Posted in Activism, Board of Directors, Capacity-building, Communication, Foundations, Grantmakers, Leadership, Management, Outcome Measurement, Technology on March 11, 2009|
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The Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, a free online resource, captures and organizes good practices for nonprofits and foundations.
There are thousands of effectiveness-building tips and resources on topics including:
- Accountability and Evaluation;
- Communications and Marketing;
- Foundations and Grantmaking;
- Fundraising and Financial Sustainability;
- Management and Leadership;
- Staff Development and Organizational Capacity;
- Technology; and
- Volunteer Management.
Source: National Council of Nonprofits
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Like the leaders of private companies, nonprofit managers need to know whether their programs are providing satisfactory results. Outcome management enables organizations to define and use specific indicators to continually measure how well services or programs are leading to the desired results. With this information, managers can better develop budgets, allocate their resources, and improve their services.
A successful outcome management program includes a process to measure outcomes plus the use of that information to help manage and improve services and organizational outcomes. Your programs are a strategy of your mission. And the only way you know if your programs are supporting your mission is by outcome measurments. You need to know this information, and your funders will demand it. It’s not the “we’ll get around to it soon” thing, but the startng point of program development.
What contibutes to outcome success?
A nonprofit should have certain characteristics to successfully develop and implement an outcome management process. They include the following:
- Leadership support. There must be visible support from top management in the organization.
- Commitment of time and staff resources. Initial development and introduction of the process often requires the time and effort of many staff members. Once the process is in place, the effort required typically decreases, as outcome management becomes part of basic program management.
- Program stability. Programs that are undergoing major change in mission or personnel are not good candidates for introducing performance measurement. A stable organizational environment is needed.
- Computer capability. Even if the organization is very small, the capacity to use computers to record data and prepare reports is very desirable. What is needed is hardware and software (even if rudimentary) as well as staff with the necessary expertise.
Need help getting started?
The Urban Institute has produced an excellent guidebook entitled Key Steps in Outcome Measurements which can be found here. We would be glad to discuss implementing or redefiniing an outcome measurement program for your organization. Check out our services here.
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