Diagnose Your Business Model

Earlier this year we developed the ‘10 Question Business Model Diagnostic‘ to provide NFPs with insight and goals.

We’ve found that NFP orgs typically fit into 4 typologies: Walking Dead, Living on the Edge, Comfortable and Heroes.


Walking Dead

These organisations are low on both vitality and funds. It’s possible that poor financial or commercial management led them to this point, and probable that strangling or ineffective governance keeps them there. There is often no doubting the intent of the people working there, however their model is fatally flawed. These organisations don’t have long to live.

Living on the Edge

High on energy, low on cash – this is the poster start-up style organisation. They may be led by a charismatic dreamer, who is better at rallying the troops and selling a vision than making the model work day-to-day. A low viability score doesn’t necessarily mean no money at all – in fact they can be well funded in the short-term. However, the question of whether the model can be managed towards sustainability remains unresolved.


Often sitting on substantial assets or endowments, these organisations seem to be more focused on yesterday than tomorrow and are characterised by boards of tenure or honorary membership who run things as they always have been run. Some critics say that these organisations are chewing up market share, inefficiently consuming funds that could be used more effectively by other organisations to multiply the social benefit.


These organisations not only have their model and culture right, they have a proven and regular capability to assess the proximate and remote future and execute adjustments to their model and culture to continue pursuing their mission.You probably already have an idea on which type matches your own.

To see which you fit into (and for advice on how to get to that Heroes status) try the tool out for yourself.