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Free Online Self-Assessment

Measuring Performance on the Five Elements Standards

For each standard 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.

Two ways to benefit

We recommend that a group of people complete the Self-Assessment and discuss the responses.  You will get the most benefit from this approach.

Good: One person takes the online assessment

If you are going to complete the Self-Assessment without engaging others, you can proceed to the directions and Self-Assessment.

Better: A team of people in the organization works together to complete the self-assessment

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 many of these measures, it is worthwhile to get the perspectives of other well-informed stakeholders.
Organizations with no staff or a small staff should also consider including board members or highly involved volunteers. (Note: it is expected that board members and volunteers will not know the answers to many questions but their perspectives on the things they do know can be helpful.)
  1. Each person downloads a print copy of the Self-Assessment and the instructions for participants using the link below
  2. Set a three-hour meeting. You may not use all of the time but your 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.

After your meeting, enter the agreed upon scores into the online Self-Assessment. You will receive a report showing your scores for each standard, element, and overall. This results will also be displayed on 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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