Assessment varies, depending on the purpose of evaluation.
For grants, there is no need to review By-Laws, Policies and Procedures, or financials prior to those requested by grantmakers (i.e., last two years, typically). We just scrutinize documents and aspects of operations that affect funding outcomes. While we cannot fix some problems of the past (such as not filing tax returns at all or on time), we may sometimes point out a “red flag” issue to a funder if there is a legitimate reason behind the shortcoming. Essentially, we do pro-active damage control when needed, but it is also important to put systems in place that resolve deficits going forward. Therefore, this assessment often influences our development strategy and arguments for support. If we know a funder will see things that may result in denial of your request, we can at least show them that you are not only aware of the challenge, but actively addressing it—sometimes going as far as to refer to this as a formal “capacity building project.” As such, we are turning a potential negative into something positive.
Conversely, we identify your greatest strengths, and, of course, deliberately highlight these in proposals. In fact, you may have significant merits that, until now, have been overlooked by your agency. And, these may be the reason you actually win grant awards.
A more intensive organizational assessment involves evaluation of all written materials, both internal and those seen by the public. The process may even include satisfaction surveys among all stakeholders, and group and/or individual interviews to determine issues of concern. We focus on processes, structures, and systems, and identify those that require modification or improvement, plus those that are needed but do not currently exist. This is important when we are poised to begin strategic planning and when working with Boards—who are often unaware of inefficiencies and other precise trouble spots within the organization.
While such a process can be anxiety-provoking for an organization, we are focusing on growth and targeted improvement. Your strengths as an organization impact on your present and future viability. So, our goal is to help your nonprofit function at its optimal best.
To gain a better understanding of the potential scope of a partial or full organizational assessment, please visit our Organizational and Program Development page. How in-depth an assessment needs to be depends on its intended purpose, and the process is fully customized to a client’s unique needs and interests.