Performance Measurement

Effectively managing a nonprofit's performance begins with a clear understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve, what's being done today, what progress is being made, and what's needed to help the organization increase its impact. The resources shared here can help nonprofit organizations use performance measurement to continuously improve and increase their impact.

Featured Research and Insights

Geek Cities: How Smarter Use of Data and Evidence Can Improve Lives

A growing number of American cities are using data and evidence of what services are working well to improve service delivery and residents’ quality of life. This report highlights efforts in six US cities plus London to harness data analysis to spend public and philanthropic dollars more wisely—all innovations worthy of broader adoption.

What Does It Take to Implement Evidence-Based Practices? A Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Shows the Way

It's not enough to identify what works—we also have to identify how it works so that other organizations can replicate the implementation of the program and get similar results. The federally funded Teen Pregnancy Prevention program shows promise as a model for how to support the implementation of evidence-based programs.

Building Capacity to Measure and Manage Performance

Nonprofits that want to have more impact in the world also need the capacity to use measurement to improve their performance. Interviews with a wide range of nonprofit leaders and our own work with Bridgespan clients suggest five key elements to measurement success.

Measurement as Learning: What Nonprofit CEOs, Board Members, and Philanthropists Need to Know to Keep Improving

Measurement has become an increasingly hot topic as more funders want to know how their money is being used and as nonprofits undertake evaluations to prove that their programs work. But one of the most important uses of measurement is to improve performance, or performance measurement.

Assessment of Bank of America Charitable Foundation's Neighborhood Builders® Program

Bridgespan helped the Bank of America Foundation assess progress to date of, and identify improvement opportunities for, its Neighborhood Builders program, which provides unrestricted grants and two to three weeks of leadership development training for nearly 100 community-based nonprofits annually.

Growing Network Impact

For decades, the primary pressure facing nonprofit networks was to build a bigger footprint—be in more places, serve more people. Now that pressure is being equaled by another: to get better. This executive summary outlines five critical elements for network improvement.

Featured Case Studies

Our Piece of the Pie: From Data to Decision-Making

Data should be a source of strategic value for nonprofit managers. Too often, though, it provides incomplete or misleading information, as was was the situation at Our Piece of the Pie (OPP), a Hartford, Connecticut-based youth-serving organization. Here's how its leaders tackled the challenge.

Ten Thousand Strong

This case study from Business Strategy Review shares five key lessons from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative to create an effective performance measurement approach and shows why signature philanthropic initiatives should build measurement into their programs from Day 1.

Portland Public Schools: From Data and Decisions to Implementation and Results on Dropout Prevention

Many school district leaders in urban areas struggle to reduce dropout rates but find themselves overwhelmed by the problem. There are, however, a few districts making notable progress towards reducing their number of dropouts, including Portland, Oregon, Public Schools (PPS). This case study shares strategies for addressing dropout rates.

Great Valley Center: A Case Study in Measuring for Mission

Great Valley Center worked to develop a system that would allow them to assess performance and share results easily with key stakeholders. The process of putting measures into place helped them clarify their strategy and also tested the logic that linked each of their programs to the results they hoped to deliver.

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