Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Balanced Scorecard and Non-profits

Overall, I am most impressed by the structure of the balanced scorecard and the strong emphasis on thorough communication of objectives as an integral part of the strategy. The city of Charlotte appears to understand the importance of proper communication of strategic goals to all facets of the organization. The city manager understands that each objective within the strategy requires specialized attention. The formation of cabinets - to be in charge of each of the city’s five objectives - is an impressive way of identifying the tools necessary to achieve each faction of the overall goal. Similarly, the Toyota case proves that effective strategy relies on each sub-set of the organization developing a clear approach that is in-line with the company’s overarching mission.
The last non-profit organization I worked for could benefit from a balanced scorecard and the implementation of "cabinets" to improve articulation of the company’s goals. This particular nonprofit focused on youth development through: after-school, mentoring, literacy, and sports programs. Since the organization was fairly young, with heavy reliance on volunteers, the mentoring, literacy, and sports programs were often merged. As program coordinator, it was evident to me that, when adequate numbers of volunteers were at the organization’s disposal, the allocation of volunteers to specific programs proved most successful. In terms of the internal process, a proper distinction between the objectives of each program, as it pertains to the overall goals of the organization, is necessary to advance productivity.
The customers, inner-city community members, were difficult to engage. Oftentimes, events aimed at recruiting new mentees had poor turnouts due to insufficient advertising or what parents viewed as weak incentives to attend. The key objective in the customer category of the scorecard should be to engage with community members, particularly parents, in a manner that forges a “partnership” between the community and the organization. Similar to Charlotte’s Community Safety cabinet’s monthly departmental meetings “to discuss progress in improving performance for the theme’s strategic objectives”[1], the organization needs an outreach cabinet focused on improving “customers” awareness of the organization’s initiatives and increase communal involvement.
As a 501(c)3 it receives majority of its funding from donors. Some companies, like Finish Line Youth Foundation, have offered sporadic financial contributions to the organization. As a result, in addition to grant-writing, the organization’s finances should formulate a strategy addressing ways in which to achieve long-lasting relationships with stakeholders. Lastly, regarding the innovation/ learning category of the scorecard, the organization could benefit from appropriate use of a relational database management system to keep better records of all those involved in the organization (e.g. parents, children, volunteers, staff).

[1] Kaplan, Robert S., and D. P. Norton. "The balanced scorecard for public-sector organizations." Balanced Scorecard Report 15, no. 11 (1999): 1999.

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