Monday, November 3, 2014

No Better Return

The challenge for many agents of social change today is to show that what they do is not just tell a feel good story about what they do and what they want to achieve. They need to show that what they do actually works, and generates meaningful change. The fancier way of saying this is that it is "evidence based."

The next thing you need to show is that your solution is scalable. Solutions that work in only one place or situation won't do. As Mayor Mike Rawlings said recently, "A great idea, if it's not scalable, it's nothing..."

Now, let's say you have shown that what you do is evidence based and that it is scalable. Now someone has to pay for it. Let's dwell on that point for a moment. There are many ideas for which the money is just not there. Let's be honest too, this usually means there is a lack of will, not really a lack of money. And when I am talking about money, I mean A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY! Because, if it is a real problem, for which there is a real solution, you need "real money".

Happily, as mentioned in our last blog post, MDHA's cause, ending homelessness by putting people into homes, is evidence based and scalable. On top of that, Uncle Sam (the only player, who never really runs out of money) gives Dallas (through MDHA) almost $17,000,000 a year to pay for it! Uncle Sam has all the programs raise match and leverage funds of $20,500,000 in non-federal annual funding. Furthermore, MDHA has also facilitated the Dallas Housing Authority’s housing of 3400 formerly homeless individuals and families at an ongoing annual value of over $28,000,000. That's A WHOLE LOT OF REAL MONEY!

All we in Dallas have to do is invest a few hundred thousand dollars a year to sustain MDHA, and those tens of millions of dollars are ours. Can there be a better return on your charitable investment?

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