Blog Single

27 Feb

Gap Management

Gap Management

Gap management is an important part of managing your community impact as a nonprofit organization. Gap management can include following your mission, community impact, financial impact, and meeting the needs of your community and who you serve. Let’s discuss some basics of gap management. 


How To Measure Your Gap

Measuring your gap takes significant research into a given social condition or need that needs to be filled. First the organization must uncover the total need of the community or individual. This is accomplished by anticipating all aspects of the gap including the total number of people involved. For example, there is a local commercial that plays where I live. This commercial promotes an organizations community impact by stating they have donated 150 laptops and wired 1,000 community centers. This effort sounds great but it lacks a gap measurement. How many laptops are needed versus how many laptops were provided? Has this company solved 10% of the need? 20% of the need? 1% of the need? This is important to know in order to fully understand the need. 

Collaboration is a best practice for measuring the gap(s). The more diverse and inclusive your collaboration, the easier it becomes to define and measure the gap, the problem, or need. This can not be accomplished by one person.

Depending on the role of the nonprofit, it’s not enough to measure your direct impact, but it’s important to measure the gap between the need and what you are able to provide. 

Measuring can be accomplished through surveys, interviews, government studies, university research, or polling results. In some cases, it is recommended to hire a public relations firm or a research firm that has expertise in measuring gaps. 

Funding The Gap


Every nonprofit organization has used a thermometer to measure a specific funding effort. You start at zero and your goal is to get to $50,000. A thermometer is a great illustration for donors to see how much is needed to meet or exceed the goal. If the nonprofit is savvy, the organization has selected individuals or companies to contribute large amounts or match other contributions prior to the event to ensure the goal is achieved. Funding the gap uses the same strategy. 

Show your donors and community the gap that must be funded and use a type of thermometer to measure how close you are to filling or eliminating that gap. Financial support is required to fill or eliminate most gaps. The gap could be the percentage of high school graduates to having resources for preventative health care for cancer patients. Once the need is accurately measured, financial requirements must be measured and presented. It is recommended to add 20% to any financial measurement to ensure all costs are covered. While it may take time to achieve financial support, costs can rise during the waiting period so plan ahead by adding a contingency amount.


Communicate The Gap

Once the gap is measured and there is a plan, both financial and operational, to fill or eliminate the gap, the organization should develop a communication plan across all channels to educate the community and the importance of filling or eliminating the gap. The organization should also share progress made throughout the journey of filling or eliminating the gap including testimonials by those who benefit from the efforts. This communication must be constant and consistent in order for the messaging to be effective and promote continued support for gap management. 

Gap management involves a critical and analytical look at a social condition. In some ways, gap management is similar to defining a problem including all real and perceived aspects of that problem. The more complete the organization conducts its gap management, the greater success will occur in filling or eliminating the gap. Gap management will increase your community impact and provide more precise results for the organization. 

Brad Lebowsky, MBA 


Connecting people, communities, and resources to grow exempt organizations.

Related Posts

Leave A Comment