New Directions in Performance Measurement and Management

March 31, 2017 – The Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership hosted the 2017 Waldemar A. Nielsen Issue Forum, “New Directions in Performance Measurement and Management.” The Forum was organized by Elizabeth T. Boris, Georgetown University’s Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy, and Nielsen Fellow, Beatrice Leydier.

Performance measurement is imperative for nonprofit organizations that wish to improve their results and demonstrate to their stakeholders that they make a difference. Yet, most charities lack the capacity to measure and manage their performance. As donors, policymakers, and community members increasingly seek evidence of impacts, it is not only critical to identify and create appropriate performance measurement tools and metrics, but also to build the capacity of nonprofits to use those resources. 

This Issue Forum was a hands-on opportunity for nonprofit leaders, researchers, funders, and students to explore new directions in performance measurement and management, featuring speakers who are pioneering new performance management techniques with case studies, tools, and other resources. Opened by a Keynote Address from Dan Cardinali, CEO of Independent Sector, the event reached capacity with more than 120 attendees, largely members of the nonprofit community, but also funders, evaluators, academicians, and policy students. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Elizabeth T. Boris, Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy, who was joined by Carol T. Cole, President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners, Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance, and Mary K. Winkler, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute. The panel featured three key perspectives on performance - funder, nonprofit, and research. Finally, the participants engaged in ten roundtable conversations each moderated by two experts - typically a practitioner and a scholar or funder. They covered the following topics: Leadership; Evolving a Culture of Continuous Improvement; Capacity Building; Small Organizations (two tables); External Evaluation; Foundations and Other Funders; Leap of Reason’s PIOSA Tool; Performance-Based Contracting and Pay for Success; and Impact Investing.

This video features the first two parts of the meeting: the Keynote Address and the Panel Discussion. More information will follow on this website, including a report that will cover the topics and conversations from all roundtable discussions with key takeaways and tools for the community. You can also find the live feed of the event on Twitter at the following link: https://storify.com/BeaLeydier/nielsenforum17