Checklist of Nonprofit Organizational Indicators

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    Checklist of Nonprofit Organizational Indicators

    Edited by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

    (This organizational assessment tool can be completed online
    for free.)


    The following checklist is a resource developed by
    staff and volunteers of the United Way of Minneapolis Area for
    internal use by nonprofit organizations. Management can use the
    checklist to identify their organization’s administrative strengths
    and weaknesses. United Way staff and community volunteers intend
    this to strengthen their administrative capabilities. It is believed
    that widespread use of the checklist ultimately results in a more
    effective and efficient nonprofit community. The checklist is
    not intended to be used as a tool for external evaluation, or
    by grantmakers in making funding decisions. This tool will be
    used to assist nonprofit organizations to gain a better understanding
    of their management needs and/or make improvements to management

    This checklist includes the following sections:
    How to Use the Tool
    Legal Indicators
    Governance (Board) Indicators
    Human Resources Indicators
    Planning Indicators
    Financial Indicators
    Fundraising Indicators

    Also consider
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    How to Use the Tool

    The checklist indicators represent what is needed to have a healthy,
    well-managed organization. Since it is a self-assessment tool,
    organizations should evaluate themselves honestly against each
    issue and use the response to change or strengthen its administrative


    Each indicator is rated based on its importance to the operation
    and effectiveness of any nonprofit organization. The ratings are:
    E: Indicators with an “E” are essential
    or basic requirements to the operations of all nonprofit
    organizations. Organizations which do not meet the requirements
    of these indicators could place their organizations in jeopardy.

    R: An “R” rating signifies that these
    indicators are recommended as standard practice for effective
    nonprofit organizations.
    A: Additional indicators which organizations can
    implement to enhance and strengthen their management operations
    and activities are rated with an “A”.

    Checklist Responses:

    Organizations can respond in one of three ways to each indicators
    1. Needs work – An indicator that is marked as “Needs
    Work” implies that work has been done towards achieving this
    goal. The organization is aware of the need for this indicator,
    and is working towards attaining it.
    2. Met – All indicators marked as “Met”
    demonstrate that the organization has fulfilled as essential management
    need. However, the organization should review these indicators
    in the future to be sure that their management remains healthy
    in view of the many internal and external changes which constantly
    occur in all organizations.
    3. N/A – Indicators marked as “N/A” can
    mean several things, including:
    – the indicator is not applicable to the management operations
    of this organization
    – the organization is not sure of the need to meet the requirements
    of this indicator
    – the organization has not met, nor is working on this indicator
    presently, but may address it in the future

    All organizations should take note: All responses to
    indicators should be reviewed carefully to see if they could improve
    management operations. Indicators checked “N/A” due
    to uncertain applicability to the organization must be further
    reviewed to determine if they should become a part of “doing
    business.” If the assessors simply do not know what the indicator
    means, further information may be needed to accurately assess
    the feasibility of its application. Indicators marked “N/A”
    because they have not been met but that apply to the organization,
    may require immediate attention. Technical assistance, consulting,
    or training may be required to implement these indicators.

    The indicators in this checklist should be informative and
    thought provoking. The checklist can be used to achieve not only
    a beginning level of good management, but improve existing management
    to provide the organization with greater stability, reliability
    and success in the nonprofit community. It is also a useful too
    if an organization is experiencing management problems, to help
    pinpoint any weaknesses so action can be taken or assistance sought
    to improve the organization’s health. All organizations should
    use the checklist to re-assess themselves periodically to ensure
    compliance with established rules and regulations, and to continue
    improving administrative health through the indicator’s helpful


    This checklist is designed to provide accurate and authoritative
    information regarding the topics covered. Legal requirements and
    non-legal administrative practice standards reflected herein are
    capable of change due to new legislation, regulatory and judicial
    pronouncements, and updated and evolving guidelines. All stated
    legal requirements are in effect as of September 1, 1995. The
    same are utilized with the understanding that the provision of
    this checklist does not constitute the rendering of legal, tax
    or other professional services.

    If the organization requires professional assistance on these
    or other nonprofit tax, management, or accounting issues, please
    contact your own professional advisors.

    This information may be copied. Please cite credit to the
    Greater Twin Cities United Way.

    For the Category of Organizational Development:

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