Performance management

Performance Management is the core of successful philanthropic organizations. But what does this truly mean and how does an organization strategically manage its outcomes?

Five essentials to doing so in the industry’s current environment:

Identify Your Starting Point: To determine if your organization is making progress or achieving “success”, it is critical to establish a baseline or starting point for comparison of future performance assessment.  The best baseline measures are actionable, quantitative and core to the outcomes you are seeking to achieve.

Benchmark Your Organization: Do you know how your organization compares to others of similar characteristics? Benchmarking your organization is the process of identifying equal measures and pinpointing those that are comparative and crucial to your success. To create a benchmark by industry can be time consuming, but is time well spent.  Hiring a consultant is one method to benchmarking. There are also many organizations, membership driven associations and other groups that have benchmarking programs, for a fee. The Advisory Board and AHP are two such groups providing systems that allow you to upload data and assess your comparative performance against other similar organizations. You can also conduct your own research on what the standards are for workload, impact, cost ratios, etc.

Prepare an Organizational Balanced Scorecard: A Balanced Scorecard, or Dashboard, is a tool used by most corporations to access four critical areas of management. It was originated by Drs. Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and David Norton as a performance measurement framework that added strategic non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more ‘balanced’ view of organizational performance. It suggests we develop metrics, collect data, and analyze it using four perspectives:  Financial, Business practices, Learning, Customers. These are easily adaptable to any non profit organization and should be specific to your organizations needs. Determining your dashboard metrics is a collective process. Inclusion of all stakeholders in developing it is essential.

Manage Employee Performance: Benchmarking and assessing staff performance is quite possibly the single most effective method to enhancing performance in the long term. Research exists on philanthropic staff performance measures, best practices and identified targets for measured outcomes. With these measures, staff selection, education and training and management becomes more strategic.

Assess Your Organizations Performance: Assessment tools are time specific and are used throughout the operations of an organizations lifetime. Performance measures derived from the dashboard, compared to industry standards and annualized on past performance, provide short and long term maps allowing you to realign your management strategies and communicate clear vision to your organization.


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