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best practices for nonprofits

To help you stay updated on best practices, we make available recommended articles that are carefully selected and contain valuable insights that may prompt you to think differently, innovate, and bring new ideas and practices to your organization.

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Lessons from the private sector

Our unique evidence-based approach to help nonprofits is to bring best practices from the private sector. The proven positive results and outcomes gained from best practices have been demonstrated through countless studies conducted over the years by well-respected entities. 

Statistics below showcase the value and importance of applying sound Strategic Planning, Project/Program Management, Change Management, and Business Process Management (BPM) practices for the benefit of your organization. 

nonprofit ratings

There are several ratings organizations that evaluate nonprofits using different methodologies and criteria to give confidence and reassurance to donors about the effectiveness of their preferred charities.  Aiming to receiving high marks from these entities should put nonprofits on the right track to demonstrating the value and impact of their work.

Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Charity Navigator’s rating system examines two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. Ratings show givers how efficiently we believe a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time and their level of commitment to good governance, best practices and openness with information. They provide these ratings so that charitable givers/ social investors can make intelligent giving decisions, and so that the nonprofit sector can improve its performance.

CharityWatch is America’s most independent, assertive charity watchdog. CharityWatch does not merely repeat what a charity reports using simplistic or automated formulas. They dive deep to let you know how efficiently a charity will use your donation to fund the programs you want to support. CharityWatch exposes nonprofit abuses and advocates for your interests as a donor. CharityWatch digs deep into the complex and often confusing financial reporting of charities and issues easy to understand A+ to F letter grade ratings for donors who want to know how efficiently their donations are being spent.

GiveWell is dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give. Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, we conduct in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, we focus on the few charities that stand out most (by their criteria) in order to find and confidently recommend high-impact giving opportunities.

ImpactMatters is a new rating agency that helps donors find high-impact nonprofits. Little information readily exists. Often, nonprofits communicate only through stories, without accompanying evidence. ImpactMatters is filling this information gap with a rating system that takes explicit account of how much good the nonprofit achieves per dollar of cost. To assign impact ratings, they use publicly available information to estimate the actual impact the nonprofit’s program has on people’s life. They then compare those impact estimates to benchmarks to determine if the nonprofit is cost-effective.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of publicly-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations. It produces evaluative reports on charities based on 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability that address four charity areas: governance, results reporting, finances, and truthful and transparent communications. BBB Wise Giving Alliance is committed to helping donors make wise giving decisions.

GreatNonprofits is the leading platform for community-sourced stories about nonprofits. These stories are submitted by people who know them best — clients, donors, volunteers, and others — all those who have experienced the impact of nonprofit work up close. They help inform prospective donors and volunteers to differentiate between nonprofits, find ones that they trust, and to encourage their community to be more confident in giving or signing up to volunteer.

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. They envision a nonprofit sector strong enough to tackle the great challenges of our time. GuideStar’s Nonprofit Profiles provide the information to make smart decisions, build connections, and learn from each other.

program management (pm) software

top 15 PM tools available for free

There are many options available when looking for Project/Program Management software. We’ve done some research to help you narrow down the list. We identified the following software (listed in no particular order) for you to consider. Although most products offer paid subscriptions with discounts for nonprofits, we believe that the free versions should suffice and meet the needs of most organizations. 

Trello – Boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.

Asana – A work management platform where your team can stay focused on their goals, projects, and tasks—no matter when or where they work.

ClickUp – All your work in one place: Tasks, docs, chat, goals, & more.

Zoho Projects – A cloud-based project management tool that helps you plan your work, track it efficiently, and collaborate with your team wherever they are.

Freedcamp – Projects are not just about tasks, every team needs different tools. Freedcamp offers everything your team needs to successfully complete any project.

MeisterTask – An online task management tool for teams to organize and manage tasks in a beautifully designed, customizable environment that adapts to their individual needs. Kanban-style project boards allow teams to create streamlined, automated workflows and get more done together. 

Paymo – Keep your team aligned and engaged. Manage tasks, create team schedules, track work time, and bill your clients from the same platform.

Airtable – Part spreadsheet, part database, and entirely flexible, teams use Airtable to organize their work, their way.

GanttProject – A project scheduling application written in Java and featuring Gantt chart, resource management, calendaring, import/export (MS Project, HTML, PDF, spreadsheets)

Hubbion – A task management and collaboration tool. Simple tool to plan projects, collaborate with your team and monitor your tasks.

Gantter – a Gantt chart based Project Management software that allows you and your team to create and edit project plans. 

Orchard Collaboration – A free, open source ticketing system, project management and collaboration framework. 

KanbanFlow – A Lean project management tool allowing real-time collaboration between team members. 

TimeLive – A very simple to use Online Timesheet Software with plenty of powerful features to manage time, expense & billing.

OpenProject –  The leading open source project management software. Support your project management process along the entire project life cycle: From project initiation to closure.