Attend any nonprofit seminar these days and you are bound to hear some buzz around outcomes, success measures, goals, etc. Regardless of what you call them, there is no doubt that we are seeing a huge push to use measures to show results. Funders (aka “Social Investors”) want to see where their limited funding dollars are going, how they will be used, and the impact they will have. It’s all about results and how you are going to show them.
It’s a great idea in theory, but how do you go about actually putting it into practice? Well, you need the right tools for the job. You need to define your outcomes, measure them, and figure out how to report your results. (Quick company plug, we have great tools for this check out Sage Grant Management and Sage 100 Fund Accounting.) Just like any project in your workshop, different jobs may require different tools. Knowing what tools to use and when to use them is the trick.
This was the topic of a seminar that I recently attended by Dr. Robert Penna. His book, The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox, covers a wide variety of tools that are available for defining, managing, and reporting outcome measures. The interactive workshop, sponsored by TANO and The Center for Community-Based & Nonprofit Organizations at Austin Community College (ACC CCBNO), was a great hands-on experience to get an overview of these tools and to top it all off, the generous sponsors provided us with a copy of the book. This book is an excellent resource with examples, case studies, and detailed explanations of each tool that you want to have in your toolbox. You can read more about the book and find out where to purchase a copy here.
Have you read this book? Are you using any of these tools in your organization? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on these resources.