It’s All About the Results?

Performance excellence in a non-profit cannot occur without performance measures. After the strategic plan, a set of goals and strategies are outlined along with tactics and hopefully a tie to the organization’s budget. Are performance measures also identified? Without performance measures, organizations operate in a vacuum not knowing their competitive position.

Understanding an organization’s competitive position is key in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which was established to recognize outstanding performance of organizations. The Baldrige process is deeply rooted in performance measures that “…are the key tool that communicates the organization’s important goals to everyone involved and drives performance towards those ends.” There are five key areas of measurement identified by the Baldrige award that are applicable to non-profit organizations that should be monitored:

Member Satisfaction– Know satisfaction numbers as they directly translate into the value perceived by members around the products, benefits and services an organization offers. Knowing member satisfaction is essential to adjusting products, benefits and services to ensure high levels of satisfaction

Product and Service Performance– In the books Race for Relevanceand Road to Relevance, Harrison Coerver, CAE and Mary Byers, CAE speak to focusing on the strength of your products, benefits and services. Understanding impact and true costs will allow an organization to a) improve products and services and b) determine the effectiveness and need for those products and services

Financial and Marketplace Performance– Measuring an organization’s financial performance is typical within most non-profit organizations.  Measuring financial performance against other organizations is not so typical and is the next step in understanding its performance in the marketplace

HR Results– An organization’s HR is rooted in the staff, volunteer leaders and other volunteers that serve.  An understanding of the resources available, the allocation of those resources and their impact is important in ensuring the organization is properly staffed to achieve its strategic goals

Operational Performance– In delivering a set of programs, benefits and services, an organization needs to assess its own performance to meet the needs of its members. Measuring operational performance allows an organization to make “just in time”changes to its operation to meet the needs of its members

The key to tracking performance is good data. Good data comes with an investment in technology and its proper use. Does your organization have the proper technology to track data in these five areas? Technology that tracks performance measures in all five of these areas will help drive organizational excellence.