“Performance and results,” Peter Drucker points out, “are far more important — and far more difficult to measure and control — in the non-profit institution than in a business.” (Managing the Non-Proft Organization.)
More important because performance and results are connected to causes that impact society, in the social sector. And in the private sector, they are connected to actions that impact only the business’ bottom line. How they impact society is secondary — even for socially responsible businesses where profit continues as the guiding light.
What makes performance and results more difficult to measure and control for nonprofits has a little to do with the subjective nature of change. However, it has a great deal more to do with a lack of competitors in the field to see who can do things better. And even more to do with the fact that the people paying for nonprofit services and those benefiting from them are not the same people. The separation of customer from consumer in a noncompetitive market makes it possible for nonprofits to evolve systems of rewards that are not tied to right action. It’s not intentionally sub-optimal. But it happens. And it happens a lot.
Good stewardship requires that nonprofit leaders continuously improve their team’s performance and the results they are able to achieve with the charitable resources entrusted to them — no matter how difficult.
There is no shortage of nonprofit consultants to help with this. So what makes us different? It’s our focus on direct service and those providing — and the depth of experience we have providing direct services ourselves. We’re not a crossover group of consultants who think that the tools they have learned in the private sector are needed in the social sector. And we’re not a group of recent graduates who have a passion for nonprofit management but no time in the field. We started with nonprofits, have continued with nonprofits, and will end with nonprofits. We are intimately familiar with the currency of nonprofits, appreciate the nuances that make the sector unique, and know how to surface and build on the intangible assets that surround every nonprofit mission.