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Rapid Dispatches of Insights

Real-time data synthesis that exposes how low-income communities are coping and dispatches insights to mitigate financial insecurity.

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The Clinic’s deep knowledge about the tradeoffs, pivot points, and unintended consequences of federal relief, combined with Change Machine’s technological ability to surface deep insights into the household balance sheets of our customers, illustrates what coping and surviving really looks like for low-income families. Our ambition is to utilize these assets to produce crowd-sourced roadmaps to financial security in the aftermath of COVID-19, and then boost the roadmaps with enhanced B2C features and inclusive fintech product recommendations. These COVID Coaching Protocols will demonstrate pragmatic and actionable strategies for practitioners to scale financial security in our new economic reality.

We will also seize the opportunity to promote people-led systems change. With sophisticated data collection techniques and defined datasets, we will hone in on what coping and surviving really looks like. Our early questions include: Which moratoriums are money in our customers’ pockets? Are Economic Impact Payments going to credit card companies? And, how does the digital divide impact our customers’ ability to manage their personal finances? From there, we will rapidly dispatch insights that lend additional nuance and relevance to our knowledge of the tradeoffs, pivot points, and unintended consequences. Through Change Machine, our customers will influence the national narrative around poverty and enduring inequity, forging a more equitable economy in which all Americans can thrive.

The Clinic will begin by packaging the action steps that flow from a liquidity crisis, considering both sides of the household balance sheet. These steps will fall along a series of dimensions, each defined by assets and revenue versus expenses and liabilities (as well as each possible iteration of losing one while gaining another, or with one side remaining constant while the other is in flux). These dimensions, which form the basis for COVID Coaching Protocols, will be designed to unmask the reality behind damaging narratives of personal responsibility and expose the structural drivers of the challenges that our customers face.

We will utilize Change Machine’s original data to answer critical questions about financial insecurity through a lens of equity, targeting policymakers, funders, and nonprofit leaders alike. Our shovel-ready infrastructure combined with new investments in data collection and evaluation technology will drive platform reach and contextualize findings for practitioners across myriad sectors, regions, and target populations. With a focus on practicality and ease of repackaging, these findings will be distributed through a diverse range of channels, including practitioner tools and tipsheets, community training events, direct text messages to customers, and coach-to-coach networking. As more and more practitioners join the community, Change Machine’s insights deepen and expand, and the network effect - or overall value of the platform - grows.

COVID Coaching Protocols will rely on two key technologies within Change Machine. The first is Coach, where the Clinic’s mission-level data is collected from thousands of practitioners across the country, and where action steps flowing from the liquidity crisis are captured. Coach enables the mechanics for replication and scale, and will thus fundamentally support the execution of COVID Coaching Protocols.

COVID Coaching Protocols will also rely on Share, Change Machine’s professional social networking feature born of practitioners’ urgency to share resources with one another for timely distribution and application. On Share, the Clinic team prompts and facilitates issue-based discussions, posts statistics and insights from aggregate customer data on Change Machine, and offers bite-sized data visualizations to support practitioners in their work to generate resources and advocate alongside their customers.

In addition to leveraging existing technologies on Change Machine, the Clinic will accelerate new features to ensure that COVID Coaching Protocols mitigate financial insecurity for as many customers as possible. New tools like digital financial coaching, robo advising supported by machine learning, and product recommendation engines will drive platform use and ensure that our technology is maximized for social impact, giving #techforgood an elevated charge and purpose.

What is the need are you focusing on?

There are not enough philanthropic dollars in the world to solve for poverty. With an unprecedented number of people experiencing unemployment, financial anxiety, and liquidity shock, nonprofits must find ways to deliver their services faster, better, and cheaper. Now is the time for nonprofits to embrace technology and utilize their data to achieve exponential scale and impact. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

The Clinic’s deep knowledge about the tradeoffs, pivot points, and unintended consequences of federal relief, combined with Change Machine’s technological ability to surface deep insights into the household balance sheets of our customers, illustrates what coping and surviving really looks like for low-income families. Our ambition is to utilize these assets to produce crowd-sourced roadmaps to financial security in the aftermath of COVID-19, and then boost the roadmaps with enhanced B2C features and inclusive fintech product recommendations. These COVID Coaching Protocols will demonstrate pragmatic and actionable strategies for practitioners to scale financial security in our new economic reality. In addition, to achieve the exponential scale that a global pandemic requires, the Clinic will pivot its pricing model from an annual subscription service to a freemium model. In doing so, the platform will become free for the vast majority of users.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

With the infrastructure to leverage COVID Coaching Protocols for rapid dispatches of insights, the Clinic will advance people-created solutions for systems change. This involves mining our rich, national data for people-centered research, driving policies that speak directly to the priorities of our customers, and amplifying the low-income consumer voice in all aspects of fintech product design, marketing, and customer service. These strategies begin and end with our customers; these technologies don’t just amplify their voices, they enfranchise them, forging a new narrative in support of an equitable American economy across race, gender, and class. By scaling our reach, responding to demand-driven tech features, and facilitating people-powered policy and innovation, Change Machine will welcome 100,000 new practitioners to the platform who, in turn, will generate a $2.6 billion cash-value return to 5 million low-income Americans by 2025.

What is the name of your business or organization?

The Financial Clinic (creators of Change Machine)

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

The Financial Clinic is a national nonprofit organization that builds financial security for low- to moderate-income Americans. The Clinic fulfills its mission through an ecosystem of strategies that includes direct financial coaching services, training and technical assistance for nonprofit partners, and research and policy work to inform lasting change. In 2015, the Clinic launched Change Machine – a cloud-based financial coaching platform that has been used by more than 4,000 nonprofit practitioners to build financial security for more than 80,000 low-income customers, returning a total cash value of $42 million to date.

What is your profession?

Nonprofit professionals; leaders in the financial security field

Where are you located (country)?

United States of America

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Non-Profit/Philanthropy

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 10 or more years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Nonprofit/NGO

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Nonprofits (U.S. Based)

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We are seeking new nonprofit partners to join Change Machine's community of practice, as well as strategic partnerships that advance systems change.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

1) A lack of general operating dollars that stymies nonprofits 2) A steep learning curve among nonprofits when it comes to technology and rigorous data collection/evaluation (consequences of #1)

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

We are in the process of submitting an application to participate in Financial Health Network's Nonprofit Fintech Exchange, which pairs nonprofits and fintechs interested in working together to pilot or prototype new solutions, product designs, or program enhancements.

Website URL

thefinancialclinic.org change-machine.org

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