The Nonprofit Impact System™
What is The Nonprofit Impact System™?
The Nonprofit Impact System is a complete set of tools and approaches you can use to optimize every aspect of your nonprofit for maximum mission impact.
Based on a wide body of research about what makes some nonprofits succeed while others struggle, as well as our real-world experience with hundreds of organizations of all shapes and sizes, the Nonprofit Impact System™ provides a practical, actionable method for achieving the organizational effectiveness you have always dreamed of.
It includes the four key elements every nonprofit must master to achieve its full potential: Focus, Strategy, People and Progress. Learn more below or begin using the Nonprofit Impact System™ today.
Why is the Nonprofit Impact System™ important?
The challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our families are significant. Our planet has lost half its wildlife in the last 50 years. Ten percent of the world’s population still lives in extreme poverty. Hunger has been on the rise globally since 2015. Here in America, Black and Latino students continue to see fewer opportunities for educational advancement. Economic inequality continues to grow. Death from gun violence has reached its highest rate in over two decades. And many of the problems and inequities that already existed in our communities are only growing due to fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.
Every day, nonprofits are taking meaningful action to combat these problems, but organizations face obstacles that hold them back from doing all they could to truly make an impact. In fact, most nonprofit CEOs report that producing results continues to get more and more challenging, and 30% of nonprofits fail within 10 years. Demand is growing, resources are shrinking, competition is fierce, trust in nonprofits is declining, and the nonprofit starvation cycle is accelerating as funders and supporters continue to look to the wrong metrics – like overhead ratios – to determine nonprofit effectiveness.
These challenges are substantial, and to overcome them, nonprofits need a reliable, proven system for optimizing operations and ensuring effectiveness.
The Nonprofit Impact System™ is the answer.
How Does The Nonprofit Impact System™ work?
The Nonprofit Impact System™ includes four dimensions: Focus, Strategy, People, and Progress. Within each of these four dimensions, the System includes several critical components and proven practices nonprofits must develop to maximize their effectiveness.
Organizations that use the Nonprofit Impact System typically move through it sequentially, in the order that follows:
How do organizations use the Nonprofit Impact System™?
There are three ways use the Nonprofit Impact System™:
Organizations can implement the four components of the Nonprofit Impact System™ on their own, using free resources like the ones on this page.
2) With high-level support from Prosper Strategies across all components
Organizations can hire Prosper Strategies to facilitate a two-day – one week workshop to help them work through all elements of the Nonprofit Impact System™ at a high level, in a condensed time frame. Optionally, Prosper Strategies can then provide deep support in specific areas where it is needed (i.e. a rebrand or Strategic Plan), or facilitate the quarterly checkup, annual planning, or both).
3) With deep support from Prosper Strategies on specific components
Organizations can hire Prosper Strategies to develop (or facilitate the development of) specific elements from within the four components. For example, Prosper Strategies can facilitate the discovery of your reason for being, help you revamp your mission and vision statement, create new organizational messaging, facilitate the development of your strategic plan or marketing or fundraising plan, or conduct assessments to determine if you have the right people in the right seats on your team. Based on your needs, we can host workshops and create the plans/strategies/documentation that comes out of those workshops, or focus on workshop facilitation only (in which case you’d then create the plans/strategies/documentation yourself).
Organizations can also use various combinations of these three options.
How should our organization get started?
The Nonprofit Impact System™ begins with an online assessment called the Nonprofit Health Exam. It will allow us to assess your organization’s health across the four key components – Focus, Strategy, People and Progress – so you can determine where to begin your efforts to implement the system. Then, if you are interested in going beyond the DIY approach, you’ll talk to an advisor at Prosper Strategies to get a better understanding of how we might partner with you to bring the Nonprofit Impact System™ to life. Once you’ve signed on to work with us, we’ll provide a roadmap that details how we’ll move through optimizing your organization together. Typically, this work will begin with a research-focused discover phase, and then move on to a series of workshops and the creation of elements like a mission statement, strategic plan, fundraising plan, etc.
Outcomes: organizations that implement the full Nonprofit Impact System™ can say the following...
- We have a clear reason for being. Our impact is needed, and no other organization can do exactly what we do exactly the way we do it.
- We have a vision and mission statement that accurately reflects our Focus, and it has been properly communicated to all staff, board members, and external stakeholders.
- Our core values are clear – we are hiring, reviewing, rewarding and firing around them. They guide our decision-making.
- Our messaging and identity reflect our reason for being, mission, vision and values.
- We have a strategic plan that is based on our focus. It is updated yearly and optimized quarterly.
- Programs/services, marketing/communications and development/fundraising each have their own strategies and plans that have been developed in direct response to the organization’s strategic plan.
- Our strategic plan is shared externally and we report on progress against it to the public annually.
- Internally, everyone has access to the organization’s strategies and knows who is responsible for what.
- Our talent reflects the diversity of the people and communities we serve, and our work environment emphasizes inclusion and equity for everyone on our team.
- We have the right people in the right roles.
- Everyone has goals and is focused on them.
- Everyone is engaged in regular meetings. Recurring meetings from the Progress element happen at the same time every day/week/month/year.
- We have a system for receiving regular input from all our stakeholders, such as donors, volunteers, community members, policymakers, and program participants/clients.
- We know what success looks like and use clear metrics to define it.
- We have a dashboard for tracking financial performance, goal progress and outcomes against metrics.
- We have clear financial gauges that we measure against regularly.
- We are agile. While we stick to our focus and strategies, we also know when to make adjustments and do so for the right reasons – to work smarter in service of our mission.