Projects Focused on Nonprofit Organizations

PerformWell (formerly the Outcome and Effective Practices Portal)

The Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions are developing the PerformWell outcomes and effective practices portal-a one-stop, online resource that helps nonprofit practitioners identify quality performance indicators for various social programs, and use them to engage in effective performance management practices. For each social program, the portal also provides research-based information about effective practices and measurement tools to gauge performance. Program areas currently under way include afterschool programs, school-based bullying prevention, mentoring, nutrition and physical activity, tutoring, sex education, workforce investment, school-based substance use prevention, family-based substance use prevention, family-based substance use intervention for drug- or alcohol-using teens, homelessness, social skills training, and early childhood home visiting.


Measure4Change is a pilot program to build performance measurement and evaluation capacity among local nonprofits in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, launched by the World Bank Group and the Urban Institute. This program aims to fill a long-standing gap by creating a nonprofit-centered approach that works to address their needs in performance measurement. Measure4Change includes technical assistance and grant funding to four nonprofits, a broader community of practice, and a series of knowledge briefs.

Outcome Indicators Project

The Outcome Indicators Project provides a framework for tracking nonprofit performance. It suggests candidate outcomes and outcome indicators to assist nonprofit organizations in developing new outcome monitoring processes or improve their existing systems. Individual reports have been developed in 14 program areas. For each program, there is a sample mission statement, an outcome sequence chart, a table of candidate program-specific outcomes, and data collection strategies including suggested data sources for each outcome indicator.

Series on Outcome Management for Nonprofit Organizations

The Urban Institute prepared six outcome management guidebooks to assist nonprofit organizations in implementing the development or improvement of a process for tracking the outcomes of their work. The guides covers:

  1. Key steps needed to implement outcome management
  2. Developing community-wide outcome indicators for specific services
  3. Surveying clients about outcomes
  4. Procedures for finding out what happened to former clients
  5. Analyzing outcome information
  6. Suggestions for using outcome information

East of the River Initiative

The World Bank's East of the River Initiative provided two years of technical assistance to help four District nonprofits develop the capacity to evaluate outcomes. An Urban Institute report, “Evaluation Matters: Lessons from Youth-Serving Organizations,” examines the agencies' progress and highlights the conditions and factors promoting and frustrating effective evaluation strategies.

Piloting Common Outcomes with D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation

Funders and nonprofit leaders are increasingly looking for information that demonstrates the achievements of community-based programs. The Urban Institute, The Center for What Works, and the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation worked together to create a pilot program that developed and tested a series of outcome indicators for out-of-school time (OST) programs. The project report briefly describes the process followed and the results achieved. The pilot demonstrated that OST providers are eager to learn how to better manage their programs, keep young people engaged, and demonstrate their accomplishments. The challenge is to expand this work to all OST programs in the District and beyond.

Community Literacy Coalition Performance Management

Community Literacy Coalitions need to track their progress in improving literacy so they can identify what is and is not working well, determine needed improvements, and hold themselves accountable to their communities. To help them, the Urban Institute prepared a detailed performance measurement/management guide (“Guide to Performance Management for Community Literacy Coalitions,”  Sponsored by the National Institute for Literacy, the guide provides recommendations as to what should be measured (for a variety of Coalition activities) and how the data can be collected, analyzed, and used.