Organizational Assessment to Help Your Nonprofit Thrive

Organizational Assessment to Help Your Nonprofit Thrive

Organizational Health

Any visit to the gym around the New Year shows how many of us take stock of our physical health and fitness this time of year. Nonprofits are no different. Our attention to organizational health and wellness can shift throughout the year as we focus on vital mission delivery. From time to time it can be helpful to take a step back, however, and assess your nonprofit’s health and performance. Does this sound like you?

  • Your nonprofit faces new challenges that you’re not sure how to address.
  • You don’t know how to develop your strategic priorities.
  • You’re not sure how to measure your impact.

Susie PolnaszekAn organizational assessment can be a good place to start to get in shape. – Susie Polnaszek
Director, Center for Nonprofit Excellence


An organizational assessment (OA) is a comprehensive review to identify areas where nonprofits excel, where they could improve and which opportunities to leverage. This can be especially handy for developing strategic priorities. There are many other possible benefits to conducting an organizational assessment, including:

  • Stronger community impact
  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness
  • Enhanced fundraising
  • Accelerating race equity
  • Increased staff morale

Tips and Resources

If you’re thinking about conducting an organizational assessment, here are a few tips and resources to help take your nonprofit to the next level:

Set clear goals for the assessment.

What do you hope to learn?

Find a guide with expertise.

Identify a consultant or volunteer (such as graduate students at local universities) with expertise in conducting an OA. They will select the right assessment tool and methods based on the purpose of the OA and your organization’s needs.

Graduate Student projects at Middlebury Institute
Stanford Alumni Consulting Team

Get buy-in from your staff and board.

Everyone should be involved in the assessment process.

Be open to change.

The assessment may reveal some areas where you need to make changes. Be prepared to embrace change and make the necessary improvements.

An OA can be a valuable tool for any nonprofit. By taking the time to assess your organization, you can identify areas where you can improve and ensure that you’re making the most of your resources.

Additional Resources

CNE’s Financial Focus Check-up Tool

Board Transformation Toolkits

Organizational Self-Assessment Tool for Grassroots Organizations

Building Blocks for Change Race Equity Assessment

Special thanks to Mahabat Baimyrzaeva, Ph.D, who contributed to this post.