The Core Capacity Assessment Tool (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.
Click here to download this page: CCAT Overview
How can we apply?
We are now taking applications from Vermont nonprofits seeking a scholarship for the CCAT. Visit http://bit.ly/2013-CCAT to apply. Thanks to the generosity of the Vermont Community Foundation, 25 eligible organizations will receive a full scholarship for the CCAT, a $300 value. Please apply by Wed., June 12, and plan to complete the CCAT by Friday, June 21.
Tell me more about the CCAT
The CCAT online questionnaire provides a picture of nonprofit organizations’ capacity to successfully manage the processes and systems that characterize a high-performing organization. The CCAT was developed by TCC Group, based on research from the best capacity-building approaches. The CCAT addresses infrastructure, organizational, and planning issues – it’s not about your programs and client response to them, though strengthening the organization often improves programs and services.
The CCAT assesses where your organization stands in terms of four core capacities that the TCC Group has determined are crucial to organizational success:
Leadership Capacity: The ability to create and sustain the vision, prioritize, make decisions, provide direction and innovate. EXAMPLES: Board and executive leadership development, leadership transitions, human resources, internal communications.
Adaptive Capacity: The ability to monitor, assess, respond to and create internal and external changes. EXAMPLES: Community needs assessment, organizational assessment, program evaluation, strategic planning, collaborations and partnerships.
Management Capacity: The ability to make effective and efficient use of organizational resources. EXAMPLES: Financial management, service delivery, program evaluation and replication, outreach and advocacy.
Technical Capacity: The ability to implement key organizational and programmatic functions. EXAMPLES: Marketing and communication, technology, legal skills, fundraising, earned-income generation, accounting, and facilities management.
What is our commitment as an organization?
Taking the CCAT is the beginning of a process to build capacity and develop best practices. In addition to selecting knowledgeable staff and board members to complete the CCAT survey, nonprofits should plan to spend time in board and staff meetings to address CCAT report recommendations and assess progress. Make sure you have discussed a structural “home” for continuing the capacity-building conversation throughout the year.
How can the CCAT help my organization?
The CCAT report is a snapshot of strengths and areas for improvement, a way of “taking stock” of the organization. CCAT findings help organizations step back, look at the big picture, and ask, “where are we, where are we’re going, how will we get there, and do we have the capacity to do it?” Building the capacity – the staffing, board, funding, systems, knowledge, communication, decision-making, and work processes – is what will take our agencies on the path to sustainability and effectiveness.
How can Vermont nonprofits take the CCAT and how much does it cost?
Sign-ups for the CCAT are in process. Final completion date is Friday, June 21. Thanks to underwriting by the Vermont Community Foundation and the National Corporation for Community Service, the first 25 Vermont nonprofits to complete the online application at the BBVT website will be able to take the CCAT at no cost in 2013 through Benchmarks for a Better Vermont (BBVT). To sign up, go to the BBVT website http://bbvt.marlboro.edu/ and click “CCAT.” To qualify, your agency’s annual operating budget must be at least $100,000 and under $2.5 million. If your budget is $2.5 million or more, you can still take the CCAT at a substantially discounted fee of $200. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
Who completes the CCAT survey and how long does it take?
Agencies most often choose a representative group of 2 board members and 3-4 senior staff who know the organization well enough to answer the questions, and have time to take the survey. Typically, the CCAT takes about 45 minutes. No preparation is required. One staff person will serve as the internal survey administrator and spend some additional time filling in basic background information.
What happens after the survey?
The CCAT immediately provides an online report. It includes an analysis of each of your four Core Capacity scores, a prioritized capacity-building plan, and suggestions for addressing the capacity needs identified in the report. The board and staff analyze the results, prioritize action steps, assign roles and have check-in mechanisms to keep those efforts on track over time. Start with Leadership and Adaptive Capacity. Research shows these are the factors most crucial to organizational success. Start small: Agree on what’s most important and what you can start now.
Does it matter what size my agency is, or how many staff we have?
The CCAT is most often used by agencies with at least a full-time director and several staff, and an annual budget of $100,000 or more; these are the agencies that most often have (and need) the range of capacities surveyed. Small organizations relying mostly on volunteers can take the survey, but need to be able to commit to use the results. Before signing up to take the CCAT, ensure that your board and staff leaders have the interest and readiness to put time into using the report findings.
Who should not take the CCAT – at least for awhile?
Organizations facing short-term survival questions, an internal crisis, severe cutbacks or financial struggles, or leadership transition within the past or coming 3 months. Agencies contemplating major re-structuring, program expansion, a large grant, or merger may want to wait. However, in the case of a planned leadership transition or merger, the CCAT can help identify the leadership skills needed next.
What help is available to interpret the CCAT report?
BBVT will provide a Webinar in June to help organizations interpret the CCAT results and begin prioritizing your “roadmap” for improving capacity. Numerous resources are available on the websites of the TCC Group and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits. Organizations wishing more individualized guidance may contact Lizann Peyton at email@example.com, a Vermont consultant trained by TCC to help organizations understand and effectively use their CCAT results.
Click here to download this page: CCAT Overview