Exploring Organizational Capacity and Health: A Guide to Assessment Tools

Nonprofits come in all different shapes and sizes. They also have something important in common: the need to be a healthy organization to effectively provide services, assess community needs and adapt to emerging trends. Nonprofit effectiveness is also important to funders who are supporting capacity building in a variety of ways. However, assessing nonprofit effectiveness can be complex. So how can you gauge whether an organization is healthy?

Organizational assessment tools can help! They can inform important discussions among leadership, board and staff as they take a critical look at the various aspects of an organization’s capacity. These tools can help gauge an organization’s strategic focus, leadership and management, governance, human resource capacity, financial and fundraising structure and learning and evaluation ability.

That said, it can be hard to know where to start. The Hewlett Foundation hired Informing Change to conduct a scan of organizational assessment tools across issue areas and geographies, and in-depth interviews with nonprofits and funders to better understand the landscape of organizational assessments. Participants will go through the database of over 90 assessment tools and the memo created that highlights learning from this landscape scan. There will also be time for a Q&A session. 

Join this webinar to:

  • Learn how to navigate this tool in order to best find an assessment that meets your needs
  • Gain a better understanding of when tools may work well, and under what circumstances.



Tina Cheplick, Senior Consultant, Informing Change 

Tina has always liked untangling things—her mother’s sewing box, holiday light cords, twisted garden hoses. Much of the work she does with evaluation and strategic learning is to help clients untangle the pieces of their daily work for better results. She helps others see their work in a new light. Tina has worked in nonprofits, doing youth development, volunteer management and community organizing work at the ground level, and she knows how the demands and intensity of the work fully absorbs the staff’s time and energy. Stepping back to assess strategies and outcomes feels like a luxury. But in doing so, organization leaders will find clarity and important insights, which can streamline the work and energize the team. The nonprofit sector plays a critical role in improving life for all of us, tackling society’s toughest problems before either business or government. A strong, smart, creative volunteer-led nonprofit sector is critical for achieving a fair, just and equitable society. And that’s where Tina sees the impact of her daily work: supporting the nonprofit sector in creating smart, strong, caring communities for the good of us all.


Theresa Esparrago Lieu, Senior Associate, Informing Change

As a trained sociologist, Theresa is fascinated by the intersection of individuals and complex living systems. Shaped by her personal upbringing and experience, she constantly finds herself wondering how beliefs, cultures, and values inform both individual and group behavior. She uses this curiosity as fuel to design evaluations and research studies that help clients identify their goals and strategies, learn about the impact they are making, and the processes that got them there. She believes that good, participatory action research is rooted in equity, integrates diverse perspectives and provides venues for meaningful participation for all. She frequently draws upon herdecade-long experience in the education reform arena, and the knowledge and tools she's gained along the way to support people on a journey of ongoing learning. Outside of work, you can find her chasing after her kids, running on the Bay Trail, trying out new recipes in her kitchen, or in search of the perfect mid-level bottle of wine.


Prithi Travedi, Program Fellow, Effective Philanthropy Group 

Prithi Trivedi is a Fellow in the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group. She works across the team’s five pillars — evaluation, strategy, organizational effectiveness, organizational learning, and philanthropy grantmaking — to help strengthen the foundation’s practices, and the philanthropic sector more broadly. Prior to joining the foundation, she was part of the Organizational Effectiveness team at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Prithi also taught first grade with Teach for America in downtown San Jose and has worked with UNICEF India. A Bay Area native, Prithi holds a master of public policy degree and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, both from the University of California, Berkeley


Jennifer Wei, Organizational Effectiveness Officer, Effective Philanthropy Group

Jennifer is the Organizational Effectiveness Officer in the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group. She oversees capacity-building grantmaking that provides support for grantees across the foundation to be high-performing, healthy and sustainable organizations.  She also manages the foundation’s pilot fund to help build grantees’ capacity for diversity, equity and inclusion work. Previously, Jennifer was the founding Chief Operating Officer of Techbridge Girls, a nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to empowering girls through science, technology and engineering.  She helped lead the organization through a national expansion and founder transition, and understands firsthand the challenges of building nonprofit capacity as well as the need for funders to support organizational health and capacity. Jennifer holds dual bachelor’s degrees in engineering and business from the Management and Technology program at the University of Pennsylvania and a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Open to funders and nonprofits

Register online here.


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