Hello. This is Russell Dennis, your nonprofit possibilities engineer. I’d like to welcome you to part three of the four steps to building a high-performance nonprofit blog series, entitled

Stay On Track. The third step to growing you high-performance nonprofit.

4 Steps to Building a High Performance Nonprofit

In order to get the best results, or to get to where we want to be, or we want to move people to, we have to keep track of everything that we’re doing. We have to evaluate and measure our results in ways that are meaningful to the people who pay for those purposes and the people who receive them directly. It’s important to look for ways to determine if your programs are effective or working. A lot of these can be measured numerically, for example, the number of services that you want to have and what those services are supposed to do, where they’re supposed to move people to.

It’s also important to look at some qualitative aspects: How are people’s lives different as the result of taking advantage of the services that you offer? Staying on track I start just looking at programs and evaluating what your outputs are. It’s evaluating what outcomes are. Outputs are things like reports. Outcomes are things like, we move people into jobs. It’s important to be clear on the difference between the two.

Staying on track also measures how well your internal systems are working. Are we serving a maximum number of clients in the shortest period of time? Are we making maximum use of the resources that we have? How well are we doing compared to other nonprofits who are doing similar or complementary work, and where do we sit in the industry at large? These are all important things to measure.

Staying on track also involves what I call making continuous improvements. That’s always looking at what we’re doing, what can we do better. It’s asking the people who are getting the services if they’re having the intended effect, and if there’s more that we can do. What’s good about what we’re doing? What’s missing from what we’re doing? We always have to have that eye toward continuous improvement, towards seeing who we can collaborate with, and seeing what value we can bring.

It’s important to stay on track, this is the third piece, we will cover that in a little bit of detail, and the types of people who would best be served by what we’re doing. The other thing we’re going to talk about in a little detail is sequencing: what are the most important things that have to be done? Do those priorities shift? Staying on track involves making sure that we’re aware of needs and changing priorities as they come up so that we’re not caught unawares so that we can adjust on the fly and continue to deliver maximum impact.

This has been part three of the four steps to building a high-performance nonprofit.

Join me for part four in the next installment of this blog, where we’ll talk about communicating and defining the value that you bring to the multiple audiences that you serve.

Until then, this is your nonprofit possibility engineer, Russ Dennis, signing off.
4 Steps to Building a High Performance Nonprofit

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