This post was originally published here (Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy)
Increasing pressures for accountability and outcomes reporting coupled with increasing competition drive nonprofit organizations to implement continuous improvement strategies to meet internal and external needs. Learning is a key factor in the push for continuous quality improvement, and nonprofits need data to make decisions, change their operations, and inform planning and program management activities. Nonprofit organizations accustomed to using data for accountability and reporting must think and manage differently to cultivate an organizational culture that values inquiry. Building and sustaining a learning culture, though beneficial, is seldom easy to achieve. This brief seeks to help nonprofit practitioners define a learning culture and the strategies needed to cultivate it.