Montana Nonprofit Association

promoting a strong nonprofit sector in MONTANA

Principle: Evaluation

As entities that serve the public, nonprofits have an obligation to demonstrate their value to the public good. The public has a stake in nonprofit performance and is entitled to information regarding results. Nonprofits should regularly measure their performance both in terms of effectiveness—such as outcomes and results of services (the “what”)—and efficiency—such as service delivery systems (the “how”). Nonprofits should share such information with their constituents. Evaluation should be appropriate to the size and activities of the organization and evaluation data should be used to continually improve the quality of processes, programs, and activities.


1. A nonprofit should have in place defined, ongoing, and sustainable procedures for evaluating its programs, procedures, and outcomes in relation to its mission.

2. A nonprofit should commit to effective and efficient delivery of service and should regularly monitor the experience and satisfaction of constituents.

Methodology and Measurement
3. Nonprofit evaluation should include input from a wide variety of stakeholders, including staff, board, funders, constituents, and community members.

4. Information collected from constituents must be kept confidential and may not be released in a manner that would allow identification of specific persons served except with their written permission.

5. A nonprofit should conduct evaluations in ways that are culturally sensitive and appropriate to the communities they serve.

6. Performance measures should be realistic, specific, and appropriate to the size and scope of the organization and its constituents. 

a. Performance measures should serve to enhance the organizational plan. 

b. Measurement should seek information on satisfaction, activities, results, and community input.

c. Measurement should seek both qualitative and quantitative information. 

d. Measurement should seek data on efficiency and effectiveness. 

7. A nonprofit organization should utilize external evaluators when appropriate and feasible. These evaluators should follow the national Guiding Principles for Evaluators set forth by the American Evaluation Association (

Use of Evaluation Results
8. Evaluation results should be used to strengthen and improve the nonprofit’s programs and activities by incorporating them into organizational planning processes.

9. Evaluation results should be communicated to a broad range of stakeholders, including staff, board, funders, constituents, and community members.

10. A nonprofit should train its personnel in evaluation methods so as to improve their understanding and utilization of information developed from evaluation activities.

11. A nonprofit should share relevant lessons learned with other nonprofits and funding sources.

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