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.

To better understand the state of practice of performance assessment at nonprofits, CEP turned to its national panel of nonprofit leaders with questions about their assessment strategies and how they are supported. For nonprofits, measuring and improving performance is a challenging endeavor. Yet, the data from these surveys reveal that nonprofits are assessing performance — but lack the resources they need to do all they seek to do.

The report shows that most nonprofits receiving funding from large foundations collect and use information about their performance, yet many want to gather additional — or better — data. The typical nonprofit in the study allocates just two percent or less of its budget to assessing its performance, and few employ staff who are dedicated to this work full time. In approaching this work, only a minority of nonprofits in the study report receiving support from foundations for their performance assessment efforts.

The survey used to gather information for this report is available here.

April 2015