Organizational Assessment and Strategic
The first step in an organization’s journey towards effective outcomes. The goal of Salang’s Organizational Assessment is to collect data that can help your nonprofit evaluate whether it is making progress towards goals, including whether the nonprofit can demonstrate that it is making progress advancing its mission.
Organizations that are serious about measuring their progress and evaluating their outcomes should consider Salang’s Organizational Assessment process.
Developing a strong organizational foundation is the first step in becoming grant ready. Grant-ready organizations:
- Are tax-exempt and have the required federal and state paperwork associated with their tax-exempt status?
- Have a diverse, engaged Board of Directors that supports organizational growth and fundraising. Board members understand what the organization does and their role in helping the organization achieve its mission.
- Have working formal and informal partnerships with educational institutions, government agencies, businesses, and/or other nonprofits. These partnerships allow the organization to better its community and sustain its programs and services through resource sharing.
- Have professional, dedicated staff. Each staff member has a job description and is provided with a formal performance review on a regular basis. A basic bio and resume are on file for each staff member.
- Have an updated strategic plan that is used to guide organizational, program, and service decisions.
- Have a description of their organization that includes its history, its reason for existing, how it’s changed since its founding, who it serves, and its accomplishments.
Having to prove your fiscal capacity can be one of the most frustrating parts of becoming grant ready, especially when you’re just starting your organization and you don’t have any money. But funders need to be able to trust that you’ll manage their grant awards successfully. Organizations that are financially grant ready:
- Have a fundraising plan that involves a diversified stream of funding. This may include earned income, grants (foundation, corporate, and government), individual and business donations, and fundraising events.
- Have a list of past, current, and pending funding sources. This list should include the name of the funding source, the amount, dates of funding, and purpose of the funding.
- Have a current board-approved organization and program budgets that include all revenues and expenses.
- Have a recent tax return (990). A 990 will suffice for most funders but some funders will also require a recent financial audit.
- ● Have accounting systems in place so that expenses can be tracked separately for each awarded grant.
Although some funders award general operating grants that can go towards your organization, these grants are rare and harder to win. That’s why you’ll want to have strong programs and services established or planned, in addition to strong organization capacity. Organizations that have programs and services that are grant ready:
- Have recent, reliable data showing there’s a need for their programs/services in the community it serves.
- Have a description of programs/services that includes goals and objectives, activities, key staff members, how the program/service will be evaluated, and any successes so far (if the program/service has already been implemented).
Strong planning is a foundational component of every successful nonprofit. Yet, effective planning for strategic change and mission success takes real effort, time, courage, and clear visionary thinking.
Nonprofits often invest time, effort, resources, and money on comprehensive strategic planning. Unfortunately, most of these plans fail to result in significant change and improvement to those nonprofits. Nonprofits are too often hampered by faulty strategic planning which isn’t supported by data, the capacity to change is not supported, lack of funding, and an inflexibility for altering the organizational environment, or the plan is just too complex to track and implement.
Salang Grant Writing and Nonprofit Solutions takes a solution focused, leveraged in data analysis to identify, and create a Strategic Plan for your nonprofit. We help identify organizational crises and create Strategic Plans to resolve the crisis. Our proven approach has prevented the collapse and speeding the recovery of numerous nonprofit organizations. Our solution-based approach combines experience, nonprofit knowledge, transparency, honesty, and DATA analysis.
What makes matters even more problematic is that most nonprofits are small and rarely have significant financial reserves. Unlike for-profit businesses, no owner will resolve a problem by making an additional investment. Finally, by virtue of the nonprofit’s organizational structure, there is no single leader with the authority to unilaterally decide to resolve a real crisis; existential threats must always be addressed by the executive committee in close cooperation with the chief executive, at very least.
Despite the best intentions of a passionate group of people, it is an unfortunate reality that things can go terribly awry. Nonprofits exist in the real world where real world conflict and crises exist. Moreover, in a nonprofit organization, many people with vastly different perspectives must find a way to work together. Board members, staff, key volunteers and stakeholders, foundations, and donors are all invested in the outcomes that your nonprofit can and must produce, yet when differences of opinion occur, only the staff can be managed in the typical ways. The rest of these invested supporters must be convinced, inspired, and connected with through transparent communication and trust building.
“With the best of intentions, organizational plans are carefully created through a collaboration between the Board of Directors, Executive Director, community members, key staff, and advisory committees This collaboration is an essential component of strong nonprofit planning. However, there is also an integral flaw to this approach because it means that most of the strategic planning input is gathered from individuals who have little organizational responsibility, limited knowledge of the organizational as a whole and its functions and operations. The BEST Strategic Plans are supported by DATA! These Strategic Plans support organizational growth, sustainability, and financial stability.”- Salang Grant Writing and Nonprofit Solutions