Analysis

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Following the request for TA, the TA provider needs to analyze the beneficiary organization. Analysis is used to determine underlying issues that are behind the request, to ensure that the TA provided is properly aligned with the needs of the beneficiary organization. When entering into a long-term TA engagement, the analysis phase is used to determine all needs that exist across the organization as well as the goals of the TA engagement. The analysis phase is also an opportunity to build trust with an organization so that they can honestly discuss their challenges with you. During this chapter you will be exposed to the various elements of the analysis phase as well as strategies to assist you with conducting an organizational assessment.

Most often analysis will be done through an organizational assessment.

An organizational assessment will identify the greatest TA needs of the organization. The assessment should be done collaboratively with the organization, and results should be shared and compared to the original request for support. If the results point to board development as the primary need, but the organization originally requested support in fundraising, work together to determine what the TA engagement will actually focus on. Key information that you are collecting through an organizational assessment includes:

  • Organizational profile. Includes name, contact information, budget, and number of staff and volunteers.
  • Mission and programs. Includes the mission statement, current program activities, and needs of the community.
  • Financial management. Includes accounting procedures, accounting software, financial reporting, and audits.
  • Fundraising. Includes grant writing, diversity in income sources, revenue generating events, earned income, individual donors, and in-kind donations.
  • Legal. Includes awareness of legal requirements, tax-exempt status, and legal counsel.
  • Human Resources. Includes staffing plan, personnel policies and procedures, staff and volunteer management, and systems for evaluating staff performance.
  • Leadership. Includes motivating staff and volunteers, internal promotions.
  • Governance. Includes board orientation, board responsibilities, board meetings and minutes, and culture of the board.
  • Evaluation. Includes program outcomes, data collection processes, and communication of results.
  • Planning. Includes strategic plan, operational plan, business plan, action plans, and organizational goals.
  • Collaboration. Includes establishing and managing partnerships, mergers, referrals, and shared services.
  • Outreach and marketing. Includes public relations, marketing materials, branding, and media outreach.
Click to open interactivity The Organizational Capacity Assessment tool can help you determine an organization’s greatest TA needs.

The Organizational Capacity Assessment tool can help you determine an organization’s greatest TA needs.

Download this helpful Organizational Capacity Assessment guide to help you determine an organization’s greatest TA needs.

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Each TA provider has its own assessment methods.

Listed below are several strategies for assessing an organization. Using the strategies below in a collaborative effort with the beneficiary organization will yield the most accurate results, collect both quantitative and qualitative data, identify strengths of an organization in addition to organizational gaps, and build trust and accountability between the TA provider and beneficiary organization.

Organizational Capacity Assessment. An assessment of the organization’s capacity is the most basic element of an organizational assessment. This is often completed as a self-assessment by one or more person(s) within the beneficiary organization, including the executive director, program director, development director, and board chair. This tool will help the TA provider identify baseline performance of the beneficiary organization and provide initial data needed to measure progress through the TA engagement. There are several self-assessments that exist and are ready for use, or you can create your own based on the TA services you are able to provide. See the interactivity above for a sample self-assessment.

Document Review. The TA provider can ask the beneficiary organization to make a host of documents available for review, allowing the TA provider to do their own capacity review and learn about the systems and processes in place within the beneficiary organization.

Site Visit. By visiting the site, the TA provider can see the administrative offices of the beneficiary organization, the program(s) and clients of the organization, and meet with key staff members of the organization. This is a great opportunity to have some informal conversations about the daily operations of the organization and make observations about organizational capacity.

Assessment Interview. If the beneficiary organization lacks organizational awareness, the assessment can be skewed. Capacity builders often refer to this as “you don’t know what you don’t know.” To address organizational awareness issues, the TA provider can conduct a structured assessment interview to assist in determining the current level of organizational capacity.

Leadership Assessment. Because the success of the TA engagement is so dependent on the ability, skills, and attitude of the organization’s leadership, a TA provider should understand how to best support and coach the applicable individuals. This can be done through a formal assessment, a quick checklist of questions, or informal assessment.

The provision of TA is about meeting an organization “where it is.” With this, the TA provider must create an assessment process that accounts for factors such as the organization’s size, culture, and leadership. If you are working with an emerging organization that has little in place to assess, start by asking some critical defining questions about who they are, what they want to do, and what they want to become.

If the TA engagement will continue for a long period of time, address several issues, or demand intensive amounts of time from organizational leadership or the TA provider, it is important to end the analysis phase and launch the next phase with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and/or a work plan identifying each TA action, method of delivery, and person responsible. There is more information about MOUs and work plans in the next chapter on implementation.

Click to open interactivity Document Review

Document Review

Download this sample list of documents that you can use as a tool when conducting an organizational assessment.

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