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Free Online Organizational Self-Assessment

Measuring Performance on the Five Elements Standards

For each standard in the assessment, choose which of four performance levels most accurately describes your organization. The 58 standards fall into these Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit:
  • Governance & Boards
  • Fundraising & Financial Management
  • Communications & Relationships
  • Planning, Technology, & Administration
  • Management & Culture
The Self-Assessment allows you to check how you are managing risk, deploying your staff and volunteer resources,  and putting your passion into action. Whatever your assets as an organization, the organization can become more powerful if you have the basics of nonprofit management firmly in place.

Using the Self-Assessment

While one person can complete the online self-assessment for the organization, we recommend that a group of people with detailed knowledge of the organization's operations complete it. Your results will be more useful and accurate if at least four people familiar with the organization participate. Although the executive director or CEO may have a good sense of the organization's performance on many of these standards, it is worthwhile to get the perspectives of other well-informed team members.

If your organization does not have paid staff, the self-assessment can be completed by board members or highly involved volunteers. For organizations with paid staff, board members will generally not know the organization's performance on most standards. So it is best to involve the board after the assessment has been completed.
If you are going to complete the Self-Assessment without engaging others, you can proceed to the directions and Self-Assessment. If you want to use the Pathways consultation, contact Jan Burrell.
If you are going to engage a team within your organization, follow these directions:
  1. Each person downloads a print copy of the Self-Assessment and the instructions for participants
  2. Set a three-hour meeting. You may not use all of the time, but you'll want to be able to complete the process in one session. Designate a timekeeper, a facilitator, and someone to keep track of the final scores and put them into the online Self-Assessment.
  3. In advance of the group meeting, each person scores their responses on a paper copy, providing honest answers for the areas they know about (If you do not know enough to answer in an area, mark NA.).
  4. In the assessment meeting, quickly write up your scores on a white board or flip chart. Discuss any significant differences among the scores and decide on the final score you will enter into the online Self-Assessment. The discussion you have is valuable as it will help you understand different perspectives within your organization and increase the accuracy of your scores.
  5. Enter the agreed upon responses into the online Self-Assessment. You will receive a report showing your scores for each standard, element, and overall. The results will also be displayed on a bar chart that gives you a quick look at your organization's performance. Knowing where you stand points the way toward making your organization more effective and resilient. You will receive an e-mail that links to top-level recommendations and resources to help you take action to improve your scores.

Follow this roadmap, focusing on at least three areas you want to improve, and your scores will improve the next time you take the self-assessment. We recommend that you use this tool at least every two years, so that you can be sure you are maintaining your areas of strength and improving your practices in areas where you had lower scores.

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