Measure4Change Performance Measurement Playbook

The Measure4Change Playbook is designed to help nonprofit organizations increase their performance measurement capacity. Doing so allows nonprofits to better engage their clients in decisionmaking, cultivate an organizational culture that values accountability, and strive for equity and inclusion within their organizations and for their clientele.

Who should use the playbook? Nonprofit staff who oversee or work on performance measurement, data collection and analysis, evaluation, learning, and other related duties. We refer to these staff members as monitoring and evaluation (M&E) staff. Not all these steps can be taken by M&E staff alone. Organizational leaders should be familiar with these processes, too, and support M&E staff in making the organizational changes needed.

How should you use the playbook? The Measure4Change Playbook is not a roadmap to becoming a data-driven or learning organization. Rather, it describes key milestones in your organization’s performance measurement processes and suggests actions you can take to support your journey. Feel free to pick and choose “plays” that work for your organization or identify actions for a wish list that you can implement in the future.

How the playbook is organized: The playbook is structured into 16 topics grouped into 5 areas that serve as the foundation for performance measurement in nonprofits. Each topic is anchored around a discrete set of performance measurement processes and actions (e.g., logic modeling) that represent key milestones in developing organizational capacity. We have organized the processes and actions for each topic into “plays” using the following framework.

  • Lay the groundwork: actions to take before you develop a specific performance measurement process
  • Develop: actions to take as you develop the process
  • Vet: actions to ensure that your process will be effective and sustainable and that others in your organization will support it
  • Use and share: actions to implement the process
  • Review: actions to ensure the process remains useful and up to date

ABOUT

The Urban Institute and the World Bank Group lead the Measure4Change initiative to increase the performance measurement capacity of nonprofits in the Washington, DC, area.

This playbook was funded by the World Bank Group and the Citi Foundation. We are grateful to them and to all our funders, who make it possible for Urban to advance its mission. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Funders do not determine research findings or the insights and recommendations of Urban experts.

We also thank the nonprofit members of our community of practice; they continually motivate us to develop relevant and accessible content to better serve nonprofits. From these organizations, we have gained invaluable knowledge and insight into nonprofit performance measurement. In particular, we want to thank Andrea Scallon and Holly Stevens for developing content that inspired the playbook. We also thank the Measure4Change Advisory Council for their guidance on this product and Laura Belazis, Isaac Castillo, Kristin Lucero-Golden, Holly Stevens, and Tiffani Truss for their close review and edits.

Measure4Change also thanks Urban Institute experts for lending their expertise to our curriculum and community of practice: Doug Murray, Jon Schwabish, Leah Hendey, Molly Scott, Sarah Gillespie, and Tim Triplett.

Funding for developing the ideas in this playbook came from the World Bank Group, Citi Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation.

AUTHORS: Brett Theodos, Mary Winkler, Peter Tatian, Sara McTarnaghan, Leiha Edmonds, Somala Diby, Patrick Spauster, and Ananya Hariharan