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Measuring Nonprofit Impact

There are two critical buckets to consider in measuring the impact of any one nonprofit:

The What and The How!

1. What are we trying to change in the world?

2. How are we going to make that change?

And the most important question!

3. How are we going to measure that change?

The Rayvan Group helps many nonprofits appeal to corporations and foundations for financial support. But without quality impact measurements, securing funds will be a tough game.

Let’s make a simple example; you go to the shoe store to buy shoes. Here you represent the funder and the nonprofit represents the shoe store. You would not go to the store cash in hand and buy just any shoe. You would purchase the shoes that fit your need. The nonprofit must prove impact that fits the funders’ needs.

There are the main areas a nonprofit must think about when measuring impact.

What is the purpose or intent of the organization?

  • What need in society drove the formation of the nonprofit?

  • What would need to change for the nonprofit to successfully go out of business?

  • Who benefits from the nonprofit?

How do you define the outcomes and indicators for change?

  • What is your nonprofit’s vision for success?

  • What are the key impact indicators? (more than SMART goals)

i. Specific

ii. Measurable

iii. Understandable (anyone must be able to comprehend the change)

iv. Relevant

v. Time Bound

vi. Valid

vii. Actionable

Do you have the proper evaluation methods/tools available and in place?

  • The easiest one you can put into place right now is a survey (beginning of program, middle of program and end of program using the same questions.)

Let’s go back to that shoe store.

If you walked in needing a new pair of marathon running shoes and the shoe store could only show you basketball shoes, don’t you think you would go to another store for the running shoes. The funder is not asking you to move mountains; they just want to see you are doing the right things for the community.


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