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August 2009

Identifying High Performance

A series of great posts over at the Tactical Philanthropy blog on high performance and impact.

Sean starts by comparing high performance and high impact (make sure you check out the debate in the comments as well) and arguing:

"that the best way for philanthropists to achieve impact is not to focus on analyzing impact directly, but through identifying and funding High Performance nonprofits."

He then looks in more depth at defining high performance.

In the first part, Sean cleverly applies Warren Buffet's rules/questions for identifying high performing companies to the non-profit sector. These are:

  • Is the organisation simple and understandable?
  • Does the org have a consistent operating history?
  • Does the org have favourable long term prospects?
  • Is management rational?
  • Is management candid with shareholders?
  • Does management resist the Instituional Imperative?
  • Focus on return on equity, not earnings.
  • Look for companies with high profit margins.

In his second post, he takes the six practices identified in the 'Forces for Good' book to produce a 'robust definition of high performance'.  The six practices are:

  • Advocate and Serve
  • Make Markets Work
  • Inspire Evangelists
  • Nurture Nonprofit Networks
  • Master the Art of Adaptation
  • Share Leadership
If this summary has whet your appetite then do take the time to read the full posts as they go in to much more detail and present an interesting and compelling argument.

Best of Fundraising - what i've been reading this week

Holiday season must be upon us, as there seems to have been a bit of a dip in great posts to share this week. It's either that or my standards are getting higher!

Have a (relatively) major direct mail campaign dropping next week and always get a few butterflies before one drops.  Am a bit like a child at Christmas as I wait to see how quickly the responses come in and the general feedback we get.  Fingers crossed it goes well - i'll let you know.

Anyway, these have been my favourite posts this week:

Mark Phillips has an in-depth look at the use of images in appeals

The Agitator asks "What makes you special?"

Lessons from the Red Cross on how to become a media savvy nonprofit

Beautiful World asks "Is fundraising becoming a dirty word?"

Finally, Copyblogger has 73 tips for becoming a better writer