Commentary: Charity Inc.: Nonprofits' Effect on Communities

Article excerpt

The demand for nonprofit services has never been greater. According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund, 77 percent of organizations nationwide reported an increase in need from their communities.

Coupled with sequestration cuts that affect children, seniors, people with disabilities and veterans, nonprofits in Oklahoma must do more with fewer resources every day. And yet, they continue to do the work that makes our state thrive.

Good organizations do great work. Great organizations measure that work, determine the effect on people and communities and then tell the world about those accomplishments. In short, great organizations have great outcomes. And they aren't afraid to leverage those outcomes.

Great nonprofits conduct vigorous self-assessments. They measure such metrics as efficiency, productivity, adherence to evidence- based best practices, outputs, positive change in individuals and the community, and program impact. Philanthropists ask that organizations create a culture of evaluation. Successful nonprofits evaluate program effectiveness through a well-tested framework with buy-in from all stakeholders.

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will host Robert M. Penna, a consultant for Charity Navigator, in April to train on outcome management. Penna has designed a toolbox for organizations wishing to better measure and communicate outcomes of their programs. For nonprofits new to outcome measurement or well-versed in how to effectively manage outcomes, this training is designed to help nonprofits analyze and design solid plans for outcome measurement. …