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The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox: A Complete Guide to Program Effectiveness, Performance Measurement, and Results Hardcover – May 3, 2011


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The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox: A Complete Guide to Program Effectiveness, Performance Measurement, and Results + Evaluation Techniques for Difficult to Measure Programs: For Education, Nonprofit, Grant Funded, Business and Human Service Programs + Benchmarking for Nonprofits: How to Measure, Manage, and Improve Performance
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

One of the most talked about subjects in the nonprofit field is the question of effectiveness, performance measurement, and results—collectively referred to as "outcomes." Nonprofit organizations are increasingly being pressed to measure and report their outcomes regularly to funders and other constituents; in addition, service organizations need some form of regular feedback on their outcomes to help them improve their services. The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox identifies the stages in the use of outcomes and shows you how to implement specific facets of certain models to increase capacity and achieve desired results in your organization.

Written by Robert Penna—a leading outcomes expert—and sponsored by The Rensselaerville Institute and Charity Navigator, the nation's foremost charity rating service—The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox compiles the most significant strides that have been made in the performance of nonprofits. This valuable toolbox digs deep to go beyond the familiar limits of the social sector to illustrate how tools and approaches used in the corporate sector can be of great analytical and practical use to nonprofits as well.

Through the use of worksheets and examples, Dr. Penna offers structured guidance on how to tailor these tools to your organization's unique challenges and equip your "toolbox" to suit your program or organization's needs.

Designed to be used by those who are new to outcomes as well as anyone looking for a refresher, The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox is divided into four accessible sections:

  • Basics: Putting outcomes into an overall managerial context, contrasting the outcomes approach with several more common approaches to program design, the vocabulary of outcomes, the characteristics of good outcomes, and identifying outcomes relevant to your program

  • Working with Outcomes: Planning with outcomes, the different levels of organizational capacity and capacity assessment, using outcomes to track progress, the key characteristics of a good "Lessons Learned" system, and outcome-based communications

  • Advanced Tools: Six Sigma methodology, The Balanced Scorecard, key insights from the service economy, and an array of ideas from Value Engineering, Process Mapping, inventive problem solving, Failure Mode Effect Analysis, personnel recruitment and evaluation, budgeting with outcomes, and the creation of a value proposition for your program or organization

  • Other Tools & Perspectives: SERVQUAL analysis, Cost vs. Worth vs. Value, building value in, and process mapping

Accompanied by a dynamic website to help you implement the concepts presented in the book, The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox puts an arsenal of tools at your fingertips to help your nonprofit perform more efficiently, effectively, and productively, from top to bottom.

From the Back Cover

"A well-done tutorial on outcome use and assessment." —MARIO MORINO, Cofounder and Chairman, Venture Philanthropy Partners

". . . a real contribution to the field. What makes this an amazing document is its depth and comprehensiveness. There's just an extraordinary amount of information here, and Penna has made quite an effort to make it useful. I also really appreciate the conversational style, the exercises, and the pop culture references. It's clear Penna made a real effort to keep this engaging for the reader." —JACOB HAROLD, Program Officer, Philanthropy Program, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

". . . the Encyclopedia of Outcomes . . ." —DEBORAH NATENSHON, CEO, The Center for What Works

"Penna has pulled it all together and provided an enormously useful overview." —MICHAEL E. CLARK, President, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York

"The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox takes outcome funding a quantum leap forward. We have struggled for years to help our investees implement an outcome strategy with mixed success. You have created a simple, easy-to-use, and easy-to understand road map for organizations committed to becoming more effective and sustainable." —ALAN SORKIN, President, Social Venture Partners International

