In the last few weeks, we have come across several articles on nonprofit evaluation and the growing number of organizations that are working to track and measure their impact. Echoing our previous post on market studies, funders were mentioned as an important driving force behind evaluation and impact measurement efforts. As a recent article in the Nonprofit Times notes:
“a growing number of funders [are] using metrics to evaluate the impact of grantmaking, to help the agencies they fund better track their own impact, and in the process help themselves and their grantees become “learning” organizations that can improve their programs and operations to better fulfill their missions.”
Evaluation and impact measurement are key tools that should be a part of any successful nonprofit’s strategic planning and management process. While market studies help an organization understand the need and demand for its products and services, evaluation and impact measurement allow nonprofits to focus on the outcomes of their work.
Integrating impact tracking and measurement into a nonprofit’s overall business practice helps to ensures that an organization stays on track to achieve its mission while at the same time deploying its resources in the most effective and efficient ways possible. As one nonprofit head put it, “If you aren’t measuring what you’re doing, then you’re not evolving what you’re doing.”
How does your organization evaluate its impact? What tools have you found most helpful to track and measure your organization’s outcomes? How have you used this information to refine and improve your programs and services?