Conducting a Self-Assessment of Your Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness

Whether your organization is preparing to expand its program offerings or is simply in a season of growth, analyzing your nonprofit organizational effectiveness and impact is an ideal starting point for creating a path forward.

Our team at Good Scout Group recommends that before delving into long-term strategic planning, understanding the current state and a holistic view of your organization’s health and effectiveness can be extremely beneficial. Essentially, it helps your organization identify strengths, determine areas of opportunity, hone in on critical efforts to maximize impact, and establish the right next steps to move your mission forward effectively.

Who Is a Self-Assessment for?

Individuals in nonprofit leadership may find it beneficial to assess their organizational effectiveness for several reasons, including:

  • Preparing for new initiatives. You may be seeking to understand if your organization possesses the necessary capabilities or resources to successfully develop and launch a new program or initiative.
  • Undergoing leadership transitions. In many cases, the board or CEO are pursuing a deeper understanding of the organization’s needs, strengths and areas of opportunity, in order to best identify the  right leader for the current season.
  • Evolving and growing from what was, to what will be. Our team at Good Scout often assists legacy nonprofit organizations with significant histories in adapting to today’s complex environment for growth. Similarly, emerging nonprofits that have outgrown their small-scale operations may seek guidance to operate at a higher level for greater impact.


Depending on your role, you may be able to provide a thorough organizational self-assessment on your own. However, bringing more voices into the conversation (especially those that can speak into areas that you’re not as well-versed in) will give you a more accurate picture of your organization’s current state.

Assessing Your Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness: Questions to Consider

This list of questions is intended to be a straightforward starting point, not a comprehensive analysis. That said, it may bring to light areas of weakness or tension in the organization that have long been ignored or it can give you confirmation of specific improvement areas to focus on.

  • Do you have a defined mission and goals that are clear and relevant to your area of impact?
  • Is your impact measurable and demonstrable? In what ways do you exemplify it with precision?
  • What structures do you have in place to ensure your teams revisit strategy planning regularly?
  • What tools and teams does your organization utilize to plan for scenarios, both good and bad?
  • What strategies do you have in place to ensure realistic revenue projections? How do you allocate financial resources to maximize impact without overburdening existing staff?
  • What structures do you have in place for making decisions? Are these structures utilized consistently and at every level of the organization?
  • Are your leadership roles clearly defined? Are management roles being utilized in a way that best supports the organization’s mission?


Organizational Effectiveness
  • Is the governing board involved and engaged in fundraising? How connected are they to those you are serving?
  • Do you have a diverse donor base? Are supporters interested in and connected to your mission?
  • What fundraising technology do you have at your disposal? Is there opportunity to improve tools for maximum impact?
  • What data and insights from donors are you currently taking advantage of?
  • Do you have an established brand strategy? Is staff familiar and engaged with your brand at all levels?
  • Have you crafted a brand story that resonates with your supporters? Are you succinct or long winded in your storytelling?


Resource Generation
  • Do you have a strategy in place for allocating non-financial resources appropriately?
  • Are there healthy relationships between management and staff?
  • Is there a unified team culture? Does staff feel connected to the organization in a positive way?
  • Is there regular interdepartmental collaboration? Are there strategies in place for fostering relationships between programming and fundraising?
  • What communication strategies do you have in place? Are there opportunities for ideation, voicing concerns, and receiving support?
  • What pathways are there for experimentation and learning?
  • Is your organization prepared to pivot and evolve with landscape trends?


It’s important to note that, while exploring these questions individually is a great starting point, developing ways to take action and creatively think about solutions as a leadership team with the whole organization in mind is crucial in carving a path forward.

Every organization has opportunities to grow and evolve, but confronting complex or difficult realities can feel daunting for leaders seeking fast, tangible growth. Ultimately, addressing these truths will help advance the organization, but with a focus on sustainable growth rather than quick results.

To receive a more personalized, in-depth assessment of your organization, reach out to our Good Scout team. With a strong focus on mission, we help you build a thriving organization that utilizes resource support and a strong internal culture to maximize impact.