Promote and Implement Effective Practices

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The benchmarking process doesn't simply end after practices have been identified, validated, and classified. Remember that process improvement lies at the heart of the benchmarking process. Because of this, organizations should be prepared to devote time and effort to the promotion and implementation of the effective practices unearthed through the benchmarking process. There is a critical difference between communicating about effective practices and actually ensuring that your organization is prepared to incorporate the practice into its processes and structures. Consider ways in which you will promote the practice with both internal staff and with peer organizations.

Internal promotion of practices prepares staff for implementation.

Internal promotion is essential to the successful implementation of an effective practice. How you promote the practice and prepare your staff for implementation will depend on the size and culture of your organization as well as the complexity of the practice being introduced. Sensitivity to your organization's needs and concerns are essential to the successful internal promotion of effective practices.

Click to open interactivity Consider your audience before promoting internally.

Consider your audience before promoting internally.

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Peer-to-peer learning promotes collaboration among nonprofits.

Peer-to-peer learning is generally a low-cost and low-effort way to share effective practices that yield high value within the nonprofit community. By creating a “clearinghouse” for effective practices, nonprofit organizations can function as a facilitator or organizer as well as a source of support for collaborations that promote learning and sharing among peers.

Nonprofit organizations can promote peer-to-peer learning in a number of ways, including:

  • Searchable databases—One way to enable peer-to-peer learning is to create an online searchable database of practices where nonprofits can virtually share effective practices with their peers. To host an effective online database, ensure that posted practices meet a minimum standard of criteria; that practices maintain a recognized validation process; and that the database is searchable by sector, area of programmatic activity, and organizational operations.
  • List serves—A list serve is an e-mail list that allows members to send messages to one another. A public list serve allows anyone on the public list to initiate communication with someone else. You can host a list serve that enables nonprofits to communicate with one another regarding effective practices and their adaptation, replication, and implementation.
  • Face-to-face peer learning—There are many ways for nonprofits to facilitate face-to-face learning events within their communities. An organization might consider hosting peer learning groups where participants share ideas and experiences with best or promising practices, or to develop a team made up of members from nonprofit organizational representatives who have a vested interest in designing creative ways for sharing effective practices.

Verify the practice's effectiveness through observation and evaluation.

After formally promoting and implementing the practice, you should prepare to evaluate your organization's success in implementing the new process or activity. Think back to the data points and indicators that you originally used to classify the practice. How have these data points or indicators changed since implementing the practice? What evidence have you observed that points to the practice's success? The timeframe for evaluating the practice's effectiveness will depend on the time needed to incorporate the best practice and duration of time that needs to pass before results can be observed.