Today’s recession has forced human service agencies and the government to become partners in order to serve the poor. Government funding and grants have decreased and the needs of the poor have increased. According to an 2010 Urban Institute study on nonprofits, the government depends on nonprofit human service agencies to serve the poor (Boris, 2010). Consequently, human service agencies depend on government funding and grants.
A financial shift have caused human service agencies to lose funding or cause the agencies to operate waiting on late payment schedules from the government that result in many organizations having to close their doors to needy people. Well known human service agencies such as Chicago’s Jane Adams Hull House, YMCA, domestic violence shelters, childcare facilities, soup kitchens and organizations serving the youth population have stopped providing programs and services because they do not have the budget to pay for the programs.
Although many nonprofit human service agencies are funded by the government, a human service organization must compete to get a piece of the dwindling funding pie for its human service programs. The key assumption of this paper is because of the unreliability of government funding, human service organizations must become more effective with their program delivery, contingency revenue generation, and sustainability.
In comparison, nonprofit organizations that provide services to the poor must compete for funding dollars like for-profit organizations compete for investment dollars. In order to be competitive, an organization must demonstrate that its program can meet multiple needs, it has a portfolio of funders to meet its budget, and more importantly that the programs works. The scope of the problem is how to develop organizational effectiveness. It ould be of value to the human service field to know how to shift from ineffective program efforts to more sustainable effective program efforts. This study will investigate existing literature relating to effectiveness within human service organizations; effectiveness theories that are advantageous to human service practitioners; family-centered service approaches that can help achieve effectiveness; measurement and key performance indicators of effectiveness; and the role of advocacy and effectiveness.
It is easy to think that a human service organization is effective because it operates and does what its mission states it would do, but stakeholders such as end-users and funders may see effectiveness differently. Judging of program effectiveness may sometimes be unclear because of a stakeholder’s vision of effectiveness. The effectiveness vision of the end-user is that a program can meet a need. The effectiveness vision of a funder is the program need to do more with less. Effectiveness in its simplest form means to produce or designed to continuously improve and produce a desired effect (APHSA, 2012).
If an organization’s desired effect is to provide a hot meal to people in a geographical community, then a soup kitchen’s program effectiveness should epitomize a program with the ability to keep up with the demand of an increased number of people who need a hot bowl of soup due to a downturned economy. It has become typical that urban human service organizations remain effective while operating with conditions that include waiting for the late government grant check and the organization administrator not having the ability to pay the salaries that may result in the program being suspended.
It is difficult to maintain organizational effectiveness when a woman that has no safe place to go shows up at a domestic violence shelter and is directed to go to the nearest police station because the shelter does not have a bed. All these are real world examples of human service program ineffectiveness. This is the state of our human service organizations in this present economy. There are no clear cut answers but to adapt to conditions and survive. Again, human service organizations must learn ways to keep programs operating independently and not to rely solely on municipal and foundational funding.
Human service organizations must learn how to creatively grow with increased demand, and demonstrate tenacity when the odds are against its survival. This is the new vision of effectiveness. Prior literature reflects traditional conditions such as a decent economy; low unemployment; or the demand for services being in a state of effectiveness measures in adverse conditions. These well known human service agencies are closing because they have lost their relevance and effectiveness within the community. The topic of my final project is about how human service agencies can demonstrate and sustain program effectiveness.
The literature that I reviewed confirms that there is a need to maintain program effectiveness. Human Service agencies need to show that their programs work, the programs are fiscally sound, and that the programs help the populations that need the services. The literature exhibits the following reciprocal relationships. Effectiveness theories are advantageous for human service practitioners. A wholistic family service approach should be utilized to ensure effectiveness. Processes should be designed with end-user engagement.
Measurement is essential including how agencies compare to industry leaders. Performance is a key indicator of effectiveness. Advocacy should be included to achieve program efficacy. One would think that a program is effective if the program meet budget, has a great five-year strategic plan, and motivated by stakeholders who only think about the bottom-line. The discrepancies within the literature include that effectiveness is not only defined by the ability to maintain program solvency, but more importantly to sustain programmatically soundness.
