service and service-learning activities, as well as the policies and supports for service-learning provided by and for schools during the 2007-08 academic year."

How Do Volunteers Find the Time?: Evidence From the American Time Use Study

July 26, 2008

Examines the differences between the activities in a typical day for recent volunteers, former volunteers, and non-volunteers, based on data from the American Time Use Survey collected from 2003 to 2005.

Toward a New Definition of Pro Bono

February 1, 2008

Every day, nonprofit groups around the country are meeting a wide variety of community needs, often with volunteer and corporate philanthropic assistance. Yet while these organizations are doing important and innovative work, they often cannot take their ideas to scale, in part because they lack the professional skills needed to operate as efficiently as possible, or to successfully plan for their growth. To help rectify this situation, The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, together with several key private and government partners, convened The Summit on Corporate Volunteerism in February 2008. Toward a New Definition of Probono, produced out of this summit, makes the case for utilizing probono volunteer services.

Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and Rankings

July 1, 2007

"Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and Rankings" uses volunteer data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2004-2006. It ranks and includes profiles for 50 of the largest cities including the volunteer rate; the types of organizations through which residents serve; their main volunteering activities, the average hours per year and volunteer rates for age and gender demographic groups, and key trends and highlights. The report also analyzes social and demographic trends affect city volunteer rates and finds that there are four key drivers of volunteering: community attachment; commuting times, high school graduation levels and poverty; and the prevalence of nonprofits and their capacity to retain volunteers from year to year. The information on volunteering at the local level can help local governments, community leaders, service organizations, and volunteers nationwide develop a volunteer growth strategy, set goals to increase the level of individual engagement in volunteer activities, and build the infrastructure of nonprofits and communities to support more volunteer opportunities.

Volunteering Reinvented: Human Capital Solutions for the Nonprofit Sector

July 1, 2007

To grow and adapt in today's continuously changing society, a nonprofit organization must recognize the value and contribution of both its paid staff and volunteers. Simply recruiting large numbers of volunteers, however, does not necessarily translate into success for the nonprofit sector or the community at large. Successful results are achieved when an organization is able to support, mobilize, and manage its volunteer resources for the greatest possible impact on a problem or need.In a competitive environment where resources are often scarce, nonprofit executives and boards of directors have become more strategic about how they leverage the various resources at their disposal:money, space, inkind donations, equipment, technology, and employees. Unfortunately, however, one of the most powerful and plentiful resources of all -- volunteers -- continues to receive short shrift from nonprofit leadership. This paper is intended to educate nonprofit executives about volunteering as a key human resource strategy, illustrate that volunteering is not just nice but necessary, and demonstrate the value volunteers bring to an organization that strategically plans for how to use them both to support infrastructure and to deliver programs and services.

AmeriCorps: Changing Lives, Changing America

May 1, 2007

AmeriCorps is designed to help strengthen and rebuild communities affected by poverty, impacted by disasters, and marked by crime. From the initial members who served during the "Summer of Safety" in 1994 to the soon-to-be 500,000th member in 2007, AmeriCorps members have been on the front lines of service every day, recruiting and managing volunteers of all ages and backgrounds -- 1.4 million in 2006 alone. Together, AmeriCorps members and the volunteers they mobilize tackle some of our nation's toughest problems: crime, illiteracy, homelessness, gang violence, and drug abuse. They teach and tutor to help students improve academically, mentor children and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, run after-school programs, reconnect prisoners with mainstream society, care for seniors, and protect the environment. This report examines the results from a longitudinal study of AmeriCorps members and surveys of members, alumni, and the organizations where members served to examine the impacts of national service on members' civic engagement, education, employment, and life skills. Findings reveal that AmeriCorps alumni are more connected to their communities, continue to participate in community activities, and choose public service careers after their service with AmeriCorps.