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118004507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118004500
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
He does a great job explaining things in person too.
Acoustic Player
The management tools are truly inspired, and if your goal is social good, keep measuring your users' experiences.
Let's Compare Options Preptorial
It has a great layout, mixes narrative with visuals and is just very well done.
Jed Emerson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jed Emerson on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have to say, very seldom do I take the time to write something like this, but I do have to say that Bob Penna has done a great job with this book... There are a ton of "evaluation and measurement" books out there, but he's succeeded in putting one together that both communicates a vision about why this stuff matters and presents in a very helpful manner how folks should go about bringing that vision into reality. It has a great layout, mixes narrative with visuals and is just very well done. Really very helpful and I'm sure this will become a mainstay for those teaching these ideas--as well as those putting them into practice. Good job!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Max on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent volume of work for serious nonprofit managers,academics, philonthropists and government program leaders. No soft advise here- this is the real thing. Dr. Penna's book on outcomes for the first time in my knowledge, pulls all of the information together in a highly informative and easy to understand read. He also seems to have a good sense of humor which makes a heady book like this a delight to get through. It is good to know that the author apparently signals no ideological bias/fidelity to a specific approach, as he presents the strength and applicabilty of the numerous outcome models that are in the vanguard today ranging from the best thinking from the nonprofit and forprofit sectors. For years, I have been frustrated with performance consultants who were in retrospect rigid in their thinking, most often peddling a canned outcome approach. That never worked for me or my organizations. Penna's book breaks through this barrier by suggesting a collective synthesis approach. This book should be standard issue for all students who are studying nonprofit management. Profesors would find the book to be a rock of knowledge. Outstanding information for those who really want to be great leaders and managers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a book to be missed.
Few books cut to the chase as well and as effectively as this text.
The message within is NOT restricted to the Non-Profit context, it is equally relevant (if not more so)for the For-Profit sector.
Delivering outcomes is the lost art of the business world.
This text redraws the road map for business renewal.

Kenneth
Managing Director
Strategic Outcomes Group
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If you went just by the overt topic in the book, these ideas will be a flash in the pan. Many scientists, researchers and business gurus tried applying "outcomes," 6 Sigma and other "MBA" techniques to healthcare 10 years ago, and all the postdoctoral regressions and differential equations ended up as: 5 smiley or frowney faces!

The reason: despite all the good intentions, and the "logical" premise that results should matter, when you're in a field that deals with thousands of covariates that can't be measured OR held constant, the outcomes objective ends up being oversimplified to the point of a thumbs up or down on Facebook.

Do you think Wikipedia is of value? How would you measure the outcomes, by users giving correct definitions on exams (depending on the evolutionary state of the article the moment they saw it-- "quality" is tough to measure when citations and bibs vary not just by quality, but their very existence!), or, visits to the site? The "social benefit" is directly related to website contributions-- no middle measures needed! Users and editors love it, so they contribute. This is the new model, not the trust baby giving millions model.

So why 5 stars? Because the "next layer" of this deeply nuanced book is about RUNNING your NFP, not just rating it with some model or another. The management tools are truly inspired, and if your goal is social good, keep measuring your users' experiences. Yes, you need to keep from lining your pockets instead of your beneficiaries, but those who are dishonest will self sort out of the system in short time.

Highly recommended, but not for the reasons advertised-- GREAT day to day ops book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Penna's work and have enjoyed some of his podcasts. I ordered this book hoping it would offer new insights and more depth on the topic of outcome measurement in NPOs, especially given the high ratings on Amazon. However, I'm pretty disappointed with the text, especially given the hefty price tag. This book has too many pictures, blank lines for exercises, and examples embedded in the core content. The text is laid out so that it only fills about 2/3 of each page despite the book's awkward size (about 10"W by 8"H). Definitions of key concepts are way too thin and the organization of the content is tricky. The book doesn't flow like I would hope it would, making it difficult to read from front to back. I use the index a bit to find a term (that is, if I know what I'm looking for), but then when I flip to the page it's not as useful as I would hope. Most content seems to skim the surface without providing the depth of knowledge that someone in the field of evaluation truly needs to be able to measure performance.

There is a picture with caption bubbles on p.12 that reads "Where the heck are we???" and a response, "I have no idea.. but we're making such great time, let's keep going!" That's kind of representative of how I felt about this book. I was really unclear of the author's direction, how to find my way to the useful pieces and parts of the text, and ultimately felt like I should be reading something from a different author to get more of what I needed. this book has so much potential... but it needs a major overhaul to be truly useful in practice.
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