Friday, June 24, 2011

Managing the Matrix


As the economy remains tight, state and federal, and even foundation grant programs are requiring more in return for the use of their funds.

What is the "more" defined as? It comes in the form of more specific requirements, procedural steps, outcome measures, and other ways that the funder is (naturally) trying to ensure effective use of the funds that are available. It means that the appropriate use of increasingly targeted funds if more and more challenging.

At the recipient or community level, this has the interesting consequence of requiring more time to patch together an increasingly specific set of funded options to package assistance for those who need help.

As a former grants officer myself, and involved with many community initiatives, I know this not really new; arguably the scale of this issue is growing, however. Hit with tighter resources, plus the growing disparity of income distribution across the country, and the task of helping those who need help is increasingly challenging. It is hard by definition. It is harder when those who give resources insist on increasingly detailed reporting about increasingly focused distributions.

Not that we can solve this problem. What we are doing, however, is beginning to build a new architecture in our CommunityOS software to allow our customers to manage this matrix even better.  In fact we just had another Community of Practice conference call yesterday on this very topic.  Very productive.

Stay tuned. As the challenges become more and more complex, the software can in fact respond.  It's what CommunityOS is all about, building multi-agency, multi-purpose solutions that can be used by different organizations for their own needs, yet in concert, collaboratively, for the good of the community.

Ideas or thoughts on this topic?  Please get in touch.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink