Improving Programs of Nonprofit Organizations


improving a nonprofits performanceOne essential technique to assure that your nonprofit agency is excellent is to take numerous steps to make certain every program is excellent.

Here are some steps:

I. Budgeting

Make sure every program has a current and accurate budget.  All agency receipts and expenditures would be allocated to each program. For example, if a secretary spent one third of that individual’s time working for each of three programs, one-third of their salary would be allocated to each of the three programs. Each program would have its own budget.

Every special event would have its own budget.  The total receipts for each event less the total expenditures would be listed separately.

 II. Measurable Objectives

Every program would have meaningful and measurable objectives.  Some objectives would be output objectives, such as program attendance. Some would be outcome objectives such as the reduction in drug use, teen pregnancy or recidivism as a result of program participation.

Reports would be given to the board on a regular basis on the progress of each program in meeting each objective.

III. Advisory Board

One important way to improve the programs of your nonprofit agency is to create an advisory board for each program.

Many nonprofits run several programs.  In many programs, the top staff members are responsible for running each program.  Often times, staff members who participate in the program daily—cooks, counselors, bus drivers, secretaries, have no input into the program.  Participants in many programs have no way to make suggestions to improve the program.

These problems can be solved by establishing an advisory board for every program.

The membership may include representation from:

  • Clients
  • Staff
  • Board members
  • Volunteers
  • Community

At the beginning of each year, the program advisory board develops a plan for the program.  This would include a schedule of activities for the year. The plan should also include estimated attendance for each event.

At meetings during the year, the estimates in the annual plan would be compared to the actual accomplishments.

Nonprofit agencies will find that if they have an accurate budget, measurable objectives, and an advisory committee for each individual program, they are on their way to having an excellent agency.

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About Michael Sand

Michael has more than 40 years’ experience as a staff member, board member and consultant to nonprofit groups that need to raise funds. Michael heads Sand Associates, a consulting firm that provides comprehensive services to nonprofit organizations across the country. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. To reach Michael visit his, or send him an e-mail at

Michael is also the author of 3 books listed below available on Amazon.

How To Manage An Effective Nonprofit Organization: From Writing And Managing Grants To Fundraising, Board Development, And Strategic Planning,
The Essential Nonprofit Fundraising Handbook: Getting the Money You Need from Government Agencies, Businesses, Foundations, and Individuals,
How to Manage an Effective Religious Organization: The Essential Guide for Your Church, Synagogue, Mosque or Temple

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