The matrix map was published in the second edition of Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations, under the name “The CompassPoint Dual Bottom Line Matrix.” It is with the permission of the authors of two recent books that this article is reprinted: Nonprofit Sustainability, published by Jossey-Bass in 2010, by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman; and The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Decisions, also published by Jossey-Bass, in 2014, by Steve Zimmerman and Jeanne Bell.
It's easy to embrace the concept of the dual bottom line but harder to apply it in a real-world board setting. For example, board members—and many staff—are seldom familiar with all of the programs and activities of the organization. Although there may be a strong sense that “all our programs are great,” there may not have been any discussion about which programs are, in fact, those with the greatest or most important impacts. Even people with financial expertise may feel uncertain about how to make decisions that are more nuanced than “stick to the budget and at least break even.”
Board meetings unintentionally support this kind of fragmentation. They take each subject on its own: first the financial report, then the program report, and then the fundraising report. The matrix map aims to change that.
The matrix map is a visual tool that plots all of the organization's activities—not just its programs—into a single, compelling ...