Now that you know about the stages of the Nonprofit Maturity Model, it’s time for you to know how your organization can solve pain points and ascend to the next stage. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with hard work from yourself and your nonprofit’s leadership, you can get that much closer to high performance. Read our tips below to find out how your organization can go from rudimentary and reactive to high-performing and data agile.
One important way to help yourself at any stage is to use our online quiz to keep track of your progress.
Tips for Ascending to Counting Outputs
At the Committed Stage, you’re just starting your data journey. Channel your passion and use it to bolster your service delivery. Then, start small by recording your interactions with your clients and grow your recording process from there. This can seem daunting at first, and it can be. It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to collecting data, but it’s important to buckle down and start your data journey now.
One thing that can help you with that process is to find a system that can centralize the data you are collecting. That way, you can see your important data all in one place. But, be sure that your system has a built-in validation tool to make sure you don’t have duplicate information. With that, you can control the chaos and set yourself up for potential funding opportunities because you can present your data in an organized way.
Tips for Ascending to Measuring Outputs
Consider this stage the awkward teenage years of your development into a high-performing organization. There are going to be growing pains, including not being able to see far into your service delivery practices. While you may not have the most visibility into your service delivery from a data standpoint, this is a perfect opportunity to sit down with your leadership and define what success looks like for your programs and organization. Then, take those insights and tie them to a few key outcomes.
You can start small at this point. You aren’t expected to go from solely counting your outputs to measuring your overarching outcomes. Look at your outputs and assess them to see how your service delivery has changed over time and how your clients are continuously interacting with it
Change is the key. You don’t want your service delivery to stay stagnant – you want your services to improve as you are delivering them. To gauge the change you’re creating with your service delivery, focus on quality performance measures that show progress over time. The performance measure should be determined by yourself, your leadership, and your stakeholders so everyone is on the same page and you can get a comprehensive sense of what your organization needs to do to get to the next level.
Tips for Ascending to Measuring Outcomes
Measuring Outputs is a crucial stage to master. To do that, infuse data and outcomes management into everyday functions at every level of the organization. It’s important to get your team and stakeholders excited about the outcomes you can measure and champion why it’s important to collect data and how it leads to outcomes.
Once you do that, it will be easier for your team members to champion your data alongside you.
In that same vein, another way to resolve pain points at this stage of the Nonprofit Maturity Model is to ensure your data management system is configured in a way that meets reporting requirements, individual program needs, and outcomes measures. This will not only build team morale as it relates to your data, but it will also help you get more insight into what may be missing in your reporting needs and your programs as a whole.
Lastly, it’s important to utilize robust reporting that is focused on ongoing evaluation of data to understand the impact you’re creating. Self-evaluation is a common practice when your organization is performing at a high level. Your organization, once it reaches the Measuring Outcomes stage, should start implementing this strategy into your day-to-day operations. Once you do that, you can go to the next, and final, stage of the Nonprofit Maturity Model.
Tips for Continuous Improvement at This Stage
One way to ensure that you are doing everything you can to remain at this high level of performance is to configure your data collection system in a way that meets your various program needs and outcomes measures. Take inventory of your program data and make sure that it continuously aligns with the outcomes goals that you and your leadership have set out for your organization. That way, you can ensure that your programs are doing everything they can to deliver timely and appropriate services to your client base.
Along those same lines, continuously evaluate your programs and services and use your data to understand the impact you’ve created across your organization. At this stage of the Nonprofit Maturity Model, you have the data you need to measure and gauge the impact you’re creating in your organization and beyond. Use your data to inform your decisions so you can create even more impact and prove that your organization is doing good in your community.
Make sure to report on your data to measure and manage the progress you’ve made over time. Remember, high performance is the goal, but you weren’t always at this stage. It’s important to use reporting as a tool to see where you started and as a lens to see where you can go in the future. Continue to strive for a higher level of data agility and use your reporting structure as the foundation for all of it.
Where does your organization lie on the Nonprofit Maturity Model? It’s important to recognize where your organization is on the Maturity Model so you know how you can continue on your journey. Download our eBook Mapping Your Data Journey: The Social Solutions Maturity Model to learn everything there is to know about the Nonprofit Maturity Model.