Operationalizing the Project

THRIVE used a collaborative model that relied on each CBO’s unique expertise to set up administrative roles and responsibilities. From March to April 2020, all six partners contacted more than 50 potential donors to request funding support for the initiative.

Set Internal Partnership Roles and a Launch Plan

Each CBO brought unique capacities to the project.

  • Martha’s Table furnished groceries and dry goods to partners for distribution to participants and continues to provide essential operations and evaluation expertise based on its own early-lockdown cash transfer effort.
  • Bread for the City served as the fiscal agent and continues to provide legal advice about the risk to benefits for enrollees and manage the platform for cash disbursement to participants.
  • 11th Street Bridge Park facilitated communications among the partners related to operations, evaluation, and fundraising; continues to manage the portal for individual donations and provide expertise on equitable development.
  • FSFSC connected participants to government relief and other resources, such as reemployment services and mental health supports.

TIP: Carefully inventory partner capacities and adopt clear and distinct roles early on.

Ensure Effective Money Management

The CBO partners set up three administrative components to support fundraising and fiscal oversight: a single fiscal agent to receive and manage funds, an online giving portal for individual donations, and a platform capable of transferring funds to participants.

  • Fiscal agent role: Bread for the City took on the fiscal agent role, consolidating almost all funds management and distribution. No matter which organization had contacted the funding organization, all payments written to THRIVE went to Bread for the City for deposit. The other three CBOs transferred funds donated to their organizations for THRIVE to Bread for the City’s accounting staff for oversight. The other partners also invoiced Bread for the City to cover their administrative costs and for special functions like service navigation and food distribution.
  • Online giving portal: Bridge Park established an online giving portal so THRIVE could receive small contributions from individual donors. Bridge Park collected these funds and then regularly transferred them to Bread for the City for fiscal management purposes.
  • Platform to transfer funds to participants: Early on, the partners used a subcontractor to transfer funds to participants. After determining that more hands-on customer service was needed to serve the participants well, Bread for the City adapted a cash disbursement platform it had already established for another project to transfer funds directly to THRIVE participants.

TIP: Build on the relationships you have when setting administrative roles like fiscal agent. Sort relationships into usable buckets, and examine where you can help fill the gaps of your partners. Set up weekly check-in calls to troubleshoot and find solutions in real time. Look for additional support if gaps exist.

TIP: Identify each partner’s unique assets and strengths, and define clear roles and responsibilities in a signed memorandum of understanding.