How to count social profit

Above: David Grant talks assessment and social profit at a Feb. 18 workshop for nonprofits, hosted by Adirondack Foundation and the Adirondack Nonprofit Network.

How do you assess your nonprofit’s impact? How do you measure the impact of a program when metrics and data are hard to come by?

More than 60 board members and staŒ representing over three dozen nonprofit organizations from across the region got answers to these questions at our Feb. 18, 2016, workshop in Lake Placid. “Thinking DiŒerently About Assessment,” led by former Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation President and CEO David Grant, transformed traditional strategic planning and selfassessment models into vigorous exercises that emphasize our highest aspirations.

Grant’s tenet is that community organizations create measurable output: social profit. Using matrixes, Grant showed how planning backwards and establishing what success looks like can give organizations a strong measure of their progress. He also advocated that nonprofits—or social profits—should set aside “mission time” to focus on the why, not just the how.

“The workshop was engaging and oŒered some concrete tools as well as a number of general insights that have stayed with me,” said Camilla Ammirati of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. “We’re now experimenting with a mission-time group session once per week and plan to evaluate how much it benefits us.”

Did you miss Grant’s workshop? Don't fret: check out this YouTube playlist.

Click here to check out more of Adirondack Foundation’s nonprofit capacity building work.