Embracing the Power and Practical Benefits of an Organizational Assessment

Assessing the current environment you are working within, and understanding what’s working, what’s not, and what needs re-working is a key component to securing your organization’s future. A well-conducted Organizational Assessment (OA) can become your tool for powering ahead to an impact-full and energized “next stage” in the organization’s life.

In what ways does conducting an OA help?

  • Identifies Strengths and Weaknesses.For the healthy organization it can function as a tune-up, building on prior progress and identifying additional areas for meeting future challenges.
  • Guides Strategic Planning.It is often a first step in a strategy planning process or in the planning for an executive transition.
  • Helps Manage Organizational Change. For nonprofits in the midst of challenges or crises, it can set the stage to turning the organization around.
  • Supports Leaders Navigating Challenging Environments.Most importantly, it can help the organization’s leaders and other stakeholders to get behind the organization to support successful adaptation to an ever-changing environment. It also helps to “build total consensus” among the organizations leaders and other stakeholders.

What are some important requirements for planning a successful OA?

  • Management and Leadership Support. Commitment and buy-in from the organization’s leadership to undertake this process.
  • Clear Goals Around Use of Findings. Clear expectations regarding the sharing and use of the findings / results.
  • Confidentiality of Data. Confidentiality and ownership of findings.
  • Cutting Edge Data Gathering Tools.Utilization of an accurate, well-tested, and well regarded assessment framework.
  • Accurate Interpretation of Results.Gathering of complete and updated information to arrive at accurate results.

How do we conduct an OA?

An OA can be done as a stand-alone project and is often conducted at the start of any change consulting assignment. Support Center consultants, themselves veteran professionals of the nonprofit sector, typically spend three to four months assessing a client’s organizational capacity: interviewing stakeholders, reviewing documents, conducting focus groups, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses, and issuing a comprehensive report. We evaluate such markers as organizational governance and structure, program impact, fundraising procedures, and financial stability. The results help guide the organization’s next steps: formulating and implementing strategies for altering practices, dealing with executive or board transitions, refreshing office esprit de corps, or even expanding their missions. An OA can also assess opportunities for restructuring, including alliances, consolidations, and/or mergers.

There is almost no bad time to undertake an assessment. When done properly, in conjunction with organizational leaders and important stakeholders, it can open a new lens from which you can imagine and pursue a successful future for your organization. To talk about your organization’s needs or to learn more, call or email Carolyn Champ at [email protected] or (917) 522-8302.

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