Theoretical Framework. I propose an investigation to support the position that because of constant changing internal and external conditions, human service organizations must become more effective by restructuring program delivery; creating contingency revenue plans; and maintaining program sustainability. The theoretical framework for my argument provides support for the proposed study by reciprocating known relationships among variables and establishing parameters for this proposed assumption. The two theories that are support for my investigation is the contingency theory and the valence theory of rganizations. The most important element of the traditional contingency theory is that best practices are determined on the contingencies or conditions of situation. According to Schoech (2006), when utilizing this theory, one would identify and measure conditions under which things will likely occur. Researchers believe that because human service practice varies, the contingency theory can be an appropriate tool to model and change procedures according to changing conditions. In a contingency theory context, a contingency is a relationship between two occurrences.
If one occurrence exists, then a conclusion can be drawn about another occurrence (Schoech, 2006). The research on contingency theory is related to many management variables. There is research on professionalism and centralized decision making, or worker education and task complexity. The application of the contingency theory to human service management permits a practitioner to analyze a situation, determine what variable affects the decision that confronts the practitioner (Schoech, 2006).
An example of a management contingency includes Carlisle’s 1976 model based on the internal conditions on which management principally depend are the agencies purpose and goals. The people hired, technology used, tasks performed and organizational structure are all driven by the agency’s goals and purpose. This model also depicts the external environments as that the political and socio-cultural forces and institutions affect inputs to the internal with resources, policy, theories, and values.
On the other hand, technology and economic forces and institutions affect outputs from the organization with services provided, behaviors changed, goals met, rules and ethics (Carlisle, H. M. , 1976). Examples of hypotheses relating to the contingency theory include the 1967 research work of Lawrence and Lorsch in which they contended that the amount of uncertainty and rate of change in an environment impacts the development of internal features within organizations (Lawrence, 1967). Another example is Jay Galbraith, with the hypothesis that organizations whose internal features best matched the demands of their environments will achieve the est adaptation (Galbraith, 1973). The limitations that are documented of the contingency theory include that the doctrine mandates that all occurrences are determined by external causes; the theory is something abstract and accepted by public as a material thing; and the theory ignores that managers may act politically or pursue agendas which eliminate rational responses to the environment. The strengths of the contingency theory are that it is grounded in empirical research. It has standing and acknowledged by industry researchers as a theory that is a reliable and valid method.
Finally, the theory does not mandate that people be described as effective in all situations (Northouse, 2004). The contingency theory provides support that an organization can change its internal approach when external conditions change, so the outputs can be according to the goals and purpose of the organization. A contemporary theory that supports my investigation is the valence theory of organizations because it offers all aspects of my position. It supports that organizations have frequent internal and external changes; the theory introduce a restructuring program delivery process; and enlighten how to maintain sustainability.
The theory was developed during research of two types of organizations. The two organization types that were researched were a bureaucratic, administratively controlled, hierarchy (BAH) organization, and a ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity (UCAPP) organization. The study involved the research of five organizations, a mixture of both types. The study researched how does organizations accommodate change of people. The valence theory defines an organization as an immediate action structure whose units are connected by two or more of five integer relationships and all five integers were applied to all five organizations for study.
The integers include economic, socio-psychological; identity, knowledge, and ecological in which the relationships can connect (Federman, 2010). The findings from this research were that hierarchical organizations have replaced human relationship in social systems with procedures that empower structural interdependence of responsibility and leadership accountability. In contrast, the UCAPP or the new leadership approach organizations promote processes of continual improvement by valuing and promoting environments of autonomy, collective responsibility and mutual accountability.
The limitations of the theory include that the theory fail to define how to separate constituency demands such as labor/management/capital. The theory’s new nature of leadership, fails to identify the new role of leadership with the model. The theory fails to explain how to transform organizational cultural changes. The economic-valence also known as the value exchange valence is an integer that symbolizes an understanding, abstraction, or performance of members and the organization. In addition to services or production exchanged for money, economic valence could also be enacted by means of valued actions.
The socio-psychological-valence creates one’s emotional connection that includes the origin of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation then manifest action within an individual. The socio-psychological-valence supplies people with the ability to compensate or interpret less than desirable behaviors within an organization and establish group cohesiveness and effectiveness. Identity-valence or role performance is said by researchers to interchange with two premises. The highlight of identity to a person within an organization is established by both subjective significance and situational pertinence.
