Managing Pay for Success projects

Rachel Levy and Emily McKelvey October 26, 2020

We recently we announced the launch of a series of issue briefs on Pay for Success (PFS) that provides practical guidance for government officials interested in pursuing PFS within their agency or jurisdiction. Then, we highlighted the second installment of briefs, which focus on the key steps jurisdictions must take after deciding to move forward with a PFS project.

Here, we focus on the final stage in the project development process: managing a PFS project. The two briefs in this section lay out how a structured active performance management process paired with strong governance can enable project partners to collectively communicate, collaborate and navigate challenges to keep projects on track.

MANAGE PFS: BRIEFS 9-10
  • Brief 9: Active Performance Management
    Ongoing monitoring and course-correction to ensure project success.
  • Brief 10: Pay for Success Governance
    Moving from compliance to collaboration.

“Brief 9: Active Performance Measurement” discusses how project developers can track progress, identify problems, and rapidly address project challenges. Active performance management, or APM, is a structured process by which project partners align on a core set of operational metrics to measure performance, collect and analyze data, regularly discuss performance, and when needed adapt program models. Implementing robust APM and governance processes (see Brief 10) can help mitigate some of the challenges we commonly see in PFS projects, such as identifying appropriate recruitment and referral pathways, meeting enrollment targets, and ensuring program fidelity.

Finally, “Brief 10: Pay for Success Governance,” outlines a framework to ensure that project stakeholders proactively collaborate and communicate over the course of long-term projects to enable thoughtful decision making and drive project success.  We recommend creating three committees: 

  1. An operations committee, composed of those who are closest to the on-the-ground operations, data collection, and evaluation. This committee meets frequently to discuss day-to-day project updates and challenges; 
  2. A management committee tasked with reviewing regular reports on progress towards project goals, proactively identifying and resolving challenges, and elevating policy or contractual challenges; and 
  3. An executive steering committee who provides overall strategic direction and vision, champions the project within respective organizations and recommends or reviews amendments to the project.

We hope you’ve found this series helpful in understanding PFS. It’s a field that continues to evolve in order to effectively scale effective social programs and improve lives. If you’re looking for further guidance on exploring, launching, or managing a PFS project, please contact Rachel Levy.

Download the briefs >>

Read our previous post on exploring PFS >>

Read our previous post on launching a PFS project >>