Why conduct an organizational capacity assessment?

It is important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of an organization so that they can be addressed. Development and Research Associates engages with organizations through a self-reflection process to assess their capacity in the following key areas: governance; administration; human resource; financial; organizational; program and project performance management. This information enables the organization to establish capacity-building priorities in areas where it may be weak.

Who needs an organizational capacity assessment?

  • Government institutions
  • Donor-funded projects
  • Businesses
  • Nongovernmental organizations

Key areas that need assessments

Some of elements usually assessed during OCA include but are not limited to the following:


There are five key areas we focus on, one being the presence of an organization’s Mission/Vision. Another key area is Leadership and Organizational Culture in which we assess the following:

– Leadership style

– Management skills

– Accountability to stakeholders

 – Information sharing within the organization


One of the key areas assessed is Operational Policies, Procedures, and Systems, where we examine whether there are documented administrative procedures in place. The extent to which they are known and understood by staff and are consistently adhered to. We also examine the existence of information systems that support operations of the organization or lack thereof.

Human Resource Management

There are nine key areas, one being Staff Performance Management, which captures the ability of staff to effectively deliver within the organization. 

Financial Management

There are six key areas, the most important being Financial Systems, Control, and Documentation within the organization.

Organisational Management

Some of the key areas include the following:

  1. Strategic Planning, where we assess whether there is written strategic plan that reflects the organization’s mission and states its priority areas and measureable objectives.
  2. Knowledge Management where we examine if the organization is actively linked with other external actors and has an internal process to share and use technical expertise and experiences.
  3. Decision Making, where we check if staff ideas are sought, respected, and incorporated into the decision-making process.

Program Management

We examine the processes in place for the following:

  1. Compliance with Funding Sources: whether the organization is knowledgeable about its donors’ principles, has systems to ensure compliance with reporting and approval requirements, and complies consistently;
  2. Linkages and Networks: whether the organization is a leader in its network(s) and advocates or shapes the vision for its field within a broader context, the organization seeks to improve legislative status of civic standing and influences the enabling environment.

Project Performance Management

Some of the key areas include the following:

Project Implementation Status: This is done in terms of whether:

  • project work plans and budgets are approved,
  • technical and financial reports are available and have been submitted on time, and
  • Services are active and project activities are progressing according to the work plan.

Supervision: a supervision plan exists that details supervisory responsibilities.

Monitoring and Evaluation, where we examine for the M&E plans, data collection tools, data storage, and M&E systems.

Quality Assurance where we check for a system that:

  • assesses performance against standards,
  • analyses gaps/weaknesses, and
  • Has a planning process to address those gaps.

At the end of the overall organizational capacity assessment, Development and Research Associates submits a written management report with a priority score on each of the areas assessed (as seen below). We also provide recommendations on how and what changes should be made within the organization depending on the capacity score.

Benefits of an Organizational Capacity Assessment

  1. It informs an organization on and where its strengths and weakness lay so it may strengthen its capacity.
  2. It informs a donor how sustainable an organization is prior to funding.
  3. It enables an organization to budget and design a work plan that involves capacity building to make them more sustainable.

Contact Information

Edson Twinamatsiko

Development and Research Associates

Plot 35/37, Equatorial Mall, William Street


Tel: +256752637505



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