Subjectively, the more significance one connects to an identity the more perception of sense of self the person will assume. Additionally, situational relevance is developed by the degree to which a given identity is appropriate to a given situation. The knowledge-valence has developed into a commodity just as important as an economic commodity. Knowledge is now referred to as property or intellectual property and individuals build their connection to an organization by contributing skills, expertise, information and explicit knowledge.
The ecological-valence represents the view that both the organization and the larger society are embedded within the larger natural environment (Federman, 2010). The findings from this research were that hierarchical organizations have replaced human relationship in social systems with procedures that empower structural interdependence of responsibility and leadership accountability. In contrast, the UCAPP or the new leadership approach organizations promote processes of continual improvement by valuing and promoting environments of autonomy, collective responsibility and mutual accountability.
One advantage of a valence theory analysis is that it can provide a counterpoise approach to the supporting relationships that bind organizational members. The theory contributes a new way to understand human dynamics within organizations; it provides a new approach and framework. The limitations of the theory include that the theory fail to define how to separate constituency demands such as labor/management/capital. The theory results in a new nature of leadership, what is the new role of leadership with the model. The theory fails to explain how to transform organizational cultural changes.
Literature Review. Constant change within internal and external conditions results in human service organizations to become more effective by restructuring program delivery; creating contingency revenue plans; and by maintaining sustainability. There is literature that supports that constant internal and external changes impact human service organizations. Fifty years ago, researchers concluded that the traditional trait and behavioral approaches of leadership were not effective (Owen, 1995). The problems with the trait and behavior approaches were that they completely lacked situational preparedness, subordinate engagement, and identity.
After the trait and behavioral leadership approach proved as a failure to be sufficient within overall theory of leadership and behavioral approaches but displayed results that effective leadership depended on variables, such as organizational culture, the nature of tasks, and attention evolved to the contingency theory of leadership (Owen, 1995). Hypotheses relating to the contingency theory include the 1967 research work of Lawrence and Lorsch in which they contended that the amount of uncertainty and rate of change in an environment impacts the development of internal features within organizations (Lawrence, 1967).
Another contingency theory includes Galbraith’s hypothesis that organizations whose internal features best matched the demands of their environments, which include changing internal and external will achieve the best adaptation (Galbraith, 1973). Opposing perspectives with this theory is that researchers should make conclusions that emphasize multiple contingencies instead of single and provide more explanations of contingency and organizational design relationships in their literature (Owens, 1995).
Blue-Howell (2008), used a case study methodology to examine how restructuring program delivery can promote effectiveness. The study presents a framework that included four phases and implemented by a Los Angeles Veteran healthcare provider. The program remained in the sustained maintenance phase, which indicates effectiveness, for years after program implementing. The article contends that there is a need for alliances to problem solve and advocate for programs, even after its implementation (2008).
Another 2012 study that support restructuring program delivery was conducted by the SAS Institute for the federal agency HHS and it provides an analysis that include a comprehensive client-centric view and predictive analytics that show practitioners how to serve and be effective by using a preemptive service approach (SAS, 2012). In support that human service organizations need to create contingency revenue plans, a 2010 study of human service organizations provide documenting evidence about nonprofit-government contracting, systems, and issues.
The study researched the impact of the current recession on these organizations and the bilateral budget cuts the organizations have made to keep their programs operable (Boris et. al , 2010). Other support of effectiveness through creating contingency revenue plans, include a 2007study depicted US high impact nonprofits as innovative social-change motivated enetities that for example, open small businesses to help fund programs ( Grant, & Crutchfield, 2007).
Literature that support that maintaining sustainability was offered by Mancini and Marek, (2004) define, sustainability as “ capacity of programs to continously respond to community issues”. The authors developed a model for examining community-based program sustainability along with a program sustainability index (2004). A 2012 study conducted by the American Public Human Services Association focuses on effectiveness capacity and the gap in organizational effectiveness and affected client outcomes (APHSA, 2012).
Literature Review. Most researchers conduct studies to answer questions about a phenomenon, or something that is an occurrence or fact. The phenomenon studied by the researchers that wrote about my final project topic is effectiveness within human service organizations. Based on their written articles and books, the researchers wanted to know how to attain effectiveness within a human service organization and more than likely the researchers wanted to learn more about effectiveness because it is needed to keep human service programs sustainable.
