Nonprofit organizations do not have private owners, and exist for the purpose of fulfilling the charitable mission articulated in their documents of organization and governance. Nonprofit organizations should strive continuously to improve the quality of their work, and should develop measurements with which to evaluate their performance.
A nonprofit should have a clearly defined, written mission statement that guides the overall aims and activities of the organization.
Originally defined by its incorporators, a nonprofit’s mission should be reviewed by the board periodically to consider societal, community and organizational changes. This review should determine whether the mission is still relevant, and/or whether it should be adapted to address evolving needs of the organization’s constituents and the community at large.
In planning for its activities, a nonprofit should be responsive to community needs and should solicit input from a variety of sources such as staff, board members and other constituents.
A nonprofit should create both an operational and a strategic plan for implementation of its activities:
(a) The plan should reflect the results of an environmental scan that includes information on strengths and weaknesses/challenges facing the organization, as well as opportunities for, and perceived threats to, mission achievement.
(b) The plan should include clearly defined goals and objectives that are set by the organization to benefit individuals in society.
(c) The plan should clearly define specific activities and responsibility for their implementation.
(d) The plan should be a useful management tool for measuring activities and outcomes and should be tied to a budget.
(e) The plan should provide a framework for regular progress reports and should be reviewed and/or updated regularly.
A nonprofit should have defined, ongoing and sustainable procedures in place for evaluating its programs, procedures and outcomes in relation to its mission.
A nonprofit should regularly monitor the satisfaction of service participants and constituents and provide a grievance procedure to address complaints.
Performance measures should be realistic, specific, measurable and appropriate to the size and scope of the organization and its constituents.
Measurement should include information on satisfaction, activities, results and community input. Nonprofit evaluation should be ongoing and should include input from a wide variety of stakeholders including staff, board, funders, community members, etc.
A nonprofit organization should utilize external evaluators when appropriate and feasible. These evaluators should follow the national Guiding Principles for Evaluators set forth by the American Evaluation Association2.