Principles of Effectiveness (PoE)

This program is currently unavailable while a revised tool is in development.

The Principles of Effectiveness is a powerful self-examination tool that helps nonprofits assess their organization’s strengths and weaknesses and create a comprehensive plan for improvement across all ten evaluation areas. The tool is designed to be taken in a group setting with key individuals from the organization discussing each question and answering collectively. 

In February of 2003, a group of vibrant Arizona nonprofit leaders gathered together for the purpose of having an open and active dialogue about establishing Principles of Effectiveness for nonprofit organizations in Arizona. There were some very important thoughts that emerged from that meeting, such as:

  • There are various degrees of nonprofit performance in the Valley. Therefore, should there be one standard of acceptable Principles established?
  • In spite of the emergence of internet sites evaluating nonprofits through their Form 990s, this was deemed as not the only resource for determining the success of an organization. What would be other sources of information? 
  • There are various systemic issues that impact successful results in a variety of positive and negative ways.  Identify those positive issues and find ways to alleviate or mitigate the negatives.
  • Establishment of a methodology to acknowledge high performing agencies done in an asset-based manner that recognizes an organization’s achievements and is not a punitive one to organizations that are deficient in certain areas and still developing themselves.

An fundamental question that emerged from that February 21, 2003 meeting, which was simply this: If an organization is performing well, what does it look like?

Evaluation Areas

  1. Vision, mission and values
  2. Board leadership
  3. Strategic planning
  4. Program design and evaluation
  5. Fund and resource development
  6. Human resource management
  7. Financial management
  8. Knowledge and operational management
  9. External relations, public relations and communications
  10. Public policy and civic engagement

Past participants


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