For nonprofit organizations, being able to generate steady income and improve program offerings and outcomes is critical to success and ultimately, long-term sustainability. No matter what the overall economic conditions might be, the level of competition amongst nonprofits to find and obtain charitable gifts, or changes occurring within the organization, diligent fundraising efforts have to be undertaken by the board, staff, and volunteers of the nonprofit organization.
Given the pressure to raise money, there is a tendency for many organizations to begin fundraising activities prematurely. Basic organizational structures, understandings, processes, interpersonal dynamics, management styles, and key documents need to be in place first. Third Sector Enterprises, Inc. (Third Sector) has developed a tool that helps nonprofits evaluate and then set up/maintain a solid organizational foundation upon which success and long-term sustainability can be achieved.
This tool involves Third Sector (an independent third-party) conducting an organizational assessment that compares your nonprofit’s current level of competencies to that of proven best practice capacities. Capacity is defined as possessing either knowledge or resources that give you the ability to perform certain activities at a high level. Competency is the actual demonstration or performance of such knowledge and resources.
Depending upon your budget size and breadth of assessment desired, internal, and external audiences (identified by you) are asked to respond to a series of survey questions. The request for completing the survey is made electronically but depending upon the breadth of the assessment, requests for personal interviews can be conducted as well. The results are then analyzed, and specific written recommendations are made to your nonprofit about how to maintain/obtain those capacities and build further competencies.
Four Capacity Building Areas of Focus:
Adaptive: The ability to monitor, assess, respond to, and stimulate internal and external changes, including:
- An easily understood and compelling vision, mission, and values statements
- A written strategic plan that is referenced and updated on a regular basis
- Staff and volunteers who actively embrace their roles as “change agents”
Leadership: The ability of all organizational leaders (senior executives and board members) to work well together, inspire, prioritize, make informed decisions, provide direction, and innovate in a concerted effort to achieve the organizational mission, including:
- Board members who understand and embrace their roles and responsibilities
- An executive director who is an experienced manager and a respected leader
- A healthy team spirit among Board members and a sense of partnership with staff and volunteers
Management: The ability to ensure the effective and efficient deployment of organizational resources, both human and financial, including:
- A written resource development plan
- A written communication and promotions plan
- Written volunteer and personnel manuals, including specific job descriptions.
Technical: The ability to actually perform key operational functions and deliver programs and services, including:
- A system of sound financial practices and management tools (including a relationship database)
- Professional development training available for board, volunteers, and staff in key areas of program and services
- An understanding of what clients consider value and a method for recording and using such feedback for future planning
Organizational Assessment Criteria
- Annual Budget of up to $749,999
- Internal audience only and limited to a total of 20 invitees from four categories: CEO, Board, Staff, Volunteers
- Review of up to 8 key financial, governance, fundraising and program documents
- Report sharing results and customized recommendations
Investment and Time Commitment:
$5,000 (you pay $2,500, the Foundation matches it at $2,500) This is a hybrid service of in person and virtual meetings. (Time commitment varies. If your organization has a larger budget, please contact us about other tiered assessment options.)
Consulting Services Provided By: