Nonprofit sustainability is not about writing a better grant or finding that one product or service for which you can charge a fee. It’s about delivering outcomes that people value.

One of the more effective ways to demonstrate this, especially to boards and potential funders, is through Sustainability Mapping. This 3D depiction of an organization’s core programs can provide the framework on which truly sustainable decisions are made. An example for an organization that helps developmentally disabled children is shown below:

Sustainability Mapping

The challenge in making this analysis valuable is in determining the vertical Impact values. The easy way is to go through a voting process on the more qualitative aspects of the program, which is highly subjective, and produces a vague picture of program effectiveness. A more meaningful path is to quantitatively define impact. We often find that there are many ways to use hard numbers to define impact that leadership has never before considered or thought was too difficult to quantify. This type of analysis is much more meaningful to potential funders.

A good resource on this topic is Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman.

How we can help

These sessions focus on the transformational process used to move organizations from a charity mindset to one of sustainable investment. This requires moving beyond merely describing your outcomes to actually demonstrating the value of the outcomes to those you are asking to invest in your organization. Webinars introduce the Organizational Value Proposition® concept as a tool for strategic planning, program development, and fundraising, and are the first step toward making your organization truly sustainable.

Our Sustainability Workshop is customized to your organization, and includes:

  1. Mapping your core activities and opportunities
  2. Developing investable outcomes
  3. How to translate specific outcomes into specific benefits for different stakeholder and investor groups
  4. The components to consider when developing an effective and compelling Organizational Value Proposition®

A Sustainability Plan is your blueprint for future success, not just an academic exercise. It will focus on developing and delivering investable outcomes, which are the foundation of any successful long-term plan. Our plans deliver results, not reports. Our Sustainability expert Tom Ralser has worked with hundreds of organizations to develop actionable Sustainability Plans, and will be with you every step of the way.