Home > Uncategorized > Embracing the Power and Practical Benefits of an Organizational Assessment

Embracing the Power and Practical Benefits of an Organizational Assessment

“The future ain’t what it used to be!”

– Yogi Berra

In the nonprofit world, we are often so busy doing our important work that we never stop to see where we are and how we are doing.  We may have been able to get away with this when the economy was booming, but things are different today and taking an objective look at where you are in the life cycle has real, practical benefits to the health and sustainability of your organization.  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.  For the healthy organization it can function as a tune-up, building on prior progress and identifying additional areas for meeting future challenges. It is often a first step in a strategy planning process or in the planning for an executive transition. And for nonprofits in the midst of challenges or crises, it can set the stage to turning the organization around.  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.  Some important keys to the effectiveness of an OA include:

  1. Commitment and buy-in from the organization’s leadership
  2. Clear expectations regarding the sharing and use of the findings
  3. Confidentiality and ownership of findings
  4. Utilization of a  well-tested assessment framework
  5. Gathering of accurate and complete information

In this today’s E-News we profile Support Center client Reach Prep—to demonstrate how an organizational assessment helped them not only see “what had to be done” but also to “build total consensus” among the organizations leaders and other stakeholders

What We Do—An Organizational Assessment 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 our Julia Lu, Director of Consulting: jlu@supportcenteronline.org or 917-522-8308.

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