As a nonprofit, your organization is doing the right thing for multiple causes, making the world better and enabling a better social structure. But how do you measure all this? Are all outcomes for nonprofit organizations intangible and social? Or can nonprofits also have a structured mechanism of measuring results and tracking against goals?
The Business of Nonprofits
As a non-profit organization, it becomes cumbersome to maintain track of all the financial and non financial achievements and outcomes throughout the year. On top of that, along with the welfare aspect achieved through the organization, keeping check on vital parameters to understand the growth of the organization is necessary to garner better funding. It can become a complex task to keep track of the outcomes that were achieved by the non-profit organization. And let’s face it- without outcomes, what do you define success as, and how do you judge it? So including outcomes tracking is vital for the sustenance of the non-profit organization.
What are Outcomes for Non Profits?
Some of the metrics that are useful for nonprofit organizations are:
- To have a better understanding of the efficiency of an organization to raise funds throughout the year, we can calculate the Fundraising Efficiency,
Fundraising Efficiency = Fundraising Expenses / Contributions
- To understand the total revenue spent in completing any humanitarian operation, we can calculate the Operating Reliance.
Operating Reliance = Unrestricted Program Revenue / Total Expenses
- In order to gain more insight into the total revenue spent on planning and implementation of any program at the desired level then we can calculate the Program Efficiency.
Program Efficiency = Program Expenses / Total Expenses
- If we have to understand about the number of donors that have left our system or have stopped donating due to numerous reasons then we can calculate the Donor Attrition.
Donor Attrition = Lapsed Donors / Total Number of Donors
- Social Return on Investment is very important to understand about the valuation of the organization especially in terms of social and environmental factors. Hence keeping a track on this outcome can be beneficial
Social Return on Investment = Social Impact Value – Initial Investment Amount
Outcome metrics like these are significant tools, mostly data points through which an organization can demonstrate accountability as well as transparency. Using human services software like Fieldworker can serve as a blessing to all non-profit organizations facing issues in tracking outcomes which includes automated billing, electronic visit verification or case management to name a few out of a whole array of services available. Fieldworker can help in defining goals, collecting accurate data as well as analysis of the collected data to have a better understanding about how the organization is functioning and where improvements can be made.
The Value of Outcomes for Non-Profits
Some of the key reasons why outcome metrics are important for a nonprofit organization can be defined as follows:
Funders, stakeholders and communities are very stringent about the donations they are putting in nonprofit organizations and want to understand where their dollars are being spent, through what processes and to what ends. Outcomes can explain how reliable the organization can be in handling funds and using them for better purposes that aids in the growth of the organization.
In order to gain access to more and better funding, it is crucial to define, measure, demonstrate and highlight the key milestones achieved that can be succinctly exhibited through data. This attracts additional funders, benefactors as well as other nonprofit organizations working on similar causes to gain traction in their field of work.
- Administrative Excellence
Process optimization and proper outcome tracking can demonstrate credibility and boost the confidence of your stakeholders if your organization has well defined plans to implement and demonstrate your operations and reporting outcomes. Besides through outcomes tracking, prospective funders can understand the dynamics within the organization and that makes the decision simpler for them to invest.
Outcomes and data are critical to stakeholders, community members, potential donors as well as charity evaluators in terms of the goals achieved through the nonprofit’s processes. Everybody wants to measure outcomes in order to understand the future of the business- even for a nonprofit. Another key element is heightened scrutiny by the funders investing in nonprofits who would want to know what is going on with their invested dollars.
And along with scrutiny, security, especially data security, cannot be overlooked. And an innocent click leading to thousands of dollars disappearing is the nightmare of not just nonprofits and investors, but also of every individual who could have benefitted from the nonprofit. Data and outcome tracking can solve this critical issue as well. Outcome metrics not only demonstrate transparent working conditions but also promote efficiency and sustainability for the nonprofit organization.
Maintaining a Balance between Different Outcomes
Different kinds of outcomes could be tracked using numbers or through qualitative assessment depending upon the organization’s requirement.
Financial outcomes can include budget, actual growth, membership growth or hike in the number of cases handled which can be managed effectively through case management. Non-financial outcomes could be efficiency of the program implemented, transformation brought by the program and other social parameters which are measured through a service like Human Services Solutions.
If the outcomes are completely non-financial, it becomes difficult to understand the organization’s growth. If the outcomes are completely financial in nature, then it is difficult to understand the achievement of the mission and goals.
Using Technology for Tracking Outcomes
Switching to a human service software can simplify the tasks performed by your team and improve your business efficiency in addition to effectively monitoring outcomes. Fieldworker is an excellent example that provides Human services solutions to numerous problems faced by organizations in securing their data such as automated billing, electronic visit verification or managing your case notes. By understanding the obstacles to outcomes and viewing intuitive dashboards that can provide insight into the processes, helping in capturing all the right information prepares you for any kind of audit with secure and detailed data available electronically. Besides this, through the case notes feature, your team will be able to spend more time with their clients and patients instead of spending time updating notes which assists in boosting the efficiency of your workforce.
Defining clear set goals and outcomes being tracked is highly recommended for nonprofit organizations in order to monitor their own performance, build optimized processes, enhance team productivity, attract funders, grow, and sustain themselves. And through state-of-the-art Human Services Software like Fieldworker, tracking these outcomes becomes simple, smooth and effortless. Consistent efforts promote growth, so be consistent with your outcomes no matter how big or small they may sound. Reporting outcomes does require an extra effort but tracking them can ensure long term benefits for your team as well as for your organization.