Nonprofit organizations are publicly funded entities that are required to show a level of accountability. They are required to show some form of report card that indicates how much money they receive and how they spend these monies. Accountability is not just about financial reports or accounting. Accountability implies effective coordination in service provision in a way that shows an acceptable level of performance. As a result, service coordination is connected to the financial management of a nonprofit organization. Administrators should ensure not only that they allocate financial resources properly, but that they also assign tasks in a manner that facilitates efficient service coordination. Ineffective task assignment is a waste of the human resources of an organization.

Consequently, a waste of human resources is a waste of financial resources, and can affect both service coordination and cost-effectiveness of services. Similarly, the adequate training of staff is important for efficient and effective service coordination. Incompetent and ill-prepared staff are costly for coordination of services. This can cost an organization its reputation and its key donors.


Service delivery incurs a cost. The client may not pay the cost, but the donors to a nonprofit organization pay on behalf of the client. The donors want to know what type of return on investment is documented for their donations. The donors do not seek a return on investment for themselves as in a for-profit business. They simply want to know that service performance is measured with appropriate indicators so that they know how many clients benefit from their donations or how their contributions have changed some clients' lives. Assessment of performance of service delivery in relation to its cost-effectiveness makes it necessary to collect data on unit service counts, number of beneficiaries, money spent per unit of service, the time spent on service coordination and delivery, wages and salaries of staff involved in service delivery, and the amount spent on risk/liability prevention. These data are informative regarding the areas or the types of services and clients for which financial resources are being used. If there is a discrepancy, it is easy to find out, and take corrective actions. If the cost of unit of service is too high, an organization may not be able to support a loss of funding, because clients will have been accustomed to a level of service that the organization will no longer be able to afford. If the cost of unit service is too high, an organization may not be able to save for contingencies and will be vulnerable to dissolution if funding is lost. If the cost of a unit of service is too high, there is a risk of losing community support or receiving pressure to cut services at the expense of quality. Some organizations provide services that are deemed standard rather than special. When designing delivery systems, organizations use developments in information technology (IT) to rethink approaches while others choose different ways to deliver the services they offer. It is fair to underline that IT developments have not only reduced costs and lead times within systems and procedures but have also enabled organizations to redesign many of these delivery systems. The Internet offered the capability to personalize the service to the client. Since its early days, online booking has grown rapidly. When designing the delivery system, organizations need to decide the extent to which customers will or will not participate in the creation of the service. Nonprofit organizations must recognize the key differences that exist among services, and incorporate these differences into delivery system design by taking into account factors such as volume, variety, type of client, of service provision, availability and access to support for utilization of services, and the overall proactiveness of the service delivery system design.


Service delivery is closely linked to the financial sustainability of a nonprofit organization both as input and output. As input, service delivery must be of good quality in order to secure the support of clients, donors, and the public at large. As an output, service delivery must be cost-effective to provide services to the maximum number of clients possible and have a high rate of return on investment. Quality service contributes to organizational sustainability. Cost-effective services contribute to financial sustainability. Quality and cost-effective services contribute to financial sustainability in the forms of savings, donor and community support in fund-raising, profitability, solvency, income generation, liquidity, solvency, and efficiency.

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