Ashley Qiang
Urban Institute
UI Associate
Rayanne Hawkins
Urban Institute
Business Operations Manager

How Urban PFSI’s Support Center brings value to the pay for success field

August 3, 2016 - 9:29am

Pay for success (PFS) is by no means an easy model to navigate. That’s why in March 2015, the Urban Institute launched its Pay for Success Initiative to help guide, design, and assess PFS transactions across the country through tools and training that support PFS efforts and disseminate information among stakeholders. Since its inception, the initiative has launched and produced many valuable resources, including the Support Center.

What is the Support Center?

The Support Center is a unique resource for answering questions about PFS. It connects anyone with a question about PFS—whether on issue areas in which the model can be applied or thornier challenges with evaluation design—to our experts at Urban for an answer.

The Support Center responds to specific questions on topics like the viability of PFS in a geographic area or the evidence base for a particular intervention. In the past, Urban experts have responded to questions about PFS outcomes pricing, conditional cash transfers, and the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA). Our publications (including the Early Childhood Education Toolkit and our evidence brief) provide insight into the attention and detail with which the Support Center approaches questions and the thoroughness with which they answer them. Questions that come through the Support Center are typically answered within three business days.

For those newer to PFS, answers to general questions can already be found on the Support Center’s Frequently Asked Questions page. These questions range in topics from PFS stakeholders to evaluation designs to current PFS projects. The FAQs are updated regularly by our Support Center experts to address emerging questions in the field.

What makes the Support Center so unique?

The Support Center offers a direct link between practitioners in the field and Urban’s subject-matter experts , who have specialized knowledge in everything from the mechanics of evaluation and evidence, to deep expertise in recidivism, homelessness, and other areas that PFS projects may address. Not only do these experts answer technical, in-the-weeds inquiries about PFS, they also bring a unique level of insight, nuance, and proficiency to any PFS question – through a direct, easy-to-use, and efficient process.

How do I get in touch with the Support Center?

If you have a question about PFS, there are several ways to contact our Support Center:

  • Go to pfssupport.urban.org. Here you will find answers to our frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t on this list, you can contact the Support Center directly through its contact form.
  • Email your questions to pfssupport@urban.org.
  • Tweet at @PFSsupport. If you have a short question about PFS, feel free to tweet at @PFSsupport, the PFS Support Center’s Twitter handle.

Today we will be tweeting some of the Support Center’s resources with #PFSpointers. Join the conversation on Twitter to learn more about how the Support Center can help your exploration of PFS.



As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues. Scholars are independent and empowered to share their evidence-based views and recommendations shaped by research. Photo via Shutterstock.