Non-profits are driven by mission rather than revenue or profit.  Still, they face many of the same problems as for-profit companies in prioritizing their work and focusing on the projects and programs that will let them have the greatest impact.

Business Situation

With few exceptions, non-profits have missions that can easily consume far more than the funding they have available.  New ideas for way to achieve impact to further the mission compete for resources with existing projects and programs.

And while they don’t seek revenues in the traditional for-profit sense, non-profit organizations compete for a limited pool of public and private funding.  One significant way to gain a competitive edge in fundraising is to demonstrate that your organization is a better steward of donors’ funds and uses them for the greatest impact.

These pressures call for prioritization to shape a portfolio of projects and programs that maximizes impact.  Complicating this effort is the often disparate nature of the work across different projects and programs, making it difficult to define a set of metrics that will allow all of the parts of the portfolio to be compared credibly and consistently.


SmartOrg works with non-profits to redefine their success metrics in a way that allows disparate projects and initiatives to be evaluated consistently.  This allows all of the projects to be compared in a credible manner, so that all stakeholders can agree that the comparisons are valid and fair.

Credible and comparable evaluations drive the strategic management of the project portfolio.  SmartOrg’s Portfolio Navigator software lets managers and project owners hold important conversations about the composition of the portfolio and which projects to phase out in order to increase focus and investment on more impactful ones.

SmartOrg also helps non-profits organize their projects around the concept of products, defined as repeatable work that reliably delivers to a standard.  SmartOrg provides training and coaching to enable non-profit managers to adopt and employ this concept borrowed from the for-profit sector.

SmartOrg Solutions

Creation of metrics that emphasize mission and impact over process

Portfolio strategy consulting

Portfolio Navigator enterprise software


Substantial improvement in projects moving to implementation, with higher ambitions for success

Quick termination of projects with limited impact, freeing resources and attention for high-impact projects

Portfolio management of projects, products and programs for greater overall impact

Proof for donors of specific, concrete improvements in effectiveness of donations