The world is filled with conventional wisdom.

Run your car for 10 minutes to warm it up. Water your lawn in the evening. Take Vitamin C to fight a cold.

The field of nonprofit management has plenty of such conventions too. Your board needs to be raising money. You need a strategic plan. The ED’s top priority should be ________ (fill in the blank). 

How are you supposed to know if any of it is correct?

This question helped spawn a new Public Interest Management Group project. In an effort to help clients understand what actions can most productively move their organizations forward, we sought an objective basis to determine needs and the importance of different practices in promoting the success of a nonprofit.

The result is a fresh approach to organizational assessment. We detail our methodology in a just-released paper, Success Factors for Nonprofit Organizations.

PIMG has a new line of service to go with it, called Success Factor Analysis. I won’t spoil your entertainment in reading about the intricacies of this approach. But I will tell you about one cool feature [spoiler alert]:

The Organizational Success Index.

As a nonprofit manager, board member or supporter, have you ever wanted a objective indicator of how successful your favorite organization is? We now have one. Because the world needs exactly one new acronym, we call it the OSI. The OSI incorporates mission impact and sustainability, and provides a basis to determine how nonprofits compare to the field, as well as a great basis to measure progress over time.

Management is part art and part science. I believe nonprofit management needs more science, and Success Factor Analysis promises to deliver data to help organizations understand what really works and, more importantly, how managers can strive for excellence.

Oh, and by the way, don’t bother warming up your car in the morning, watering plants at night, or counting too much on Vitamin C.

AuthorScott Schaffer