A non-profit organization should use both qualitative and quantitative performance measures, based on the organization’s mission goals and objectives, to show financial and programmatic accountability in a transparent environment. Qualitative and quantitative research methods can be used in marketing, financial planning, fundraising and program research and evaluation. This paper will define and discuss these models as they relate to a non-profit organization. Examples of their application and benefits will be given with respect to the Employment Skills Center, a 501 (c)3 organization.
Qualitative versus quantitative analysis
When making decisions in a non-profit organization, there are two general approaches to problem solving: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative approach uses mathematical reasoning involving numerical data and involves data collection using such methods as structured surveys and interviews and review of related documents. Qualitative research involves non-numerical information, such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, open-ended surveys and observation (Hall, n.d.). Both have their place in research and analysis conducted in non-profit organizations.
Effective use in non-profit organizations
Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, separately and/or together, to evaluate and improve the performance of an organization is critical to its success. Data that may be used with these methods include financial and operations data, marketing, communications and fundraising data, programs and outcomes data and external data (“The State of Non-profit Data”. 2012.). Analyzing budget revenues, expenses and variances between projected numbers and actual numbers uses a quantitative method and is helpful in creating a more accurate budget. In addition to budgeting, the Employment Skills Center uses quantitative analysis in
References: Hall, S. (n.d.). Qualitative & Quantitative Research Similarities. Chron.com. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/qualitative-quantitative-research-similarities-58286.html The State of Non-profit Data. (September, 2012). Your Nonprofit Technology Community. NTEN. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.nten.org/sites/default/files/data_report.pdf