Over the last few years, foundations have increasingly grown to recognize the importance of listening directly to the communities they serve. This movement, known as beneficiary voice, is shifting focus away from nonprofits and instead aims to learn directly from individuals and families themselves.
Since the early 2000s, we at the Family Independence Initiative have been partnering directly with low-income families across the country, amassing a large strength based data set that demonstrates how families work together to succeed. Through our new data division, Analytics4, we are now making our critical data as well as our technical expertise available to facilitate and accelerate philanthropy’s move toward beneficiary voice.
Analytics4 uses advanced technology to sift through what low-income families are saying, in their own words, to uncover the initiatives people take and the investments they need to succeed in communities throughout the United States.
Through our data we have uncovered hidden opportunities, such as discovering that while most families in Fresno, California that we partnered with provided health insurance for their families, they expressed interest in access to burial insurance for when loved one’s passed away. Additionally, in Detroit, Michigan we were able to dynamically allocate more financial resources for the purchase of a car via loans and matched savings accounts as the families we partnered with there identified inadequate public transit as a barrier to work and entrepreneurship.
Community level insight is the future of philanthropy. Analytics4 is empowering foundations to listen to those who matter most, craft social investment strategies that leverage philanthropic capital, and maximize social impact.