At the beginning of the evaluation we just wanted to quantify our program’s impact. But in the end, Aurora gave us new language, new tools, and new learning about what makes us effective.

– Janet Ogden-Brackett, Vice-President of Lending


Propel Nonprofits invests capital and financial expertise in nonprofits through loans, training, practical guidance, and financial management resources.

Aurora conducted an impact evaluation of Propel Nonprofits’ bundled lending and services model. Propel Nonprofits already understood the financial impact of their lending and wanted to better understand the impact of their “soft skills” in providing service. Using a grounded survey method, we uncovered and described three elements of Propel Nonprofits’ model: supportive service, essential product, and true partnership – the two former contributing to the latter. This work was presented at the 2016 Finance and Sustainability Conference (hosted by Propel Nonprofits and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits). Aurora continues to provide evaluation services to Propel Nonprofits.

From the Client

From their blog: “In the evaluation process, we discovered that nonprofits using a combination of our services reported that their organization, its financial strength, and the confidence of its leaders were truly transformed.  What emerged was a new framework for describing our mission success as a combination of an essential product, coupled with supportive service, which culminated in true partnership with our clients.  The takeaway for nonprofit leaders is that deep evaluation of this kind moves beyond balancing, reconciling, and tying together output data.  Well-crafted evaluation evokes candid feedback from clients, gives us insight into the ways we are meeting their needs, and inspires us to even better service. It creates value for staff as they learn what makes their service delivery truly effective.  Having a new vocabulary for our impact gives us innovative options for describing ourselves to our clients, funders, and the public.” – Curtis Klotz, CPA, Finance Director, Propel Nonprofits

“The Value of Evaluation – What We Learned About Our Work” »

See the evaluation report »