How do you measure success? In the business world the amount of success a company experiences over a given period of time is directly related to the amount of profit shown in that timeframe. For non-profit organizations this is not an accurate way to measure success. In fact, if a non-profit organization has a huge bottom line it does not really say anything about success.

Outcomes As A Measuring Tool

Showing the Good Things That Can Be Done With Funds is Important.
Image Source: geography.org.uk

Success in the non-profit world comes from the good things a group can do with the funds it either raises or has collected through donations. The outcomes that result from how an organization uses its funding gives a much better sense of what the group is doing. This can come from success stories related to programs and events hosted by the non-profit.

If a non-profit can show tangible proof that it is making a difference to its clients, or within the community it serves, this creates outcomes data. If the society has a mandate to “do good things” then for each victory it scores within that guideline, there is a measurable piece of success. Even if that means the non-profit is forever struggling to meet financial commitments.

The Problem With Financial Statement Measurements

Donors always want to have information on progress being made and how a group is spending donations. With financial statements focusing on three key elements such as management, programs and fundraising they do not provide an accurate picture. With a business model of program expenses being good and overhead being bad any success gets lost in the shuffle.

The Shrinking Donation Dollar

Only a Portion of Proceeds Actually Goes to the Charity.
Image Source: Flickr

There should be no surprise that for each dollar you donate to a charity, only a portion of it actually goes to the cause. The fact of the matter is that a good sized chunk of that donated dollar ends up going directly to administrative costs. While that may be bothersome to many, without proper administration, any organization is going to fail regardless of the bottom line.

What donors need to keep in mind is not so much the portion of their donation that goes to actual programs and services of a non-profit but how that amount is used. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince George use our funding to maximize the impact our programs have on local youth. For us, this is the outcome we measure our success with. But we can’t do that without your support. For more information on how you can contribute to our programs, call us today.