The literature reviewed reflect studies in different human service areas, but the topic of effectiveness and how to attain it within these different human service organizations is concurrent. Blue-Howell, McGuire and Nakashima’s (2008) “Co-location of Healthcare Services For Homeless Veterans: A Case Study of Innovation in Program Implementation” describes a program implementation process The researchers utilized the qualitative data collection approach with a case study that observed real-life settings and existing documents. The framework included four phases and implemented by a Los Angeles Veteran healthcare provider.
The program remained in the sustained maintenance phase, which indicates effectiveness, for years after program implementing. The case study suggests that there is a need for alliances to repetitively problem solve and advocate for programs, even after its implementation. The article included grounded theory of a process that worked for a large urban healthcare organization for veterans (Blue-Howell, McGuire, and Nakashima, 2008). Blustein’s 2005, “Toward a More Public Discussion of the Ethics of Federal Social Program Evaluation” describe how the research authorities that regulate federal social program evaluations have ethical questions.
Observation of existing documents was the qualitative approach used for this study’s data collection. Blustein (2005) reviews the federal guidelines that regulate research ethics, and determine the history when evaluation of federal programs was excused from the scope of these regulations. This article highlighted observations of programs, activities and processes over a prolonged period of time. It looked at policy with organized and prepared data collection (Blustein, 2005).
In Donaldson” Developing a Progressive Advocacy Program within a Human Service Agency” suggests that progressive advocacy within human service agencies can contribute to effectiveness by addressing foundational and control injustices. The article demonstrates the qualitative data collection approach with a case study showing how a homeless service agency integrated advocacy as an innermost function. The limitations showed a need for greater leadership commitment; more investment in constituent engagement; vulnerability of funders and minimal opportunities for reflection.
The article demonstrates the qualitative data collection approach by observing the process development and practice within a nonprofit homeless service agency. The article discusses the progressive advocacy program’s limitations and its inference for additional research and practice (Donaldson, 2008). Grant and Crutchfield wrote in” Creating High Impact Non-Profits” a clarifying study of high-impact non-profits. The study identifies the practices of large US non-profits and provides ideas for innovative ways of helping others.
This work used a qualitative ethnography approach by describing the practices of these well known and funded organizations (Grant and Crutchfield, 2007). Qualitative research focuses on gathering of mainly verbal data rather than measurements. Gathered information is then analyzed in an interpretive manner. Quantitative research focuses more in counting and constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed. Kettner and Martin’s (2009) “Measuring the Performance of Human Service Programs” discusses why and how performance indicators have become the entire segment of directing programs in human service.
The authors define performance measures that include numeric counts, standardized measures and client satisfaction. The authors determine the pros and cons of these performance measures. This book illustrates quantitative data collection to demonstrate that a program works and illustrate how to attain a program that has efficiency and effectiveness (Kettner & Martin, 2009). Saul’s “Benchmarking for Nonprofits: How to Measure, Manage, and Improve Performance” defines benchmarking and discusses a methodical, step by step rocedure and full-scale way to benchmark. The book also instructs how to precipitate an agency to measure performance and carrying out best practices. This book utilized a quantitative approach to collect data and provide measurements for achieving effectiveness (Saul, 2004). Savaya, & Waysman’s “The Logic Model: A Tool for Incorporating Theory in Development and Evaluation of Programs” wrote about a tool to assist practitioners to increase effectiveness by explaining and introducing program theory also directing and designing the process.
Quantitative research methods were used to prove that the logic model in fact can achieve effective development and evaluations of human service programs (Savaya, Waysman, 2005). Practical Application The goals of my paper include using the analysis of my study to promote more effective human service organization studies that illustrate how serve people in need; help the people served understand their problems and their root-causes; and transform the people served into social change agents that changes attitudes and behaviors of others within communities.
Foster-Fisherman and Behrens’s 2007 study of systems change within human and community- based services and concluded that there is a need for frameworks, methods, and change activities that attend to characteristics of systems. They mentioned in their study: “Only when initiatives, theories, methods, and resources directed toward system change efforts become aligned with the complexity and realities of systems will our pursuit of a just world is realized” (Foster-Fisherman and Behrens, pg 196, 2007). This work partly defines system change as “change efforts that strive to shift the underlying infrastructure within a community”.
