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Discover the Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit

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Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit

A check-up is an important tool for maintaining and improving our personal heath. It works the same for organizations. Its a great time to pause and give your organization a check-up.

Assess your organization's health

We have made it easy to assess the health of your organization using a set of standards. While not everything important is easy to measure (such as how engaged your volunteers, board members, and donors are), a frank self-assessment can help you identify and prioritize your next steps.

Our model for a healthy nonprofit looks at these five elements:

  1. Strong governance and oversight
  2. Good management and a healthy organizational culture
  3. The resources to carry out your mission and accountable management of funding
  4. Communications and relationships with people who give you money, use what you create, help you meet your mission, and carry your message
  5. Efficient and effective programs, services, and administrative systems

This Self-Assessment is drawn from research on nonprofit capacity building, in-depth assessments we use in programs and services, and our experience working with  nonprofits on their finances, boards, technology, human resources, volunteer programs, and more for over 25 years. The Self-Assessment will tell you how your organizations is doing on 58 standards. Intrigued? Check out the online Self-Assessment!

Want to see how your organization measures up? We have two FREE ways you can do this.

Option 1: Online Self-Assessment, Scores and Report

Take the FREE Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit Self-Assessment.

Option 2: Pathways: Self-Assessment, Facilitated Decision Making, and Personalized Consulting

If you want to go deeper than the self-assessment, and not only learn how you are doing, but pave the way for improving your organization’s health, participate in Pathways. Pathways builds upon the self-assessment by having skilled consultants to help your team achieve consensus, identify priority areas for support, and develop personalized recommendations to help you move forward.

This short consultation includes five steps:

  1. Two Pathways consultants will meet with your team lead to learn about your organization and set the stage for the consultation.
  2. Your designated participants will complete the self-assessment.
  3. The consultants will facilitate a discussion among participants to create greater awareness and understanding of how you are doing.
  4. The consultants will meet again with the team lead.
  5. Finally, the consultants will develop recommendations to help you address your chosen priorities.

Pathways helps make sense of what may seem like an endless list of opportunities. It frames challenges within the context of solutions and identifies ways to build upon your strengths. It provides organizations with the encouragement and knowledge often needed to move forward.

To learn more about Pathways or see how your organization can take advantage of this free service, (thanks to the Satterberg Foundation), contact Jan Burrell, Volunteer Initiatives Program Manager.

Learn More about the Five Elements

If you have only a few minutes and want help thinking about where your organization is at and what kinds of services or resources you might benefit from in order to become more resilient, you can click through to each of the elements below and consider the questions you find.

Answering these questions will give you a sense of where you have opportunities for improvement and what you might want to prioritize in order to strengthen your organization. If you need additional help, contact our free Information & Referral service.

Governance & Boards

The engagement and accountability of the board of directors is essential to a high-impact nonprofit.

More About Boards

Fundraising & Financial Management

A nonprofit's mission can be accomplished only if it has the resources it needs.

Take the First Step

Communications & Relationships

Relationships with donors, volunteers, staff, clients, and the community sustain your organization.

Learn More

Planning, Technology, & Administration

Having a clear and well-resourced administrative mission will super-charge your organizational mission.

Start Today

Management & Culture

The management skills and internal culture of the organization are more influential than a big bank account.

Make Change Happen