Nonprofits’ bottom-line goal is to create meaningful change for the people and causes they serve. Passion for the cause and the desire to make a difference are necessary, but unfortunately they don’t always ensure a nonprofit’s long-term success or viability. Today we’ll discuss how performance measurement, external evaluation, and establishing a culture of learning are essential for nonprofits’ long-term success.
Many nonprofits today are caught between a rock and a hard place: resources are scarce and attracting and retaining donors (and good employees) can take considerable investment. To build the trust of supporters and align their spending with their stated goals, nonprofits (unlike many for-profit businesses) must strike a delicate balance between internal investment and external projects. Many do quite well at defining their mission and organizational goals, but the area in which most nonprofits fall short is measuring their performance toward their stated goals. Performance management can feel overwhelming, and that’s why few nonprofits maintain a day-in, day-out focus on measuring the outcomes of their efforts. To make high performance the norm rather than the exception, nonprofits must approach outcomes measurement with the same tenacity and passion they approach their organizations’ social/charitable goals.
The topic of external evaluation has provoked a heated debate in the social sector. Detractors claim that hiring a consultant to evaluate nonprofit’s progress is too expensive. They say that consultants don’t understand their own limitations in perceiving nonprofits’ goals. These criticisms are often true of large consulting firms, whose one-size-fits-all approach to change management is applied to clients in many industries, but for boutique consulting firms who live and breathe nonprofits, they can be very helpful in diagnosing issues and overcoming problems.
Establishing a Culture of Learning
Nonprofits must be adaptive without losing sight of their organizations’ goals and vision. Perhaps the greatest challenge faced by nonprofits is creating and nurturing a culture of honest introspection that starts with the board and filters throughout the organization. Shaping workplace culture is challenging organizations in all sectors. Simply stated: habits (and especially habits of thought) are hard to break. Few organizations begin defining their culture from the get-go, and this means that achieving organizational change often feels like an uphill battle.
Building a High Performance Culture with The Change Leader
The Change Leader helps nonprofits and education organizations establish a shared value system and universal commitment to organizational change—even from stakeholders who in the past have been resistant to change. Because we specialize in the nonprofit and education sectors, we understand the challenges you face on a daily basis when attempting to make meaningful difference for your beneficiaries.
The Change Leader brings in stakeholders at all levels and shows them how vision / mission and metrics are inextricably linked, and gets you on the road to achieving meaningful change through innovative strategies to build cultures that care, employees who go the extra mile, and strategies that drive profitability. There is no better way to establish if / how well you are achieving those goals than with external evaluation from someone who understands your organization, your goals, and the sector at large. To learn more, please visit our homepage or contact us today.