Of course not-for-profits want to maximize their impact in the communities they serve, but fostering a high-performance culture is easily as important in not-for-profit organizations as it is in for-profit ones. The outcomes and measures will differ. A high performance culture will drive competitive advantage and profit in corporate settings. High performance culture in not-for profit agencies will drive high-impact for the communities served.
Performance is the input. Impact is the output.
Funders often ask for counts of things- how many people served, how many man-hours expended, and how much money spent, but these are simply inputs. Even these simple measures are hard to calibrate across the highly diverse social service landscape. High-performing not-for-profit organizations understand clearly the impacts they hope to achieve, and are measuring and managing key performance drivers (inputs) to maximize impact.
Some attributes of high-performance culture borrowed from corporate Canada translate pretty well to not-for-profit management:
- Clarity and Consensus on Goals, Building Trust
- Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement
- Organizational Learning and Continuous Renewal
- Recognition and Rewards