How Do I Measure My Nonprofit’s Passion?

Nonprofit organizations start with a mission, a passion.  There is a cause that needs to be fixed or helped.  One or a few intelligent and determined people set out to make a difference for that particular cause.   Soon, or after a long time waiting for the IRS designation, a nonprofit if formed!  Then, quite often, it struggles to maintain sustainability.   If there is great value in the services that nonprofits provide, why do they struggle?

It’s said that people pay for the value that is brought to their lives.   Why do nonprofits therefore struggle to get paid to decrease homelessness, to increase child literacy rates, to alter the amount of human trafficking, to save pets, etc.?  Why do they struggle to provide help to those in need?  Do these nonprofit causes not add value to our society?

It is therefore important for a nonprofit organization to show and prove its value.  So how does a nonprofit show their value?  It starts with internal data.  The nonprofit must measure the value it creates.  It must look at its internal data to determine how it makes a difference.   Internal Data is the “Performance data generated within a company, such as sales, customer satisfaction, and number of new hires”.

There are multiple ways to record internal data.  A logic model is just one and it can be a great place to enhance the search for internal data.  A logic model in its simplest form has the following: Inputs, Activities, Outputs and Outcomes.   Wikipedia has a nice example of a Logic Model which is below:





what resources go into a program what activities the program undertakes what is produced through those activities the changes or benefits that result from the program
e.g. money, staff, equipment e.g. development of materials, training programs e.g. number of booklet produced, workshops held, people trained e.g. increased skills/ knowledge/ confidence, leading in longer-term to promotion, new job, etc.


As I said last week, ‘Information regarding outside influences is important for your organization.  Information regarding what is going on inside your organization is critical!’  Internal data can help your organization begin the journey towards measurement.  Measurement can make the difference of showing true value and ultimately being sustainable.


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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