Three Indicators To Sense Your Organisation’s Health
Three indicators to consider to best sense your organisation’s health
Every type of business has a different set of critical statistics that really matter. For example, in the manufacturing industry, it could be inventory turns, on-time delivery and cost per unit. For sales and marketing, it could be number of new accounts opening/closing, market share and sales growth.
But if you are running a not-for-profit business whether it’s a small local charity or a major international operation, I would say there are three key indicators that really work; employee (and volunteer) engagement , donor satisfaction and cash flow.
Employee / volunteer engagement
No secret here. It goes without saying that no organization small or large can succeed over time without energized workforce who believe in the vision and mission and are clear on how to achieve it. That’s why it is vital that you regularly conduct tests for employee/ volunteer engagement. I would say at least once a year in a manner and method where workforce feels completely safe to speak their minds. Find out (e.g. via anonymous survey) how people feel about the strategic direction of the organization, about their personal growth and career opportunities.
Do not shy away from bad news. Most people will not complain to you about what they perceive to be small problems. Value the ones who do. Appreciate the individuals who have the courage to speak the truth, no matter how unpleasant, when they perceive it to be for the greater good. Thank everyone for sharing their true feelings.
Of course growth is the key to long term sustainability, which is why donor satisfaction is the second critical sign for the charity boss. Yes surveys can be used but those are rarely enough to give you the baseline data you need for a real understanding of the situation. To see the real picture, you need to make visits. Yes, a personal visit! And visit not only the ‘loyal’ donors but also go and chat with the ‘difficult’ ones e.g. the ones who had to wait for weeks and months for project feedback reports.
Go with the intention of learning. Have questions ready; what can we do better? When a donor’s suggestions and ideas are ignored or rebuffed they begin to shut down! Never leave without finding out if each donor would recommend you organization/projects to others. This is the acid test of donor satisfaction.
Finally, there is cash flow which is important because this measurement just does not lie. The actual figure tells you the true ‘status of play’. It gives you a sense of whether you can initiate new programs, increase human capacity and to cut down or grow faster.
Without doubt, there are plenty of other measurements that you can also use but if you have employee (and volunteers) engagement, donor satisfaction and cash flow right you can be sure your organization is healthy and well on the way to achieve its vision.