Capacity Building Tool #1:
Assessment and Benchmarking
In capacity building
initiatives, good assessment provides the basis for action planning and
implementation that achieves results and builds organizations’ strengths.
Assessment helps organizations move beyond old thinking, enables them to ask
the hard questions and go deeper than they may typically be inclined to do.
It helps them build consensus about the organization’s current status and
aspirations. Good assessment also helps organizations avoid taking a
piecemeal approach to complex and interrelated capacity building issues.
This tool is designed
to provide nonprofits with an instrument that will guide the assessment of
their internal capacity. The tool borrows from the good practices of other
nation-wide capacity building efforts1 and tools and input from
funders, nonprofit leaders and others experts. The tool assesses capacity
levels in six interrelated areas as defined by the capacity building model2.
These areas are:
and Strategy--the driving
forces that give the organization its purpose and direction.
and Impact--the primary reasons for the organization’s existence.
Relationships, Resource Development, and Internal Management and
mechanisms to achieve the organization’s ends.
that keeps all the parts aligned and moving.
In addition, the tool
is designed to:
balance between comprehensiveness and realistic length.
The tool could include many more questions/cells but, in order to keep
the length “reasonable” items were limited to the most important
issues. Additional assessment tools are available for specific issues
and can be used to delve further into selected areas if determined
Enable the users
to both assess their nonprofit’s current and desired status.
The tool lists four levels of capacity for each capacity area. This
enables users to identify the current status of their nonprofit’s
capacity as well as form a concrete picture of what other levels of
capacity look like. This is especially helpful in setting goals as it
eliminates much of the guesswork regarding what achieving the next level
of capacity requires.
A final note: Users
will note that descriptions of capacity levels often contain more than one
concept. This is intentional as level of capacity is often defined by a set
of interrelated concepts. Additional guidance on use of the Assessment will
be found on page 1 of the
Capacity Building Tool #1: Assessment and
1 The McKinsey Capacity Assessment Grid, developed for Venture Philanthropy
Partners, provides the format and some content upon which the Center for
Public Skills Training Assessment Tool is based.
Paul Connelly and Carol Lukas propose a capacity building model upon which
the GLA model is based; see Strengthening Nonprofit Performance: A Funder’s
Guide to Capacity Building, Amherst Wilder Foundation, 2002.