OKRs for Nonprofits: What Are Some Examples?

OKRs for Nonprofits: What Are Some Examples?

by Kandice Head


Published on 06.03.2019

It is no secret that the nonprofit sector faces unique challenges compared to organizations with for-profit models. Working for organizations and companies that are mission-based can be a rewarding experience, yet the very structure of many nonprofits (large boards of directors and multiple funders to report to) can make it quite easy to drift from the original mission. Furthermore, instability can often be the norm in many nonprofit environments due to funding sources and shifts in government administrations.

However, OKRs work everywhere and are applicable to both for-profit and nonprofit models. Whether you’re driving revenue or social change, the simplicity of the OKR framework can serve as a constructive roadmap. By utilizing OKRs, nonprofit organizations and their leaders can remain aligned with their organization’s mission and charter a more strategic approach to adjust to the sector’s complexities.

Objectives are the destination and Key Results are the route. Objectives answer the “what?” What is the overall vision for the organization? What do we define as success for this organization? What are we ultimately trying to accomplish? Objectives are often qualitative while key results are quantitative.

Key results address the “how?” How will we get there? How will we measure success?

Examples of OKRs for Nonprofits

The following are nonprofit OKR examples to consider:

O: Increase the overall impact of our organization in the areas of thought leadership, policy and advocacy.

  • KR1: Produce quarterly publications to highlight the organizations’ research, point of view and recommendations.
  • KR2: Secure 3 meetings with partners and elected officials to address key issue areas and opportunities for potential alignment.
  • KR3: Host 2 advocacy events this quarter to convene leaders and representatives from nonprofits, businesses, higher education and government institutions to learn about effective strategies for implementation.

O: Engage our coalition by keeping them both inspired by and active in our work.

  • KR1: Increase click-through rates on all digital communications by 20%.
  • KR12: Develop an annual report by the end of Q1.
  • KR3: Produce 3 video spotlights of community partners.

O: Ensure funders feel informed and encouraged to continue support.

  • KR1: Establish 3 funder check-ins throughout the quarter.
  • KR2: Develop an impact report by the end of the quarter.
  • KR3: Retain at least 40% of donors.

Where can I get more information?

It’s quite simple if you think ahead to achieving each of your key results, there would be no possible way you couldn’t have achieved your objective as well. When it comes to key results, all roads should lead back to your objective. So set ambitious goals with measurable key results on a quarterly basis, track them regularly and check back in with your objective.

As mentioned before, OKRs work everywhere and can help any team stay on track keep the larger vision in focus while encouraging accountability every step of the way. Learn more about OKRs by reading Measure What Matters or exploring more FAQs, Resources, and Stories and resources right here on WhatMatters.com.

Kandice Head (@KandyLanae) is a communications specialist and storyteller who writes for WhatMatters.com.


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Get exclusive guidance from John, Ryan, and the What Matters team by signing up for our weekly newsletter, Audacious. You’ll learn week-by-week how to sharpen your OKRs and stay on track to reach your goals.