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Assess Your Organizations Capacity

By Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development


Nonprofits should have a well-documented track record in developing programs that have a meaningful impact upon
the community and the clients served; the ability to exercise good stewardship over financial and human resources;
the ability to manage relationships among various community constituencies; and the ability to respond to change.
Those organizations that make the investment in building organizational capacity are more likely to be in a position to
sustain themselves over the long term. How would you assess your organizations capacity?


Please respond to the questions on the following pages by checking off boxes corresponding to 1, 2, "3", "4" or
5. A score of "1" indicates a strong disagreement with a given statement, while a "5" indicates a strong agreement
with a statement. Add the individual scores for each question within each category to get the subtotal for each
category. Divide by 5 to get the average score for that particular category. To get the overall (composite) score, add
the subtotal scores for each category to get the grand total, and then divide by 35. The highest subtotal points an
organization can get for each category is 25. The highest number of points an organization can get overall is 175.
The highest average is 5, regardless of whether the score is for the category, or the overall assessment. The closer
the average is to 5, the greater the organizations capacity in a given area. An average close to 1 could be an
indicator that improvement is necessary, or, that information regarding organizational capacity is not being
communicated at all levels of the organization.

It should be noted that this assessment is not scientific and is a subjective observation based upon the respondents
perspective. A number of factors could impact that perspective, including level of experience, access to
organizational information, and the respondents exposure to concepts concerning organizational development,
etcetera. It is recommended that a broad cross section of board, management and staff respond to the questions to
get a more accurate assessment. A high score does not necessarily guarantee success in achieving long term
sustainability. The scores could be used as an indicator of whether or not certain systems are in place, and not
necessarily as a measure of efficiency of those systems. The scores may also be used to begin to identify areas
where more intensive organizational assessment and capacity building could benefit the organization.

Any questions regarding this assessment may be directed to Valerie F. Leonard, Community Development
Consultant at 773-571-3886 or consulting@valeriefleonard.com.

Copyright 2017, Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development. All rights reserved
Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool

Indicator Rating
1 2 3 4 5 (1-5)
Board Governance
1. The Board of Directors is actively involved in setting strategic direction
(including strategic planning), developing organizational policies,
fundraising, financial management and program oversight.
2. The organizations by-laws are updated as necessary, and are supported by
a system of board and management policies and procedures. The by-laws
are enforced by the board of directors.
3. The organization maintains key organizational documents in a binder,
including articles of incorporation, certificates of good standing, board
minutes, by-laws, and board policies/procedures.
4. The organization is up to date with all its regulatory filings, including its IRS
letter of determination (501 (c ) (3)), Statement of Change of Registered
Agent and/or Registered Office, exemption from sales taxes, payroll tax
withholding, Federal Form 990, State form AG-990-IL, Secretary of State
Annual Report and registrations with the Attorney Generals Office.
5. The Board of Directors has minimized risks to the organization by providing
directors and officers insurance, general liability insurance and self-
insurance where necessary.
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

Financial Management
1. The organization maintains an automated accounting system that tracks
revenues and expenditures by grant sources.
2. There is a current financial policies and procedures manual that has been
adopted by the Board of Directors and conforms to generally accepted
accounting principles (GAAP).
3. The organization generates statements of revenues and expenses (income
statement), statements of financial position (balance sheet), cash flow
statements and bank reconciliations on a monthly basis.
4. The organization generates audited financial statements annually.
5. The organization can readily generate financial reports that report budgeted
revenues and expenses to actual revenues and expenses over 3 or more
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

1. The organization has demonstrated its ability and willingness to raise funds
from a number of sources, including foundations, individuals, and
2. There are systems in place to track donors, grants and contracts, including
gift amounts, and progress towards goals/objectives.
3. The organization is in compliance with the terms and conditions of all of all
grants, contracts and charitable gifts.
4. Members of the Board of Directors are actively engaged in fundraising
activities and make donations to the organization.
5. There is a long range fundraising plan in place, and it is consistent with the
organizational budget, staffing plans, programs, strategic plans and cash
flow projections.
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

Copyright 2017, Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development. All rights reserved
Organizational Capacity Assessment, Cont.

Indicator Rating
1 2 3 4 5 (1-5)
Human Resources
1. The staff has the education, certifications, licenses, knowledge and skills to
perform the tasks for which they were hired.
2. The staff is well-versed in the issues and latest developments that impact
their ability to develop programs to serve the needs of the organizations
3. The organization is appropriately staffed to carry out its mission, goals and
4. There are human resources policies in place that conform to the current
federal and state employment laws and regulations.
5. There are policies in place to prevent discrimination, minimize risk and to
promote a safe working environment.
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

1. The organization regularly engages in community assessment and uses the
results to identify key issues
2. The organization is clear on the problems it wants to address; the root causes
and has identified solutions and specific targets for interventions
3. The organization has identified the tools, processes and services to address
the needs of the clients and community.
4. The organization has a system in place for tracking data to quantify the
manner in which the interventions in which it engages are making a
difference for the clients and communities it serves.
5. The organization has a clearly-defined theory of change and program logic
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

Program Management
1. The programs are grounded in the organization's theory of change and are
consistent with the strategic plan set by the board of directors.
2. There are systems in place to track program progress towards financial and
programmatic goals and objectives.
3. The programs are evaluated by management and board on a regular basis.
4. The findings of programmatic evaluations are used to improve programs on
a regular basis.
5. There are program and operational policies and procedures in place to
ensure high quality of service delivery, mitigation of risk and maintain
institutional knowledge. The organization regularly engages in performance
management and benchmarking activities.
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

Copyright 2017, Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development. All rights reserved
Organizational Capacity Assessment, Cont.

Indicator Rating Score

1 2 3 4 5
1. Board and staff maintain healthy relationships with the organizations clients
and the community.
2. The organization maintains open communication with key community
leaders, elected officials, funders, board members and staff.
3. The organization works in partnership with several organizations to develop
programs, to advocate on behalf of the community or to achieve other
mutually beneficial goals. These relationships have translated into increased
funding, enhanced service delivery and greater community impact.
4. The organization has no difficulty getting letters of support from members of
the community, its clients, other organizations, local community members or
elected officials.
5. Attendees of the organizational special events include people from a wide
spectrum, including clients, board members, members of the philanthropic
community, local community members and elected officials.
Average (Subtotal Divided by 5)

Grand Total
Composite Score (or Average) (Grand Total Divided by 35)

Organization Name: ________________________________________

Contact Person: ___________________________________________
Phone: ________________________ Email: __________________

Copyright 2017, Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development. All rights reserved