Peter F. Drucker Nonprofit Innovation Award

The $100,000 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation is given each fall to a nonprofit organization that best demonstrates Druckerʼs definition of innovation: “change that creates a new dimension of performance.” It was launched in 1991 by Peter Drucker himself, and is generously supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Purpose of the Drucker Award
“In the years ahead, America’s nonprofits will become even more important,” Drucker said. “As government retrenches, Americans will look increasingly to the nonprofits to tackle the problems of a fast-changing society. These challenges will demand innovation—in services, and in nonprofit management. The purpose of the annual Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation is to find the innovators, whether small or large; to recognize and celebrate their example; and to inspire others.”

Over time, meanwhile, the application process has become a powerful tool in and of itself. By applying for the award, you will receive knowledge and tools to become a more Drucker-like organization in terms of innovation and beyond.

By applying for the Drucker Nonprofit Award, you can help your organization become more Drucker-like, so that it will:

  • Regularly grapple with the “five most important questions”: What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan?
  • Craft a mission that captures your organization’s opportunities, competence and commitment, all while fitting on a T-shirt.
  • Are perfectly clear about who is your “primary customer” (as opposed to your “supporting customers”) and keep ruthlessly focused on serving the needs of that primary customer.
  • Appeal to donors not only through the heart, but also through the head, by constantly measuring your results and reporting them faithfully.
  • Recognize that results are always measured outside the organization in changed lives and changed conditions—that is, in outcomes, not in outputs.
  • Drive toward a set of well-articulated overarching goals—no more than five in number—that make it “absolutely clear where you will concentrate resources for results.”
  • Boast a board that is committed and active, and that annually reviews the CEO or executive director’s performance, as well as its own performance against preset performance objectives.
  • Challenge your volunteers so that they feel truly fulfilled, mindful that they “have to get more satisfaction from their work than paid employees, precisely because they don’t get a paycheck.”
  • Continually innovate, abandon things and change the organization not when you’re in trouble but when you are successful, recognizing that “if you don’t improve it, you go downhill pretty fast.”
  • Fight the tendency to become so inward looking and committed to your cause that you begin to “see the institution as an end in itself.”

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