Weighted Decision Matrixes for Nonprofits


Making decisions is hard. Using numbers to make a decision is better. If you haven’t tried a weighted decision matrix with your organization yet, do it! They allow you to judge multiple opportunities against your values and goals, resulting in numerical scores. Then, you pick the top score and get going. 

How did I get into weighted matrixes? I worked with a person that wanted everything converted into a number that showed the right path. Frankly, it drove me nuts. How could I convert a set of data into a single total for our “go / no go” meetings? But, as I learned, there is a simple way you can turn gut feel into defendable numbers. 

Here’s how it works… First, create a spreadsheet with your opportunities going across the top. Then make a column listing your essential decision drivers (ex. generates revenue, aligns with the mission, etc.). Next, Assign each decision driver a numerical value representing importance. Now, assign scores to the opportunity’s decision drivers. Last, add up your scores, and the highest score “wins.” If you aren’t a spreadsheet wizard or just busy, contact us, and we’ll send you our free template. 

We recently used a weighted decision matrix to help Global Links figure out which new programs to launch this year. Their Executive Director, Angela Garcia, told us, 

The decision matrix helped sort through a few great opportunities for Global Links. We needed to focus our limited resources on the new programs that would best serve our mission. This method lifted the fog of multiple opportunities and led to a values-based decision our board, staff, and other stakeholders can support.

Have fun geeking it up with weighted decision matrixes; you’ll never make a pros/cons list again!

Comments (1)

What a simple, elegant way to visualize factors that often can feel abstract or arbitrary. I can see this approach working for personal/individual decisions, too (even if only for gut-check purposes.) Thanks for sharing!

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