Public Interest Management Group and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon partnered on a research study on best management practices. We wanted to find out how practitioners felt about the study’s findings. So, we set up a series of six focus groups in diverse geographies across Oregon. Several important themes emerged from these discussions.

PIMG conducted applied research on management practices employed by 43 nonprofits. The best practices - those most closely associated with success - might surprise you. They concern organizational strategy with several specific characteristics. These practices outshine most others in clearly distinguishing successful from unsuccessful nonprofits.

Restricted funding is a complex revenue source unique to the nonprofit sector. Many nonprofits receive restricted funding, and it brings challenges and risks. It can feel like a shell game. I offer 6 practical suggestions for playing - and winning - the restricted funding game.

McDonald's Corporation is prototypical of a business that scaled-up effectively. Great operating systems are part of this story. But CEO Ray Kroc's story gives some valuable lessons beyond that. He started out on a path toward disaster because he failed to do basic business planning and financial analysis. He succeeded after he recalibrated his business model and stuck to it. This story offers important lessons for nonprofit management and strategic decision-making.

The general perception of what’s “best” evolves over time. It’s also subject to varying opinions and interpretations. In some fields of work there’s no official endorsement of best practices, and a shortage of hard data to judge “bestness.” Nonprofit management is such a profession. While this leaves lots of space for creativity, it also carries a dark side: conventional wisdom can pump up practices that may not actually work.

AuthorScott Schaffer
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Jim Collins’ book Good to Great introduced a powerful concept in management management strategy. Named for the humble, nocturnal hedgehog, which has sustained as a species for millions of years, the book is as relevant as ever. The Hedgehog Concept can be valuable for nonprofits, and in this entry I talk about why.

Many nonprofits struggle to break even, or face strict capacity limitations. The root of these problems is usually the soundness and health of the organization's business model.  The business model is a key to ensuring high performance in achieving mission and financial goals. Public Interest Management Group has released a new white paper that demystifies the business model and its key role in organizational strategy.

Trump's election has wide-ranging implications for nonprofit organizations, particularly in the areas of health, the environment and social justice. Further, potential impact of economic policies may impact nearly all nonprofits. This post discusses the impacts, and offers tangible steps nonprofit leaders can take to adapt and respond.

Conventional strategic planning in the nonprofit sector is often ineffective. PIMG's Data-Driven Strategic Planning approach aims to remedy this gap. Rather than focusing primarily on alignment of people within the organization, it’s principally about identifying a strategy that will focus the organization on successful performance. Informed by hard financial and market data, nonprofits are empowered to move confidently toward ambitious, attainable goals.

Charity Navigator (CN) is a prominent evaluator of nonprofits' performance, issuing ratings of many U.S. charities. PIMG issued a review and critique of CN's methods in a white paper last winter. Since then, CN has tweaked its financial rating methodology. Unfortunately, these minor changes failed to address major problems. Again we must ask: why is the nonprofit sector so vulnerable to poor uses of data?

AuthorScott Schaffer