October 2012 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome to the PerformWell Newsletter

Doing More with What We Have
by Teresa Derrick-Mills, PerformWell team member


Have you ever thought, “I wonder if there is a way to get more done with the resources we have”?  If so, you have had a performance management thought.  In order to determine if you can get “more” done, you have to determine what you are already getting done, what “more” means, how you can redeploy your resources, and how you track progress.  Data your organization collects already may answer these questions.  Sometimes these questions reveal new ways to use data, and sometimes they reveal the need to collect more data. 

What are you already getting done?  What you are getting done begins with your activities.  How are you serving your target population?  How many people are participating in your activities (outputs)?  What happens to them when they participate (outcomes)?

What does “more” mean? More may mean increasing the number of individuals who receive your service, increasing the amount of time individuals receive your help, or increasing the proportion of clients who achieve what you are trying to get done, like graduate from school, get a scholarship, or become employed. 

What data can help us determine how we can get more done?  You can begin with data about the population you are serving. When you set up your program, you probably set out to serve a particular age group with a particular skill set, and a particular set of needs.  Are those the people you are really serving?  If the people are different, you could get “more” accomplished by changing some strategies.  You may need to redirect your recruitment efforts to bring in your target group, or you might need to change your program to meet the new needs of the new people seeking your help. 

Data about when people are seeking help can also reveal ways to get more done.  Are there times when your office is empty, overflowing, or closed but receiving messages? A look at call pattern and walk-in pattern data may reveal a mismatch between number of personnel working and number of individuals seeking assistance at particular hours.  You could serve more people faster if you shifted staff schedules to align with need.   

How do you track progress? Before you start making changes, it is important to assess your baseline data.  You will want to look over a period of time because a single day or week may not be typical.  Then, you will look at your data regularly, perhaps every week, to see what change is happening.


How can PerformWell help? PerformWell’s Improve Service Delivery tab has resources to help you think about performance management. Many of the outcome tools can help to assess baseline knowledge of participants.  See the Toolbox sectionof this newsletter for a specific example.


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New & Noteworthy


New! Tools to Measure Positive Teen Outcomes


Did you ever wish you had tools to measure the positive attributes of teens rather than the absence of something negative - not on drugs, not pregnant, not dropping out of school? PerformWell has launched a set of tools to help you assess positive attributes like altruism, reliability, hope, gratitude, life satisfaction, and trustworthiness of adolescents ages 12-17 years. You will finally be able to describe positive youth development positively!


We thank the John Templeton Foundation for providing Child Trends, a PerformWell partner, with the funding to locate, develop, and rigorously test the tools with parents and adolescents. Tests were performed to assure that the tools are applicable to racially and economically diverse populations, and that they meet accepted standards of reliability and validity. Go to www.performwell.org and search for “Templeton” to browse these new tools.



Creating a Performance Culture, October 11, 3-4PM EST
Join Isaac Castillo from Child Trends and Julie Russell, Deputy Director of the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, for an engaging discussion on how to create a performance culture in your organization.


Managing Performance in Youth Civic Engagement Programs, December 11, 3-4PM EST
Join Chief Program Officer Zenub Kakli from the United Teen Equality Center and the Urban Institute’s Teresa Derrick-Mills to explore how new PerformWell civic engagement tools can benefit youth programs.


Have You Missed Previous PerformWell Webinars?

Check out the archived webinars, including the recent Taking the Next Step toward Performance Management – How PerformWell Can Help.

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The Toolbox

Did you know PerformWell tools can help your organization assess if you are serving you target population?


PerformWell has tools to help your organization measure outcomes and tools to help your organization manage service delivery.  As discussed in the feature article, understanding if the population you are serving is the one that you intend to serve is important.  Many different PerformWell tools can help you assess if you are serving the intended population. Some tools, found through the Improve Service Delivery tab, will help you identify population characteristics.  Other tools, found through the Identify Outcomes tab, will help you identify the starting skills, knowledge, attitudes or behavior levels of individuals coming to you for services.  Following are some examples.
Go to the Improve Service Delivery tab on the PerformWell home-page: 

  • Click on Education & Training → Workforce Development → Are you enrolling the people who can best benefit from your program?
    • On that page, you will see questions to ask yourself about who you intended to be serving and tools, like the Enrollment Criteria Checklist , to help you assess who you are actually serving.

Go to the Identify Outcomes tab on the PerformWell home-page.

  • Click on Psychological & Emotional Development → Self-Management → Self Control/Impulsivity
    • On that page, there is a set of outcome measurement tools.  The Questionnaire on Self-Regulation can be used as an initial assessment tool to determine if the children participating in the program already have or need help acquiring skills to manage their emotions and behaviors.  It can also be used to track their progress over time.


