Giving Compass' Take:

• Reflecting on his 13 years as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Peter Fortenbaugh shares advice for nonprofit staff, board members, and donors.

• Forternbaugh's reflections center on culture, measuring success, and governance. How can donors grasp a better understanding of all three of these concepts to gauge nonprofit effectiveness? 

• Learn more about how to judge nonprofit effectiveness.

Many business people see an opportunity to apply their skills to the nonprofit sector as either a donor, board member, or staff. As I was, most believe they can improve nonprofit efficiency and are inspired to try to improve the world. But business skills and inspiration are not enough.

With this perspective and based on my 13 years as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP), I have developed some recommendations for nonprofit staff, board members, and philanthropists—particularly those transitioning from the business world—that can, I believe, increase the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector:

  1. Culture
  2. Measuring Success
  3. Governance

While nonprofits and for-profits are both businesses, they have important differences in culture, how they measure success, and governance.

Donors and staff making the switch between sectors should be prepared to modify their expectations and approaches based on these fundamental differences. Investing in leadership development and group recognition, setting clear organizational goals and encouraging innovation, and establishing a committed board go a long way toward improving nonprofit effectiveness.

Read the full article about the nonprofit sector effectiveness by Peter Fortenbaugh at Stanford Social Innovation Review.