About the ExCEL3 Organisational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT)
When your organisation uses OCAT to assess capacity you are engaging in organisational learning by bringing members from diverse areas of your organisation together for a facilitated discussion on key organisational capacities, you can see benefits almost immediately in the form of increased focus on critical organisational capacities and improved information flows.
Results from the OCAT self-assessment survey, as well as outcomes from the discussion session, will help to identify areas where change efforts are most important to your stakeholders and will therefore have an impact on how your organisation achieves its missions.
OCAT is based on the Composite Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT), which was originally developed as part of a research project at the Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University in order to support the small-scale, start-up phase of grantee organisations. The preliminary version of CCAT was designed in accordance with the following methodology: a literature review on capacity assessment tools designed for and used by other non-profit organisations, a glossary of capacity assessment terms, an organisational survey to cross check results with findings of the literature review as part of the validation process, and pilot testing phase with revisions based on results.
ExCEL3 OCAT is based on a revision of the original CCAT by members of the ExCEL3 team, and updated through current research on governance, leadership and philanthropy in the third sector in Hong Kong as well as a review of the latest literature on organisational assessment for nonprofits.
Capacity assessment (and therefore, capacity building), is an on-going process and not a one-time prescription. As often as the tool is used, the organisation continues to grow and learn. At a minimum, OCAT should be revisited annually so that organisations can realign capacity building efforts with changing realities.
Your organisation’s ownership of the tool is important. As such, we encourage your organisation to revisit the questions and to contextualize the tool to your own organisation.
Capacity areas function like the pillars of an organisation, whereby if one capacity is weak, this can affect other capacity areas negatively. For example, if an organisation is weak in Governance & Leadership, this will have implications on other areas of the organisation, such as Program Design & Management, or Organisational Planning. Having said that, it also depends on the unique situation of each individual organisation, and what strategic direction it is heading towards. Every organisation will have its priority capacity areas depending on context specific factors.
Yes, during the interpretation and data analysis stage, we will consider these factors.
Yes, absolutely. Your input and feedback will help us to identify how we may best support your work. Capacity building is a two-way process whereby we, as the capacity building provider, are also part of the learning process, which leads to changes within our own organisation. This ‘double-loop’ learning is central to successful capacity building.
About the Organisational Capacity Assessment (OCA) Process
All records will be strictly confidential. All personal and organisational names will be replaced with a number to make sure everything is anonymous; we will only report aggregate data; the report is confidential to your organisation only; all information will be password-protected in the ExCEL3 computer, and will be deleted five years after the assessment.
The University of Hong Kong and your organisation will own the information.
Findings will be shared with the Executive Director before they are included in the final report, to give the Executive Director an opportunity to review, dispute and potentially amend any findings. The final report is generally shared with key staff and the board, although who sees the report and how it is used will vary based on the goals and strategies used.
At the beginning of the process, we will clarify what your organisation hopes to achieve. The findings should then be used to explore a range of strategies to reach your goal. On HKU’s side, the findings will be made anonymous and aggregated. We hope to be able to build up enough findings that can be aggregated to bring to the surface common issues, patterns and development trends across the field of organisations. In other words, we hope to create a portrait of organisational capacity in Hong Kong.
Once your organisation has conducted capacity assessment through us, we consider you part of our community learning network. As part of our network, you can feel free to contact us at any time should any query arise. We will keep you informed of all our different capacity building events such as workshops and trainings, and try to use our expansive network to connect you with relevant community partners.
ExCEL3’s mission is to build the nonprofit sector’s capacity to sustainably organise itself to contribute to human well-being and social change. It is our belief that capacity-building efforts should not be implemented in a vacuum; an organisation should always have a clear picture of its strengths and weaknesses. As such, any attempt to build capacity should always be preceded by an organisational capacity assessment in order to guide where, how, and if capacity-building should even occur.
We also hope that through collecting aggregate data, we can build a collective picture of the nonprofit sector’s capacity, which will help the sector to learn and improve.
We aspire to engage in capacity building and organisational assessment which reflects the following:
Outcomes and impact:
Facilitators’ role and style: