Sharing Data for a Common Cause and a Stronger Community

It may have been without fanfare, but the launching of a client-management system – shared among eight partners within the Bold Goals Financial Services Network (FSN) – on July 9th was a really big deal.

Putting this pilot program into practice is a major step toward accomplishing the FSN’s mission to create a network of nonprofit financial-services providers who will work together to move low-to-moderate-income households from a state of financial crisis to financial stability. Now, for the first time, each of the eight organizations in the pilot program will be able to capture client information in a single location, where it can be shared. But even more significant will be the resulting development of a process for managing referrals between organizations.

This gets to the heart of the network concept. It allows all the FSN partners access to the same information so that they can collaborate to solve clients’ problems by playing to each other’s strengths with everyone efficiently working toward the same goal with minimal duplication of effort.

In addition to improving each FSN partner’s ability to help the families they serve, another objective of this initiative is to use the data collected for self-examination. That is, it should help us answer a number of important questions, including the following.

  • Based on the network’s chosen definition of financial stability, what are the needs of the clients that we serve at each organization?
  • How effective are the programs and services available through the FSN at helping families make progress toward financial stability in areas such as employment and housing?
  • What geographic areas of our community are underserved by the network and/or under-informed about the availability of financial services?

Greg King of IBERIABANK, who serves as one of the FSN Steering Committee’s co-chairs, has been a strong advocate of this pilot program since he joined the network. In fact, the vision he outlined for the FSN served as a “north star” during the developmental stages of the client-management system. “The work of the Financial Services Network will be extremely beneficial in determining the needs and gaps in our community,” he said. “This data will help us know where to add resources in our effort to increase the number of households assisted by our industry.”

Ultimately, the more households we can help achieve financial stability, the stronger the Central Alabama community will be as a whole.