Quite often, it is necessary for us to look at how our programs and services function (and if we don’t, our funders will). But are you really digging deep, looking at every angle, to evaluate how your organization really functions?
An organizational assessment can help you learn more about your what’s going on in your organization. For once you know the strengths and challenges of your organization, you can understand how to help it to grow and thrive.
You might ask, what is an organizational assessment?
An organizational assessment, either paper or electronic, surveys key individuals affiliated with the organization to gather information about organizational function, structure, and environment. Nonprofit Best Practices indicate organizations can benefit from an organizational assessment about once every other year.
Ideally, nonprofits will want to have a sampling of key staff and key volunteers complete the assessment; and to ensure staff are comfortable responding as honestly as possible, all responses should be confidential. Organizations with just a few staff should invite the entire staff to complete the assessment. Otherwise, a balance of direct service providers and well as key management staff should participate. In addition, the entire board of directors should provide their perspective by completing the assessment.
Once the assessment has been completed, the real work begins. The data provided by the completed assessments should be compiled by an objective individual to reveal a snapshot of the organization. It is important to remember the assessment is simply a reflection of the organization at a specific point in time.
After the data has been complied, members of the leadership team and the board of directors will need to prioritize an action plan to move the organization forward. Most organizations find it extremely helpful to work with an outside consultant/mentor work to develop an action plan and make changes. An outside individual can offer the organization an objective perspective without passing judgment or placing blame on any individual about the current situation.
For an organizational assessment to be effective, key organizational staff (CEO) and board members must commit to accepting the findings of the assessment and then working to make changes for a stronger, more effective organization.
The results of the assessment can be overwhelming; but they do not have to be. Instead of looking at all the work ahead, it is better to prioritize the work to be done. Set small goals-focus on just a few areas where improvements are needed. Then, when those areas are “better,” move onto other areas.
When the entire organization makes a commitment to being the best it can be, and when everyone works together to get there, organizational change can happen through simple steps. BUT, a commitment to excellence must be made.
Could your organization benefit from an organizational assessment? Contact us today to discuss your needs with us.