Are Clients Making Progress and Changing Financial Management Behaviors?

It is important that your performance management system measures more than client satisfaction.  It should evaluate the extent to which your financial capability program is high quality and having the intended impact of contributing to short and long term changes in a client’s financial management behaviors.  To do this, you should assess the extent to which clients are making progress during and after participation in your program.

Many financial capability programs conduct pre-and post-assessments at the beginning and at the conclusion of services. Immediate outcomes of financial capability programs, which involve changes in participants’ financial knowledge, attitudes toward financial behaviors, confidence in their capabilities to manage their finances, and aspirations to make financial behavior changes, should be measured upon completion of the program. Mid-term outcomes include actual changes in participants’ financial behaviors, while in the long term, an increase in financial capability is ultimately meant to improve an individual’s financial conditions or status. To measure the continued adoption of positive financial management behaviors and practices you will need to follow-up with the people that received your services a few weeks or months after completion of the program:

    • One way to follow-up with program participants is to conduct a survey (via online, telephone or mail) a few weeks or months after clients complete your program.  The survey should ask clients questions such as whether they use the information presented from your program and what specifically have they used more than once.  Programs should record the percentage of clients who report adopting positive financial management behaviors from the training.

Short programs that occur once for less than a full day may not offer enough time to conduct pre and post-assessments. Longer programs that lasts at least a day and may require multiple sessions are long enough to conduct pre and post-assessments and even observe financial management behavioral changes. Longer programs have the potential to create long-term impacts such as changes in financial knowledge and aspirations, financial management skills and behaviors, and overall financial health and well-being (NEFE, 2013).

The data you collect after clients complete your program can be used to inform management decisions and modify service delivery as appropriate. Analysis of this data will help your program staff identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, as well as track progress toward achieving short, intermediate, and long term outcomes. So, it is important that you share timely performance assessment results with program staff and administration in order to implement changes that will better serve clients, and plan quality improvements for future services (Shannon, 2003).

Surveys/Assessments

 

Sources Cited

Shannon, L.C. (2003). Best Practices for Parent Education: Programs Seeking to Prevent Child Abuse.  Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved from http://www.npen.org/pdfs/BestPra.pdf.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, www.supportunitedway.org. A financial education provider survey (2006) and web-based, community toolkit (November 2007) available.