There are many reasons to conduct an organizational assessment. Here are five we like to advocate.
When you are putting together a strategic plan
Conducting an overall organizational assessment is a part of strategic planning. Reviewing internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external threats and opportunities is necessary before taking a good look at mission and vision and goals for the future. Interview funders, customers, staff, board, and community members to understand if the organization is meeting its mission and if it is having an overall impact. Organizations need to look a beyond numbers served.
When an organization is stagnating and there is demand for services that is not being met
I recently conducted an assessment for an organization that had demand for its services, but it was not growing. The board wanted to know why the organization was not growing. In this particular case the staff was over reliant on foundation funding and it needed to diversify its service model as well as its earned and developed income streams. In order to serve more people, they needed to be able to charge the cost of services or raise funds from individual donors to subsidize the services.
When evaluation scores are headed in the wrong direction
More and more, funders want to know about impacts. It is not just about numbers served. Either way, if numbers are going in the wrong direction you need to know why. Program and service assessments can help determine what the drivers of satisfaction are as well as what affects impact. I start first with qualitative interviews in order to ensure that any quantitative instrument has been created measuring the right attributes.
When staff morale is low
If staff morale is low, it shows. It can affect productivity as well as client satisfaction. What is going on with leadership, resources, internal operations? Why is staff morale low? Internal turmoil is never good, nor is working in silos when departments are not communicating or cooperating. Bringing in someone from the outside to determine what is going on and how to fix it is often the best option to get things back on track.
When you are considering new markets
You may want to serve new markets, but are you equipped and posed to take on these new markets or will they distract you from who you originally set out to serve? Would the new markets be a natural expansion as a part of further your mission? What are the opportunities? How many could be served? What resources will it take to add the new markets and over what period of time?
These are just five reasons to consider an organizational assessment. There are many more.
A periodic assessment, is however, good practice for any reason.