Have You Used Any of These Tools?
Be sure to leave your review for others to see what you think. It's easy. When you are on the download page of any tool, scroll to the bottom, rate it from 1-5 stars, submit a review, or share it with a friend.


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Performance Management in Practice


Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital Uses a PerformWell Workforce Assessment
by Ingvild Bjornvold, PerformWell team member

Improving job readiness skills for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment is the mission of VSP, the workforce development department of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, part of the LifeBridge Health System. Since June, the department has been using the Participant Work Readiness Evaluation from PerformWell. Mira Appleby, program development manager, tells us how it is changing their performance management in practice.


How did you come to use the Participant Work Readiness Evaluation?
I went onto the PerformWell website after attending the launch webinar in March. We always look for better practices, and when I came across the Participant Work Readiness Evaluation, I really liked it. Before, we were using our own home-grown tool, which was OK, but it wasn’t based on research and it was more subjective than we liked. The Participant Work Readiness Evaluation measures our core outcomes, and it was great that we could modify it to fit the specifics of our programming.


How does the assessment fit into your performance management?
We downloaded it directly into ETO Software, which we’ve been using for the past six years, made some changes and then copied it to create baseline and progress versions. Trainers complete the baseline evaluation for all participants after the first week and the progress evaluation monthly. We really like the numeric weights associated with the answer options and the total score at the end, because it allows us to run reports showing improvements both at the individual and aggregate levels. 


Participant Work Readiness Evaluation allows staff to assess participants’ work behaviors and skills in a range of areas including: attendance, punctuality, workplace appearance, taking initiative, quality of work, etc.  The tool indicators allow staff to measure these dimensions as: exemplary (4), proficient (3), inconsistent (2), and performance improvement plan needed (1).  See the tool description in PerformWell for information about the tool and how to use it.


What do you hope to get out of using this assessment over time?
The benefits for staff are already obvious. The assessment is clearer, more objective, and more user-friendly. It forced us to rethink what we were doing in preparing clients for job search. We created a separate sheet that we give to the participants during orientation which explains each of the skill categories and how they are rated. I think the fact that we are clearer about expectations up front may in itself contribute to improving outcomes. In a few months, we will have collected enough data to do some meaningful analysis.


How are you using PerformWell? Do you have any measures that should be included or any other suggestions? We want to hear from you. Let us know at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What We're Reading


Fall 2012, Lisbeth B. Schorr, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Broader Evidence for Bigger Impact


September 2012, The Center for Effective Philanthropy report, Room for Improvement: Foundations' Support of Nonprofit Performance Assessment


September 2012, Elizabeth Boris, Blog Post for the Center for Effective Philanthropy, A Wake-up Call for Funders: Effectiveness Requires More Support for Grantees' Assessment Efforts


September 2012, Lauren Gilbert, Blog Post of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Five Hurdles to Nonprofit Performance Assessment


September 2012, David Pritchard, Blog Post for the Center for Effective Philanthropy, A New Phase for Nonprofit Performance Measurement

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What People Are Saying


In his August 2012 Leap of Reason Update, Mario Morino sends his congratulations to the PerformWell partners for the nearly 900 participants at their August 14 webinar Introduction to Performance Management. Mario says, “The impressive demand for these webinars is a sign that an increasing number of nonprofit leaders are seeing performance management as an urgent need—and not a luxury—for navigating in this era of scarcity."


An assortment of organizations are speaking through actions, not words, as they post PerformWell to their resource pages.  We thank them for sharing PerformWell, and invite you to do the same.


The Hampton Roads Community Foundation (Virginia) has posted PerformWell to its Nonprofit Resource Kit


The Nonprofit Finance Fund included PerformWell's Introduction to Performance Management webinar in its Learn Out Loud Library


The St. Louis County Children's Service Fund (Missouri) has posted PerformWell in its Knowledge Library for Service Providers


The Foundation Center has posted PerformWell to its Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact (TRASI) site


Saving Philanthropy has posted PerformWell to its resources page


Has your organization or association written something about PerformWell? Send us a link!

Advisory Board


Diana Aviv, Independent Sector | Viki Betancourt, World Bank

James Firman, National Council of Aging | David Hunter, Hunter Consulting

Irv Katz, National Human Service Assembly | Mike Lawson, Performance Management Consultant

Jeff Mason, Alliance for Effective Social Investin | Jon Pratt, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Cynthia Strauss, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund | Nick Torres, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania

Fay Twersky, Hewlett Foundation | Jane Wales, Global Philanthropy Forum


Executive Committee Contacts


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