GUIDE: How Small Nonprofits Can Use The Performance Imperative To Improve

Download “Small, But Mighty: The PI For Small Nonprofits” to get a framework for becoming a high-performing nonprofit.



This short introductory document provides accessible entry points and specific tips for using the Performance Imperative (PI), a framework for social-sector excellence developed by the Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community. Leap of Reason developed the PI for leaders of organizations with revenue between $100,000 and $3 million: “We hope it serves as a guiding framework, whether you’re new to this journey or already on a path to continuous improvement. And, we’re confident that over time, your efforts will result in improved benefits for the people and causes you serve.”

Key Takeaways

Leap of Reason defines high performance as “the ability to deliver—over a prolonged period of time—meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.” Its PI framework includes 7 pillars, which are explained in more detail in the guide:

    Pillar 1: Courageous, adaptive executive and board leadership
    Pillar 2: Disciplined, people-focused management
    Pillar 3: Well-designed and well-implemented programs and strategies
    Pillar 4: Financial health and sustainability
    Pillar 5: A culture that values learning
    Pillar 6: Internal monitoring for continuous improvement
    Pillar 7: External evaluation for mission effectiveness

In this guide, you will also find:

  • Case studies that show you how other small nonprofits used the PI
  • Questions to illicit important discussions about impact and mission at your nonprofit
  • Suggested activities that will help your nonprofit evaluate its progress toward each pillar


Length: 11 pages
Level: Intermediate

The creators of the Performance Imperative suggest finding modest, “bite-size” ways to begin using this guide and the Performance Imperative as a whole. “With a mindset for improvement, it’s important make the to decision to work toward high performance, start somewhere, and celebrate incremental progress,” they write in the guide.

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Featured Photo: Provide Life Skills for 4,000 Rural Mayan Girls by Population Council
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