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Service Impact Series: Part 2

And we’re back!! Kudos to you as you’ve already assessed the health of your program or service in Part 1, and you’ve set/ aligned your program goals to be fully integrated into your overarching agency strategic initiatives!!

So now that we’re clear on our program and service goals, how exactly do we establish our Criteria for Success???

Criteria for Success simply means- How can we know that we’ve achieved our goal, or that clients/ consumers will achieve our intended outcomes??

Thankfully in the nonprofit setting, there are a few different ways that we can think about this:

Strategy: Any systematic approach to charting an organization's future business activity

Culture: The shared assumptions, beliefs, values, expectations, rules, and predominant practices collectively held by members of an organization

Operations: Organizational apparatus engaged in administration and service delivery

People: Policies and practices around the engagement of an staff and volunteers

Business Model: The economic logic of an organization.

Going back to my example from Part 1 about the agency with the “eradicating homelessness” vision, a Criteria for Success for their job training program could be that 90% of clients complete the program; there is a 75% job placement rate; and that 50% of individuals placed in jobs are still employed within one year of completing the job training program.

There are many ways to determine the Criteria for Success for your program or service. If any of this really intrigues you, here’s a great link that breaks it down even further: Success Factors for Nonprofit Organizations (

And now that you’ve determined your Criteria for Success, stay tuned for Part 3 as we discuss how to actually Measure Success!

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