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Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Nonprofits are assessing their performance but lack the resources they need to do more.
Center for Effective Philanthropy

April, 2015

New CEP Research on Nonprofit Performance Assessment


Nonprofits are assessing their performance but lack the resources they need to do more.

That's among the messages in a new research report from CEP on nonprofit performance assessment, Assessing to Achieve High Performance: What Nonprofits are Doing and How Foundations Can Help.

For nonprofits, measuring and improving performance is a challenging endeavor. For foundation leaders to most effectively support grantees, more needs to be understood about the extent to which nonprofits are assessing performance, how they are approaching this work, and what they are looking for from their funders to support it. And so CEP turned to our national panel of nonprofit leaders with questions about their assessment strategies and how they are supported.

What did we learn?


  • Almost all nonprofits surveyed are collecting information to assess their performance; still, many want to collect additional - or better - data.
  • The typical nonprofit in this study allocates two percent or less of its budget to assessing its performance and few employ staff who are dedicated to this work full time.
  • The nonprofits surveyed are mainly using their performance information to improve their programs and services, inform their strategic direction, and communicate about their progress; to a lesser extent, they are using it to share what they are learning with other organizations or to manage their staff.
  • A minority of nonprofits in this study report receiving support from foundations for their performance assessment efforts.

The report is co-authored by members of CEP's research team: Ellie Buteau, Ramya Gopal, and Jennifer Glickman. We welcome your feedback on this research, and invite you to join the conversation and share your thoughts by tweeting with the hashtag #GranteeVoice

Download this report:



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