Performance Measures for Non-Profit Organizations

There are over 1.5 million non-proft organizations registered with the IRS in the U.S. Revenues from these orgazations have soared to $1.4 trillion to over $2.1 trillion during the past five years, and during the same period, non-profti assets have risen from just over $2.0 trillion to $4.1 trillion, a 95% increase.

Non-profit organizations touch every aspect and demographic in our modern society. Typically seen as “charity organizations”, they comprise a much more diverse group of orgizations including; religious, social service agenceis, some healthcare organizations, membership-based associations, educational establishments, arts and culture enterprises among others.

Financial Accountability
Financial accountability has been the core of non-profit reporting and accountability. This has meant reporting what has been spent by funds, catagory, etc. It remains important and relevant, but is not enough to asses the actual performance of a non-profit organization.

Program products or outputs
This is also a classic performance measurement, counting the nubmer of products or services delivered and the number of people served. This also is valid and adds objective outputs in relationship to the people served by the outputs.

Adherence to standards of quality in service delivery
Concerns about the quality of services being delivered, not just the quantity have led to the development of local, regional and national certfication and accredidation organizations, such as the American Society of Quality, ASQ.

Participant-related measures
Measuring outputs is one measure, but actually confirming that the recipients were indeed in need and had received services began to emerge in the 1980’s. Demographic information over-layered with the services delivered is now a fairly standard requirement.

Key performance indicators
KPI’s are really a summary or respository of all the areas being measured. Converted into ratios, these allow comparison between various service sectors and demographics.

Client satisfaction
Measuring the actual satisfaction of reciepients of services allows the non-profit executive and the organizations funders to evaluate the satisfaction of the services being delivered. Timliness of serice, accessibility and overall satisfaction are a few of the measured used here.

Noted Sources

Balanced Scorecard-Step-by-Step for Government and Non-profit Agencies by Paul R. Niven

Bill Birchard, “Non-profits by the Numbers” , CFO Magazine, July 2005


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