Organizational Capacity Assessment WHAT?!


I know what you're thinking... Ain't nobody got time for that! Running, managing, and working in a community-based non-profit is often overwhelming, exhausting and intense...there are so many different dimensions to this work and it can be challenging to figure out exactly where to focus your energy and time. This is especially true when it comes to organizational capacity building...we all know we need to do it, but the day to day demands of project work, which are almost always both important and urgent, often take precedence over the longer-term internal organizational development that can really pay off in the long run. As we put our heads together in designing this Community of Practice and the various services it offers, we recognized the need for some kind of RAPID self-assessment tool that members could utilize for multiple purposes: to reflect on their organization's capacity in a number of different dimensions and identify areas of strength and growth, to help guide requests for support (mentorship, mini-grants, etc.) from the network, and also to provide some feedback to us on areas that we might develop content around. For example, if half of the mentorship applicants are struggling with internal, day to day operations in their organizations, then we (Wallace Center) should develop some training and support around that topic. That's what this "Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool" is all about. You'll see that it is a required document for applications for the Mentorship program and the Mini-Grants, but we encourage everyone to download it and use it! I think it could be used effectively as a diagnostic tool for your teams. You could ask staff members to fill it out on their own, come together to discuss how folks rated the organization in the different dimensions, and identify priority areas to work on. This could feed into a strategic planning process, help inform grant applications and board member recruitment, etc. We basically distilled down several organizational capacity assessment tools down to 20 pretty straightforward questions. Lots of inspiration for this came from the Marguerite Casey Foundation Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (https://caseygrants.org/resources/org-capacity-assessment/ )...if you're looking for something more comprehensive, that's a great tool. We wanted to make it easier to digest and utilize. Big Shout-Out here to Andrew Carberry, who put a lot of time and thought into developing this tool for us! So what do you think? Take a look and let us know how you might use or adapt the tool in your teams and organizations! Susan

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