The five stages of performance management

For many nonprofits, it can be hard to capitalize on opportunities without proper resource and performance management.

While fundraising in the U.S. has steadily improved since the 2008 recession, volunteerism still trends downward. In 2014, The Nonprofit Finance Fund reported almost half of U.S. nonprofit organizations ended the year with a surplus, the highest in the survey's history. There were still financial problems, however, a quarter of respondents said they couldn't compensate staff and almost 20 percent believed they couldn't cover cost with fundraising. Meanwhile, The Bureau of Labor Statistics Volunteering in the United States Report found volunteer rates dropped again in 2015.

Organizations with financial windfalls want to add new positions and projects, but may have limited human resources available. On the other hand, nonprofits without adequate fundraising must find ways to work with the cash and people they have available. This is especially important seeing as three-quarters of nonprofits reported increased demand for services in recent years.

Thinking cleverly and efficiently, performance management can be a huge cost saver for your organization. You can evaluate workflow and establish metrics to measure how well your nonprofit is doing and where opportunities exist. The key is following these five simple stages:

Stage one: Planning
Without a skilled pair of hands, a block of clay is nothing more than what it sounds like. Imagine your organization as a similarly malleable piece of materials.

The beginning portion of performance management should include your organization's staff sitting down and determining how you want things to go moving forward. Establish realistic objectives for your charity. Figure out which projects you should be dedicating resources to and which should be abandoned – if any.

Stage two: Execution
Once a strategic plan has been developed, the next step is for your nonprofit to carry out these charity ideas. Adhere to the goals and objectives established in the first step. Keep a clear vision of how you want your organization to proceed and make sure to stay on that path.

Stage three: Monitor
As you continue your efforts, it is vitally important an organization monitor its progress. For many, measuring usually stops at the more obvious metrics, like how many people your nonprofit has helped or how many homes you've provided for those without. And those are good to monitor, but keeping tabs shouldn't end there.

Increased productivity and efficiency will only come if your charity careful examines changes in the skills, attitudes and behaviors of your staff and/or volunteers.

Stage four: Analyze and share
After you've collected the data, turning it into actionable information allows your staff to understand what is going well and what isn't. If you extended measurements to employee output, your organization can then break down the drivers behind those successes and failures.

Stage five: Adapt to survive
With your data collected and properly analyzed, the final leg of the process will be using that information to make positive changes, like implementing new charity fundraising ideas

Back to News