5 Questions for Nonprofits


The “5 Questions” title is a popular one, and I’ve seen a couple of good ones this week (thank you, Twitter!).  The first was written by Nell Edgington for Social Velocity; the second is from Charting Impact, a joint project of Independent Sector, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Guidestar USA.

Social Velocity:  5 Hard Questions Nonprofits Should Ask

  1. Do we know if we are accomplishing anything?
  2. Are we adapting to our external environment?
  3. Is our board helping or hurting?
  4. Do we really need that new building?
  5. Are we using money as a tool?

Boards need to ask these questions which involve measuring and assessing impact and adaptability.  As the article describes, these are hard questions, but boards shouldn’t shy away from them.  Such questions “are sometimes the only way to open up possibilities, try new approaches and find a better way.”

Charting Impact:  5 Questions to enable nonprofits to define and describe their work more clearly

  1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
  2. What are your strategies for making this happen?
  3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?
  4. How will your organization know if it is making progress?
  5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Not only is it important to measure impact, nonprofits need to define (and continually refine) what impact they are seeking to make.  In addition, they must “produce and communicate tangible changes that benefit individuals and communities.”  Charting Impact is an initiative that seeks the active involvement of many nonprofits using and sharing the same framework of questions to guide how they think about their impact.

Please add your list of “5 Questions” in the Comments.