You can only improve when you measure and review your progress, so charities need to be doing this regularly to ensure that their efforts are always effective and are in line with their purpose.
To help you review your charity’s effectiveness and what you are achieving, here are 6 essential questions that you need to be asking.
1) Are we measuring and managing our impact?
Every charity has a mission and goals, so every service and programme needs to be regularly monitored to ensure that they are being met. Is every action meeting an identified need? Are they delivering the impact that they should? By measuring everything from social media posts to fundraising events, you can find out what is the most effective and improve on the areas that are not.
2) Do we have a healthy cash flow and effective financial policies in place?
Healthy finances include a steady cash flow, medium to high reserves, and multiple sources of income. Do you have these? If not, consider how you can diversify your income so that you can run a resilient and sustainable charity in the long-term. Make sure to always check and update your financial policies and procedures regularly as it is important that these are up to date with current legislation.
3) Are we maximising our staff and volunteer resources?
A charity’s effectiveness can be greatly affected by the staff and volunteers, so always make sure that you take on the right people with the right mix of skills and experience. With limited resources in the non-profit world, it is essential for charities to be proactive in recruiting, managing and supporting their staff and volunteers.
Money saving tip: consider partnership or collaboration opportunities. That way, your charity can deliver a greater impact with the same resources!
4) Do we have effective staff leadership?
Great leaders will ensure the effective running of a charity from overseeing operations and managing staff and financial resources to developing and maintaining key external strategic relationships. Therefore it is absolutely essential that charity’s recruit senior staff that are suited to their role and responsibilities.
5) Is our marketing effective and making the impact that we want?
Many charities get overwhelmed with marketing but it doesn’t have to be the burden that you think it is. As long as you take some time to identify your audience, how best to communicate with them, the messages you want to share and what impact you want to make, you can easily focus your marketing activity and monitor it to make sure that it is having the desired effect.
6) Are there any wasteful areas in the organisation in terms of time and resources?
One of the hardest things to do in any business or non-profit organisation is to identify the areas where valuable time is being wasted. Often, this is because it involves having to invest an initial cost first. Take a look at all the areas in your charity, are there any systems that need updating or administrative tasks that can be sped up with new software? Although this will involve additional costs, the time it will save can be spent on more valuable activities that will help the charity achieve its mission.