Keeping this definition in mind, this is one of the ultimate goals that I hope to achieve with my study. I would like to address both meeting needs and changing the way that those needs are met. The findings can help human service organizations to be view by the public as better organized programs or services that improve the quality of life of others. My research could contribute to the human service practice, by streamlining programming to provide only services that are needed by the community, and excluding programs that are minimally utilized by the community.
The findings about effectiveness within human service organizations can create sustainable and effective human service programs that serve and transform individuals who are closest to the social problems into developers of solutions that address social issues. The findings can assist with the realization that program development should include not only the program methods and procedures but also the program’s method of payment. The methods of payments of course will include grants and government contracts, but it should also include contingency methods of payments.
I hope to promote thought about tools for maintaining sustainable programs within human service organizations, and become less dependent on government financial support. Examples of sustaining programs that are operating whether municipal funding is attained or not include, if a program costs $15,000 annually, then an innovative way to fund the program without depending on municipal funding would be to earn the $15,000 and the innovative fundraising method will need to be documented in a program development plan.
Some methods include raising capital such as concession stand fundraising, walk/run-a-thons, and profits from businesses. This paper could contribute to advocacy ideas by promoting the idea of serving the community; educating the end- users of human services about their problems and how these problems contribute to their conditions. If the end-user understands the attitudes, behaviors, and change that are needed to help them and the next generation, then you can transform these individuals to become change-agents and self sufficient people who can train and initiate social change throughout the communities in which they live.
The paper can also promote social change and transform social change as a builder of grass-root reactions that address underlying social problems on many levels. Foster-Fisherman and Behrens (2007) argue that there are three main reasons why advocacy and social change should be a focus which include: 1). Social change requires modification of the status quo. 2). Governments grants-contracts and national foundations have taken on the term “system change” to illuminate their mission of making a transformative impact on communities and service delivery systems. 3).
Social change can gain efficacy information learned in system science (Foster-Fishman and Behrens, pg 192 2007). Because of this recommended focus, legislative policy change can certainly develop with more effective human service programming, innovative contingency funding practices, and end-user positive behavioral changes that can lead to self-sufficiency, shifting policies, community values, skills and attitudes. This project can help human service organizations be viewed as better organized programs or services that improve the quality of life of others.
The findings can help organizations focus on their mission to serve and provide for the needs of the poor, and use innovative practices to fund and maintain the program’s operation. The findings can advance social well-being with human service programs that work and can actually change people’s attitudes and lives by finding and addressing the problems and the problem’s root-causes. The findings about effectiveness within human service organizations can create sustainable and effective human service programs that serve and transform individuals who are closest to the social problems into developers of solutions that address social issues.
Effective human service programs can help these individuals understand social issues; and transform these individuals into social change agents. These change agents can help change attitudes and reflect as images of inclusion, fairness, diversity and opportunity. Social Policy A social policy that impacts the topic of my final project includes Illinois Governor Pat Quinn assembly and appointment of the Serve Illinois Commission. The social policy Serve Illinois Commission ensures volunteerism and community service.
The commission is a thirty-five member; bi-partisan board appointed by the governor, that mission is to improve Illinois communities by providing for and augmenting volunteerism and community service. The commission is succeeding with this mission through the furnishing of volunteerism and the administration of programs funded by the federal corporation AmeriCorps. Governor Quinn announced that money was awarded enabling 1200 volunteers within 29 human service collaboration programs to better serve Illinois communities.
Serve Illinois Commission, a social policy will assist human services across all areas to help needy individuals within Illinois communities. The Serve Illinois Commission is a two-fold social policy in which: 1). it may be important for organizations to collaborate with other organizations under one entity, and 2). the social policy is for the betterment of the human service field. Sowa (2009) concluded that there are conditions that promote the formation of inter-organizational collaborations.
One condition is organizations having a goal to attain the benefits that accompany both service delivery and each organization that are involved in the collaboration (Sowa, 2009 ). Most organizations engage in interagency service collaborations as a result of diminishing public and private funding sources. Another reason to collaborate with larger organizations includes the responsibility of meeting stakeholder expectations of the organization securing funding and service resources.
