The assessment process is a change intervention and helps
determine readiness and openness to learning
Any Genesee County nonprofit organization is eligible for BEST assessment services. BEST offers a variety of tools that assess various aspects of the organization including governance, technology and marketing and communications. In order to apply for a Technical Assistance Grant or Capacity Building Award, your organization must have recent and relevant assessment data. The purpose of the assessment process is to collect data about the whole organization or the identified issue area and to understand the challenges or barriers to achieving maximum impact for the organization.
Assessment is integral to the capacity building process—it separates facts from assumptions and provides a framework for all stakeholders (staff, board, volunteers) to have a common language around the issue area. An assessment process requires transparency and openness to change and learning. An assessment is itself a change intervention and has been an effective strategy for determining organizational readiness for more substantial capacity building undertakings. Often agencies indicate that the assessment process surfaced little new information but it did help to get board and staff leaders on the same page and, in some cases, place greater emphasis on one priority or another.
Assessments come in all shapes and sizes. An in-depth, organizational assessment can take up to six months to complete and requires greater resources (money, staff time, etc.). The tools identified by the BEST Project for assessment purposes typically take two to three weeks to complete and receive an analysis of the results. Following the completion of the assessment, BEST staff will meet with agency representatives to develop an Agency Action Plan (AAP) to address the issues surfaced through the assessment including work that requires an outside expert and steps the agency can take on its own.
The CCAT is a 146-question online survey that measures a nonprofit organization's effectiveness in relation to four core capacities—leadership, adaptability, management, and technical capacities—as well as organizational culture. Additionally, the tool helps organizations identify their lifecycle stage and provides a real-time findings report, a prioritized capacity-building plan, and the technology to generate self-selected benchmark reports from a national database of 2500+ nonprofits. The CCAT is a comprehensive, valid, and reliable tool.
After a decade of working with hundreds of nonprofit organizations, governance experts from the NEW Center in Ann Arbor recognized the need for a concise, affordable, intelligent tool for nonprofit boards to use to assess their performance. The result is Board360™, an assessment tool that will let your board know how it is doing in five areas: Board Operations; Strategic Planning; Resource Development; Oversight; and, Ambassadorship.
Organizations can purchase on their own or through the BEST Project, the LEA 360TM. This tool, developed by Management Research Group a distinguished product that provides valid and reliable feedback from self and others — direct reports, peers, and bosses — on the use of leadership behaviors. LEA 360™ produces a rich feedback report complete with profiles, narratives, strategic implications, and developmental opportunities. View a sample report or contact the BEST Project staff to learn more.
Legal Compliance Review (LCR)—This tool, designed by Community Legal Resources in Detroit, is a good risk management tool for any nonprofit organization. The LCR engages volunteer attorneys to review several important areas of the organization including: Articles, Bylaws, Corporation Documents, Conflicts of Interest, Fundraising Requirements, Financial Procedures, Insurance Coverage, Contracts, Employment Laws and Others. The LCR will provide an “issue spotting” report for agencies to use to make internal policy changes or seek outside guidance in areas that present a risk to the organization.
With help and guidance from Michigan’s Management Support Organization (MSO) Network in addition to many leaders of the nonprofit, government and private sectors, the Michigan Nonprofit Association has developed Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Michigan to assist Michigan’s charitable organizations in building capacity while enabling them to demonstrate accountability and transparency. Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Michigan is intended to serve as an educational resource to improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability of Michigan charitable organizations.
A technology assessment will help minimize technology-related crises, use staff time efficiently, avoid wasting money on equipment and use technology to advance their mission. Technology assessments are conducted by select BEST consultants to review current technology capacity and short- or long-term technology needs. The assessment provides prioritized recommendations for technology infrastructure, online capacity, back-up, security, database systems, maintenance and support, hardware, and some software. The technology assessment does not review social media strategies.