Analysing non-profit business processes using a soft systems methodology

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International Journal of Business Performance Management

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The focus of this research is to identify the most effective business processes of 20 high performing non-profit organisations in the USA using a visual soft systems business process analysis methodology. Of the 52 business processes identified, two in the top ten were unique emerging best-practices. This study breaks new ground because a pragmatic soft systems business process analysis methodology is applied. Previous studies have applied quantitative economic analysis or qualitative case studies to identify the factors that are associated with high performing non-profits or effective performance of charitable organisations. Both of these categories of methods overlook internal business performance processes so the current study closes this gap by investigating the underlying factors that make non-profits effective in USA. The soft systems methodology applied in this study produces a visual model which facilitates the communication of best practices to stakeholders without requiring them to possess knowledge of statistics or industry benchmarks.