The conclusion is that collaborations can benefit both the individuals that need the services and the organizations that provide the services. The social policy that Governor Quinn assembled was an example of how working within a coalition of human service organizations can help secure resources to help each organization to enact their mission and provide services to needy individuals. AmeriCorps, the federal corporation includes many organization members that provide services that range from legal assistance to homeless housing programs.
The volunteers provided by AmeriCorps will offer member organizations both professional and non-professional services. The money announced by Governor Quinn will aid in operations and keep the organizations fiscally sound while meeting the needs of others. Many people will find service connections in their area of need. Serve Illinois Commission impacts my paper because it validates and provides an effectiveness idea for delivering human service. The social policy demonstrates that sometimes to be effective may include an organization collaborating with one large association.
It also demonstrates that the local government partners with organizations to provide for its needy citizens. Historically, local governments outsource to nonprofits based on their professional ability, body of knowledge, and ability to custom-fit programs to specific communities and conditions (Smith, 1993). Quinn’s recent AmeriCorps announcement was about the Serve Illinois Commission that worked to provide funding and volunteers to AmeriCorps programs in nearly 300 sites. AmeriCorps is a federal organization that provides people to its members to provide service and volunteers.
The lists of organizations and independent collaborations that will benefit but not limited to include Chicago bar Foundation, Teach for America, Greater Food Depository, Public Health Institute of Metro Chicago, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. This list demonstrates the professionalism and range of human service agencies that benefit from the funding. 8. 3 million dollars and other resources will reach over 300 human service sites and is remarkable because of the variety of needs that will be met.
The underlying meaning here is that the organizations bear the responsibility of caring for the state’s citizens and must report and follow procedures to remain a member of the collaboration. The AmeriCorps organizations sub-contract and provide other opportunities for fledging and smaller organizations. In reference to effectiveness, it appears that being a member of the AmeriCorps or a like agency would be beneficial and can assist with a program to remain operational by collaborating with larger organizations and associations.
Again, this is another option to consider when effectiveness is a goal. According to Burger, (2010) the purpose of social policy is to improve the lives of people (Burger, 2010). Social policy is a principle or action plan that pertains to circumstances of living in society. The topic of my final project is maintaining effectiveness within human service agencies, which include staying relevant to meet needs of people and sustain funding for programs that meet needs. The social policy set by Governor Quinn for Illinois was a smart and good effort for the many needy citizens of Illinois.
The services provided by these organizations that will benefit provide ways for people of Illinois to live better. Consequently, the education, the rights of the most vulnerable, and public health for people who are in need are met. The altruism of the volunteers, who provide the services, is gratifying and admired by the communities that they serve. This effort is a cost effective social policy that advocates volunteerism and can be modeled in other major metropolitan cities.
It would be remiss not to mention that cost-effectiveness is not part of overall organizational effectiveness. Volunteerism is the most cost effective method of providing professional services to those in need. Conclusion In summary, this paper has established that the unreliability of government funding, human service organizations must become more effective with their program delivery, contingency revenue generation, and sustainability to operate human service programs.
The programs can be effective if the programs can meet needs of individuals; help these individuals understand social issues; and transform these individuals into social change agents. These change agents can help change attitudes and reflect as images of inclusion, fairness, diversity and opportunity. The theoretical framework for this analysis includes the Contingency and Valence theory. The contingency theory provides support that an organization can change its internal approach when external conditions change, so the outputs can be according to the goals and purpose of the organization.
The valence theory supports that with processes of continuous improvement human service organization’s environments of autonomy, collective responsibility and mutual accountability will be promoted. Most of the literature support that there is a need for advocacy in human service programs core; more investment in constituency engagement; and greater leadership commitment. This work’s application include advocating ideas to promote the idea of serving the community; educating the end- users of human services about their problems and how these problems contribute to their conditions.
If the end-user understands the attitudes, behaviors, and change that are needed to help them and the next generation, then you can transform these individuals to become change-agents and self sufficient people who can train and initiate social change throughout the communities in which they live. A social policy like Serve Illinois Commission would work because the policy ensures volunteerism and community service for human service organizations. This policy could help with operating costs to serve the needy.