By: Rosie Valadez-McStay and Ken Janda
If you are following the progress of the first six Texas Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (TACHI) sites, perhaps you’ve grown curious as to how these collaboratives will be maintained and sustained. For sustained operations, the TACHI sites need to expand their funding beyond grants and establish ongoing financial support. In other words, TACHI sites need streaming subscriptions, not just pay per view. For non-profits, using grants to get established and for specific, time-defined initiatives can be strategic, but operating from grant to grant indefinitely is precarious. Securing “streaming subscriptions” is key to sustainability.
These community-driven, cross-sector partnerships have established shared goals and shared accountability for addressing health issues in a local community. Now, these six “social entrepreneurs” are working to create their site’s unique “Value Propositions” that will appeal to financial and/or social investors willing to sign on to a streaming subscription – that is, willing to support the ongoing work of the TACHI site.
So what is a “Value Proposition” and why do TACHI sites need to create one?
In business, a “Value Proposition” is defined as the value a company promises to bring to a customer who has purchased the product or service created. TACHI sites must create their own compelling story to attract long-term funding partners (i.e., “customers”). These partners may be health plans, health systems, large and small business employers, banks, or other philanthropically-minded entities or individuals that are motivated to provide ongoing financial support for interventions that support the health of the community. To create these value propositions, TACHI sites must: 1) effectively communicate the community priority(ies) these collaboratives want to address and why; 2) narrow the scope of interventions they, as a group, will implement to address these priorities; and 3) be aspirational in what they hope to achieve in the community (the value) once the collective work is implemented and continues.
Nearly all potential funders we have talked to see the value in, and say they are willing to, participate in collaborative funding activities with community collaboratives such as ACHs, but ACHs must…
- Have specific goals and initiatives that funders what to fund (value to funders).
- Learn to speak the language of social investors and tap into their enlightened self-interest (their awareness that investing in the larger community will also benefit their mission or business).
- Build their investor confidence in the ACH’s ability to deliver (structure, governance, metrics).
- Demonstrate the value of their “purchase/investment,” not just their benevolence.
Plan to tap into multiple funders – ideally from different industries/sectors – to demonstrate value to the whole community (not just health care organizations).
While each TACHI site will have its own individual ‘pitch’ to prospective funders, each entity should keep in mind the following about the people or corporations that would most likely invest:
- Funders are all doing their own “one-off” things. Collaborating is new for them, too.
- Funders want to be at the table, but if their competitors are there, they want to be sure everyone is willing to play nice together.
- Funders are attracted to clear, focused goals and are wary of efforts to “boil the ocean”!
- Some of the issues currently attracting investments are food security, employment, mental health access, and housing.
In short, to sell your “value proposition,” funders/investors need to know:
- Who are you? What is an accountable community for health?
- What issue is the collaborative trying to address?
- What data do you have to support your chosen focus?
- How will you address the issue? What are the specific interventions?
- Why/how will this service/intervention/product improve community health?
- Why should a particular “investor” invest in your work? What’s in it for them?
- What is your specific ask of each investor?
A strong example of a value proposition is that of the Great Lakes Bay Region’s THRIVE (Tranforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy) initiative. At the top of it’s the intervention portfolio page, THRIVE articulates a set of anticipated benefits, including:
- Improved worker productivity
- Reversal of population loss
- More people in the workforce
- Increased average income
- Less Medicaid/more commercial coverage
- Increased hospital net income.
THRIVE opted to emphasize benefits with broad regional and economic appeal, although it’s portfolio of interventions are clearly designed to yield population health benefits. This was likely a strategic decision based on an understanding of the values of its target investors. Each TACHI site will need to identify and articulate the overlap between what their potential funders value and what their portfolio of interventions can deliver. Combined with a compelling data-supported story, TACHI sites will be will on their way to the goal of sustainability.