Performance Culture is Profitable for Nonprofits
Performance Culture is Profitable for NonprofitsJeremy Singer, President, College Board
This article was originally published on the Philanthropy Journal.
Successful businesses thrive on a performance culture. Everyone from the board chair to the newest hire understands how the company defines success and how their work contributes to it. An emphasis on measurable results and clear accountability brings a clarity of purpose to the whole organization. Every employee and every team can see the impact they have on the bottom line.
Answering those questions is the key to creating a performance culture. For College Board, that meant breaking the grand mission into smaller problems. “Clearing a path for all students to own their future” is great, but we broke that winding path into pieces we could tackle and measure. We set goals for getting more students to create a college list, and for getting low-income students to apply to more schools. We redesigned our communications, made our fee waiver process simpler, and started offering unlimited score sends.
People respect tough calls if they’re made with transparency and a clear sense of purpose. Over the last few years, the College Board decided that Advanced Placement classes needed new resources. A lot of experienced AP teachers will be retiring over the next decade, and we’re making a big push to expand AP into rural schools where there may be fewer supports for teachers. Creating a bank of practice tests, study guides, and an advanced system for tracking student progress should make life easier for current AP teachers and smooth the transition for those new to the AP classroom.