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The Nonprofit Strategist

So You Founded a Nonprofit. Here's a Quick Way to Assess Your Progress

“If tech founders had to do what nonprofit founders do to get startup funding, we wouldn’t HAVE a tech industry in this country.”

Nonprofit founders have it tough, no doubt about it. But as a founder, do you know where your organization stands on its path to sustainability? More to the point, do you know what you need to get there?  It’s about money, yes. But it’s surely more than that, right?

If you were in a for-profit environment, you’d have several ways to figure out how you’re doing. There are measurement tools--backed up by lots of empirical research--that are based on what’s known as “cornerstone theory.”  In short, a startup is viable when its business platform is in place. A sustainable business platform is made up of eight “cornerstones” or interlocking elements. If they’re all in place, great! If not, the management task is obvious: successfully address the gaps, or if it’s not in the cards, decide to get out.

Trouble was, until now nonprofit founders didn’t have a way to measure progress, because cornerstone theory is only now being tested in the nonprofit context.

Fear not: there’s no reason to wait. That’s why we created this easy-to-use self-assessment tool, based on Fredrick Andersson’s nonprofit cornerstone typology.* It’ll take no more than 2-3 minutes, and it’s designed so that you can pretty much instantly self-assess where your organization stands. Check it out! The goal is to help you confirm or possibly identify gaps in your startup strategy--or at least trigger some new thinking on how to address the challenges you face.

Let us know what you think!


* Andersson. Nascent Nonprofit Entrepreneurship: Exploring the Formative Stage of Emerging Nonprofits. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 1-19. 2015.