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A recent article in the GuideStar Newsletter recapping lessons learned from the first year of their Platinum Level status and the status being achieved by more than 2,200 charities is a victory for those who believe there is far more than overhead percentages to consider when the judging worthiness of nonprofits.

One aspect of the Platinum section of a GuideStar Nonprofit Profile is the ability to input key performance metrics based on program output. To aid this process, GuideStar has published a Common Results Catalog as a starting point for compiling and sharing charity performance metrics in an uncomplicated way.

We know from several studies that donors are retained when they are told the impact their donations are having, and we should applaud Guidestar for enabling and simplifying the structure for key performance metrics based on program output to come to life for charities across the country. The ability to look up and share them through their Common Results Catalog is brilliant. Every nonprofit leader should browse through the catalog.

Below is an excerpt of the catalog of common results dealing with charities involved in Education. Notice how easy it can be to pick out the results or metrics you would like to track and then begin tracking them!


Family Engagement

  • Number of family members participating in school activities
  • Number of parents/guardians engaged in student activities
  • Rate of student attendance during the reporting period
  • Number of parents, community members, and non-teaching staff helping to set goals for the school
  • Number of students at or above a 90% attendance rate

School Climate and Classroom Environment

  • Number of reported bullying incidents
  • Number of student suspensions
  • Number of student behavioral issues reported
  • Number of students receiving personal instruction and feedback about their performance
  • Number of students per classroom during the reporting period
  • Number of students per teacher during the reporting period

Student Performance

  • Number of students who exhibit kindergarten readiness
  • Number of children with undetected developmental delays or chronic health problems at kindergarten entrance
  • Number of students who perform at average or above on standardized testing
  • Number of children who have emerging literacy skills
  • Number of children who have the ability to use language for expression and to communicate with others
  • Number of children who have knowledge of quantitative concepts
  • Number of children who have the ability to use eye-hand coordination, strength, and motor control to use age-appropriate tools and utensils effectively
  • Number of children who have the skills necessary to maintain personal health

With the help of documents like the catalog of common results from GuideStar, nonprofits should be able to take a large step up from doing nothing in terms of impact reporting. Our own study found that only 59% measured program impact last quarter.

If more and more charities began to track and communicate impact performance perhaps the concept of overhead percentages would finally be buried. I hope most nonprofit industry insiders would join me in saying this cannot happen fast enough!

All of us at Bloomerang are so adamant that all nonprofits should be reporting on impact that we have added a new feature that encourages users to do just that!

In addition, this tool allows the evidence and facts associated with charity success that is being requested at higher and higher levels by foundations and major donors to be easily communicated.

So if you struggle with reporting on organizational output and outcomes, check out the Common Results Catalog for some inspiration to get started, then add in your own custom metrics. Your funders will appreciate knowing what impact their dollars are having!

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