Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit
We all know a check-up is an important tool for maintaining and improving our personal heath. It works the same way for organizations. Before you spend precious resources on building capacity, 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 for each of the Five Elements. While not everything important is easy to measure (such as engaged volunteers and board members, committed donors, and ambitious leadership), a frank self-assessment can help you identify and prioritize opportunities to improve your organizational health.
Our model for a healthy nonprofit looks at these five elements:
- Strong governance and oversight
- Good management and a healthy organizational culture
- The resources to carry out your mission and accountable management of funding
- Communications and relationships with people who give you money, use what you create, help you meet your mission, and carry your message
- Efficient and effective programs, services, and administrative systems
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
If you want a high-level understanding of how your organization can:
- Increase board and volunteer engagement
- Leverage technology and communications
- Ensure that you are following the law
- Have robust financial systems
- Protect your organization against risks
- and much more...
This Self-Assessment is drawn from research on nonprofit capacity building, in-depth assessments we have used in programs and services, and our experience working with nonprofits on their finances, boards, technology, human resources, volunteer programs, and more. The Self-Assessment will tell you how your organizations is doing on 58 standards. Intrigued? Check out the online 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 including skilled consultants to help your team achieve consensus, identify priority areas for support, and develop personalized recommendations to help you move forward.
Throughout the short-term, five-step consultative process:
- Two Pathways consultants will meet with your team lead to learn about your organization and set the stage for the program.
- Your designated participants will complete the self-assessment and score your organization’s operational factors according to a list of standards.
- The consultants will facilitate a discussion amongst participants to create greater awareness and understanding of how you are doing.
- From there, the consultants will meet again with the team lead to determine priorities for additional consultation.
- Finally, the consultants will develop recommendations to help the organization address your chosen priorities and present them to the team lead.
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, contact Jan Burrell, Volunteer Initiatives Program Manager.
Learn More about the Five Healthy 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 have questions pertaining to any of the elements, 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