Workshop Offers Tools to Help Nonprofits Measure Their Success

It’s a safe bet that the leaders of any nonprofit in the Twin Cities would say they’re doing good work in the community. A great many of them are right—but how do you measure that value?

Measuring the benefits of a policy or program can be a challenge, but it’s an increasingly important part of the job for nonprofit leaders. Organizations that are able to quantify and report a solid return on investment have an edge in both refining and attracting support for their work.

To connect local nonprofits with resources to help them measure their outcomes, the Minneapolis Foundation recently hosted a workshop led by Jose Diaz, a research scientist at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Center for Return on Investment Research. The workshop was attended by more than 40 representatives of nonprofits that have recently received grants from the Minneapolis Foundation for work to increase the economic vitality of the Twin Cities region.

Diaz is an expert on Return on Investment (ROI) studies, which compare the economic and social values of a program’s benefits with its cost. Performing such a study can be complicated and expensive, but as Diaz explained, there are many resources that can make it feasible for a nonprofit to do a quality ROI analysis. Measuring the value of a program’s outcomes—whether they include jobs created, businesses launched, wages earned, or tax revenues generated—gives organizations a powerful tool for evaluating their success and communicating with funders, policymakers, and the public.

Learn more about ROI studies and resources offered by the Wilder Foundation here.