At the Bringing It Home Conference, Beth and Stan held a session on building your organization’s capacity. They introduced the Marguerite Casey Organizational Capacity Assessment and discussed the limitations of the tool as well as why it is important to work with a consultant to strengthen the assessment and planning process.


While the Marguerite Casey Organizational Capacity Assessment is one of our favorites because of depth of its exploration into the four domains of Leadership, Adaptive, Management, and Operational capacities and it’s simple 1-5 scoring scale, we also notice the following limitations: 


It doesn’t address organizations as a part of a larger system – this is a critical missing element! The issues facing our communities today are wicked, complex, and entangled. One agency cannot solve any component of these problems alone. We need to understand the system, the relationship loops, and how our organization fits within the larger scope to be effective. 


It doesn’t address racial equity – also a huge missing element! Those of us working in human services, working to solve social problems in our communities can not do so effectively without doing deep introspection around racial equity from within our organizations. If we attempt to do so, we may very well be causing hard rather than healing. 


It is somewhat dated when considering today’s technology and the way our work has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic – this missing element can be easily modified with awareness. 


So, no instrument is perfect and some of the best tools have significant missing pieces. At Partners for Impact, Beth and Stan specialize in creating a unique process for your organization that includes the right tool or tools in addition to listening processes and sense making processes. Using the tool is just one part of the whole process. A skilled consultant will use various strategies to help an organization identify their strengths and challenges as well as where they fit in the bigger picture. We specialize in working with whole systems and looking at capacity from a systems perspective using an equity lens.