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How to Impress Donors With Your Programs in a Tough Economy – The Chronicle of Philanthropy

From the Chronicle of Philanthropy: “In the past few years, measurement has quickly evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for nonprofits. Government agencies, foundations, and private donors have been demanding answers to the question: Did that program make a difference?

In times of financial turmoil, government funds for nonprofit work are particularly scarce, and we expect continued belt-tightening in the coming months. Domestic discretionary spending is slated to be cut by 5.3 percent this year, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that reductions from the sequester will grow larger in the coming years.

That means demonstrating results is increasingly critical for nonprofits trying to secure state and federal funds.  In many states, such as Washington and Illinois, governments are supporting only those groups whose programs are making a substantial contribution toward state goals.  As the Illinois Office of Management and Budget Web Site says, the state will ‘end the automatic funding of programs’ and will support ‘only those programs that can demonstrate effectiveness and help the state achieve its stated outcomes and goals.’

In light of these pressures, here are some tips to help nonprofits show their worth…” How to Impress Donors With Your Programs in a Tough Economy – Measuring Up – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas.

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Measuring Developmental Disabilities Services’ Success

From Governing States and Localities: “The importance of performance measurement in tough fiscal times can’t be overstated, but I also don’t think there’s any more important policy area to which it applies than human services.

Recently, I spoke at a conference for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) on the fiscal outlook for 2013. Joining me was Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Both of us predicted that Congress would ultimately cobble together some unsatisfying, short-term gimmick for avoiding the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and we both suggested that whether we went off the cliff or not, folks in human services — including those focused on developmental disabilities — were going to continue experiencing the big fiscal squeeze. I went on to suggest that anyone not focusing more tightly on results-informed budgeting and policy would wind up in even worse shape.

That’s where the National Core Indicators (NCI) project, which tracks outcomes for those with developmental disabilities, comes in. It’s a joint venture between NASDDDS and the Human Services Research Institute, an analytics group based in Cambridge, Mass. It turns out that the NASDDDS has been beating the results-informed budeting drum since the late 1990s. ‘It started around the time states began flirting with managed care,’ says Charles Moseley, associate executive director of NASDDDS. ‘And we were also starting to hear from other directors that they were getting a different kind of question from legislators during budget hearings. They didn’t want to hear about outputs — how many clients we were serving — they wanted to know what difference we were making in these folks’ lives.'”

via Measuring Developmental Disabilities Services’ Success.