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How to Improve Your Non-profit Performance

If you’re non-profit operates in different locations, areas or activity, understanding which is having the most impact and what is or isn’t working, is critical for improving overall performance and internal practices.

In this video, Martyn Drake, author of The Commercial Charity, outlines the importance of getting back to basics and asking fundamental questions about what your charity does, why, and how successful your business model currently is.

Video transcript:

One of the most useful and most effective things that a nonprofit can do in terms of its performance, is to simply do a deep portfolio review. By that I mean really getting under the skin of the different things that it does in the different areas that it operates to try and define where it's been successful, where it is actually generating a surplus or creating a profit.

And where it is having the greatest impact. And you really looking for areas that combine both those two. But in any nonprofit as a portfolio of activities, or is present in a number of different locations, there's going to be variance. And that variance can tell you an awful lot about what's working, what's not working. And there are great opportunities usually from replicating great internal practices across a broader portfolio, or moving out of certain areas completely seeding the field to another nonprofit, you can do it more effectively or, or more financially sustainable. So the portfolio review is a really critical part of improving business performance. One of the things that nonprofits tend to be weekly stuff is doing on a regular basis.

So what tends to happen is towards the end of the financial year, an executive team will start to look at the year ahead and look at the financial implications and the gaps that usually emerge in the profit and loss. And try and close that gap, make a few little cuts here drive a little bit of investment here. And those things are useful stop gaps, and they'll help a nonprofit sustain most of its services the following year. But they're not a deep review. And it's very rare that a charity will actually step back and really look at what it does and ask itself fundamental questions about why it does the things it does. Why does it mean the way that it does and why operates with the model that it that it currently operates with? These are fundamental questions in terms of improving business performance, and these need to be asked?

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