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As entities that serve the public, nonprofit organizations have an obligation to demonstrate their value to the public good. The public has a stake in nonprofit performance and is entitled to information regarding organizational results. Nonprofits should regularly measure their performance both in terms of effectiveness, such as outcomes and results of services, and efficiency, such as service delivery systems, and should share such information with their constituents and the general public. Nonprofit evaluation should be appropriate to the size and activities of the organization, and evaluation data should be used to continually improve the quality of processes, programs and activities.
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Resource Format
 Staff Recommended
American Evaluation Association
Resources provided by this organization include professional evaluation information, external evaluator directory and the Principles for Evaluators.
Assessing Community Needs Toolkit
Community Toolbox
Extensive toolkit on assessing community need and developing collaboration.
Charting Impact
Independent Sector
Article/Blog, Assessment, Guide/Tool, Research/Report, Sample/Template
Designed around five simple questions, Charting Impact is a common framework designed to help staff, boards, stakeholders, donors, volunteers, and others to work together, learn from each other and serve the community better. It complements planning, evaluation, and assessment that organizations already undertake, and can be used by nonprofits and foundations of all sizes and missions.  Tools, resources, and webinars are available to support organizations in thinking strategically about each of the questions.
Checklist for Developing an Evaluation Budget
Evaluation Center
A guide to help nonprofits budget appropriately for evaluation activities.
Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Input
Public Profit
This guide provides step-by-step instructions to implement a variety of youth input activities.
Data-Informed Organizations
Assessment, Video/Tutorial
An organization that is data-informed uses data to guide decisions with the goal of generating questions, making changes and improving outcomes. The following resources will help organizations assess how data-informed they are and how they can make better use of data to advance their missions.
Effective Project Management: 3 Critical Activities
Some simple suggestions for anyone embarking on planning and managing a project for the first time.
Evaluating Advocacy
National Council of Nonprofits
A comprehensive list of resources and tools to help nonprofits evaluate the effectiveness of their advocacy efforts.
Evaluating Networks and Coalitions
Coalitions, networks, and collaborations offer the potential for greater collective impact - but how do you measure their effectiveness and impact? Evaluators have developed an array of approaches, frameworks, and tools to support both coalitions/networks and their funders. The following documents explore evaluation frameworks, challenges and opportunities.
Evaluation Activities in Organizations
Free Management Library
A compilation of information, links and tools about evaluation strategies and activities.
Evaluation Terminology
Community Giving
A helpful glossary of terms related to evaluation and measurement.
Finding and Managing Consultants and Vendors
The following resources will help you find and manage consultants and vendors, whether for a defined project, or ongoing support. If you need a referral for support on fundraising, strategic planning, legal issues, accounting issues, meeting facilitation, technology, or any other outside support, start here. (Many of the consultants and vendors in the MANP Business Finder offer nonprofit rates.)
Focus Groups
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Focus groups can be a useful strategy for gathering feedback from stakeholders, such as clients, supporters, staff, or volunteers. The following resources provide guidance to ensure you design an effective process.
Getting Started with Data-Driven Decision Making
A free workbook that will help you identify what you want to measure and why, what metrics to use, how to communicate the results throughout your organization, and how to use data to plan.
Inclusive and Equitable Research Practices
Whose voices do nonprofits tend to seek out in the audience research they conduct? On the flip side, whose voices are absent? Whose views are being centered in decision-making, and whose views don’t count? The following resources can help you design an more inclusive, less biased research process.
Infographics and Data Visualization
In a world where people are constantly bombarded with information, it is increasingly important to design visuals that tell a story that data or words couldn’t have conveyed on their own. The following resources provide guidance on how to make clear and informative "infographics."
Innovation Network/Point K
Nonprofit evaluation and assessment support organization providing resources such as assessment and planning tools, consultation, articles, advice, personalized information, newsletter, and training.
Logic Models
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template, Video/Tutorial
The following resources explain the concept of a logic model and how to use this tool to clarify program goals, monitor progress and assess effectiveness.
Maine Data Scan
Data Innovation Project
The Data Scan is a repository of accessible, free, reputable, and relevant data sources from around the State of Maine to help nonprofit organizations find data to inform their program planning, strategic planning and grant writing.
Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness
This free toolkit provides nonprofits with a framework for measuring their fundraising effectiveness. The framework outlines three primary measures, which together, provide a much more complete picture of an organization’s fundraising health. The toolkit includes a summary, discussion guide for boards, and tools for applying the measures to your organization.
National Center for Charitable Statistics
Organization/Agency, Research/Report
A national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States, including access to specific organizations' Form 990 data, and information on filing the 990.
Outcomes Measurement
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
Your nonprofit will only know that it is having an impact if it is evaluating its performance. Identifying and communicating impact is important. The following resources will help you more fully understand the purpose and practice of measuring outcomes.
The 6 Ds of Needs Assessments
Community Solutions
A simple overview of the key questions to address during a community needs assessment.
Theory of Change
Data-informed organizations can clearly articulate a "theory of change" which connects the problem with solutions. This brief, free video defines the components of a theory of change and walks through an example. After watching this video you will have the information and tools you need to get started creating or refining your own Theory of Change.
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