Here are the three key steps that nonprofits can use to know if they are doing well:
Before you even think of starting your nonprofit activities, you need to assess yourself and know the current state of your charity. You will achieve this by looking at other organizations and how they do their things. This is called benchmarking. According to the Minnesota State Office of Management and Budget, “benchmarking” entails comparing one organization's practices and performances to those of another. Doing this allows a nonprofit to identify best practices, which can then be applied to improve performance and achieve the target. As a nonprofit leader, this approach enables you to determine your weaknesses so that you can identify where to correct them. The information from benchmarking can help an organization determine best practices that are useful as it moves on to the next level.
- Set goals
After laying down your strategy and identifying what you want to do, you should set a target. Setting goals makes your desired journey known and clear. This is a critical part of the performance measurement process, which will show what you have attained and what you have not. While setting up your goals, ensure that they are attainable, measurable, and relevant.
Because performance measurement is critical for nonprofits, goals should also be quantifiable to allow the organization to know how far they are from achieving their targets. The benchmarks will help in the identification and setting up of realistic goals and targets. Pick goals that are attainable to avoid stagnation. The goals should also be relevant and aligned to the mission and vision of the organization. Ensure that all your goals move in the same direction as your mission and are in tune with the goals and mission of your funders.
- Come up with a clear implementation plan
After benchmarking and setting goals, the next phase is determining how you will achieve these goals and measure the performance of your organization. Once you have your plan and goals in place, decide how you will measure them to ensure they are achieving what they were meant to attain. Collect data as you proceed using special software such as Fundraise Up or Effort to Outcomes to enable you to know what you have done right and what needs to be done better. Ensure that the performance measurement is transparent as possible and meets the funders' and other stakeholders' demands. By measuring your nonprofit's performance, you make it easy to find out your weaknesses and the information needed for a grant application.
As a nonprofit, there are many metrics that you can track as you measure your performance. Although we have discussed just three areas, these are only the basic phases or aspects you need to consider when measuring your performance. It is up to you to decide the right metrics or performance measures for your nonprofit. Begin with reviewing your mission, vision, and nonprofit’s strategic plans. Choose the right performance indicator for each of your goals set and put some real thought into it to ensure the goal is achieved for the benefit of your course and operations. Ensure that you are consistent in measuring them regularly, whether once a week or once every month.