Non-Profits Should Adopt For-Profits` Performance Measurement Rigor, Says New Book

Wed Nov 4, 2009 9:35am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

More data-driven performance measurement can mean more social impact, says Root
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Business Wire)--
Many nonprofit organizations can significantly improve their impact on social
problems and their operations, by adapting some of the private sector`s
data-driven performance measurement standards, according to a book released
today by Root Cause (, a national nonprofit advisory

The book, Building a Performance Measurement System: Using Data to Accelerate
Social Impact, is one of the first guidebooks to look at the performance
measurement system commonly used by the private sector to increase
profitability, and modify it for a simplified, step-by-step customized system to
help nonprofits improve operations and increase social impact. 

A free PDF version of the book and more information about nonprofit performance
measurement are available at Hard
copies are available for $19.95 through 

"Doing good is no longer good enough," says Andrew Wolk, CEO of Root Cause and
the book`s co-author. "The pressure has never been so great for nonprofits to
prove their worth. Rigorous internal performance measurement is a key to many
nonprofits` success-perhaps even survival-during these hardscrabble times." 

"Good data can show a nonprofit that it`s focusing on the right programs and
resources to accomplish its mission," he said. "Rigorous performance measurement
can also assure philanthropic investors that their shrinking dollars are wisely
invested in organizations that are well run, sustainable, and making a

The book outlines a performance measurement cycle that can be customized for
each organization`s mission and vision. It includes a five-step process and a
template for developing the system. 

It includes detailed explanations and examples of how to conduct a performance
measurement audit; define what should be measured in organizational health,
program performance, and social and economic performance; determine the best
measurement tools to capture data continuously; develop a "dashboard" and
internal reporting process; analyze findings; and report performance to external
stakeholders, including funders. 

Wolk said many organizations publish annual reports that track budgets and
client numbers, but far fewer undertake the challenge of measuring social
impact-uncovering and reporting, through hard data as well as personal stories,
their progress towards realizing their mission. 

For example, Root Cause found over the last three years that all of the
applicants to its Social Innovation Forum whose statistics it tracked used some
form of measurement, such as financial health and client growth, but only
one-third of them were engaged in meaningful measurement of social impact. 

Root Cause is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Cambridge, MA, that
advises innovative nonprofits and educates social impact investors. CEO Wolk has
advised numerous organizations dedicated to social impact; authored publications
on nonprofit business planning, performance measurement, and the intersection of
government and social entrepreneurship; and holds appointments at Harvard
University and MIT. 

For further information contact Kelley Kreitz,

Media contact
Diane Millikan, 857-492-6438

Copyright Business Wire 2009


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