Organizational Assessments

Great Blue Heron, Photo: Walt Kaesler

Organizational Assessment

From 2000 to 2009, I served as the Vice President of Operations for a small international non-profit organization called Sand County Foundation (SCF). The organization had strong academic roots and the concept of independent review was an important core value. Every three years, SCF hired a team of third-party observers to review its core strategies, programs, projects, and results, and make recommendations for improvement, redirection, and alternative approaches.

SCF had subjected itself to “independent review” roughly every three years since the 1980s, so there was lots of data to look back on. Not every review resulted in transformational change, but every transformational change resulted directly from independent review.

Working as a team of specialists, Conservation Consulting Group now offers that same spirit of independent organizational assessment to their clients.

Description of Service

Assessments begin with an on-line assessment tool that addresses both organizational and program issues. We compile the results and spend a day in the office verifying facts and policy compliance and challenging organizational assumptions. The results are compiled into a draft report and relayed to the Board in a facilitated session, during which the Board members prioritize an implementation plan for improvement.

Benefits to Organizational Assessments

  • Baseline Documentation: The Organizational Assessment provides a baseline document from which to measure improving results over time.
  • Efficiencies: The assessment can recommend small changes that save time and money without compromising results as well as identify problems areas that need to be addressed quickly.
  • Resources: Conservation Consulting Group has access to template policies, accreditation checklists, and other useful materials that can help streamline otherwise tedious work.

Fees and Expenses

Conservation Consulting Group bases its fee on the size of your organization, an estimate of days required on site, and estimated travel expenses from Madison, Wisconsin. The fee includes initial set-up and communication of results and is typically in the $6,000-8,000 range. Travel expenses are explicitly included.

“The assessment was very well done, thorough, professional and, despite the subject material, quite enjoyable. Meeting with the … team the day before the workshop was…incredibly informative.”
– Ellen Kwiatkowski, Bayfield Regional Conservancy – Wisconsin

“We’ve truly enjoyed working with you and are looking forward to seeing our strategic plan come to life!”
– Mike Wollmer, Ice Age Trail Alliance – Wisconsin

“The team kept us on track and added their insight and comments using their experience with LTA and accreditation. It’s also valuable for the board to hear from a 3rd party about some of the issues we’re facing.”
– Sandi Helgerson, Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation – Illinois

“The … team kept us focused and on-task. They were non-critical yet could firmly explain what we need to do as a land trust. They honored the process and kept us engaged.”
– Sheryl Meyers, Red-tail Conservancy – Indiana

“Thank you … for the enthusiasm, the leadership, and for empowering us as an organization.”
– Joselin Matkins, Sagebrush Steppe Regional Land Trust – Idaho

“David was able to frame things in a way that helped our board to better understand not only their individual financial responsibilities to the organization, but their fundraising and networking responsibilities, as well.”
– Julia Plumb, Land Conservancy of Will County –  Illinois