The Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) is a free online tool that helps non profits assess their operational capacity and identify strengths and areas for improvement. The tool is free of charge. It is an in-depth, online survey that allows the Board, leadership and staff of a non-profit to measure how well their organization performs against best practices.
To administer the survey, you will need to register your organization by launching the tool here, and invite members of your organization to participate within a designated time period. Participants will be asked to provide their view of how well the organization performs along 10 dimensions. Once the survey is complete, a unique report is generated that provides an aggregate view of how the respondents believe the organization is performing in areas such as management, marketing, innovation, and strategy-setting.
The insights from the OCAT provide an excellent foundation for conversations and decision-making about actions to make the organization stronger.
How much does it cost?
The OCAT is free to use for non-profit organizations.
Who should be invited to complete the OCAT?
The OCAT is not meant to be a survey of all staff. Respondents should be individuals who can respond insightfully to questions regarding the overall capacity of the organization. We often find that the leadership team, some/all of the board, and additional key staff members are the right respondent group.
My organization is made up of less than five people. Are we able to use this tool?
Though we recommend, for confidentiality reasons, that groups of ten or more people take this survey, smaller organizations with less than ten people can certainly use this tool. Since this is a self-assessment, the size of the organization should not affect its usefulness.
Who has access to my personal answers on this survey?
This survey is anonymous and for this reason, you will be the only person with access to your personal answers. Though McKinsey will have a database with this information, the use of codes as opposed to signing up with names will ensure that your personal answers remain anonymous.
How do I activate/deactivate the advocacy module?
The advocacy module is optional and the only group of questions that a survey administrator can add or remove from the survey during the set-up process. We recommend this module for inclusion if a significant part of what your organization does is advocacy related. If you are the administrator and would like to include the advocacy module to your survey, respond “yes” to the advocacy question during the set-up process. The advocacy module cannot be added after the administrator has launched the survey.
What do I do when I believe that my organization falls between two ranks?
Always choose the lower of the two answers if you believe your answer falls between two ranks.
When do I do use “N/A,” and when do I use “Do not know”?
Use “N/A” when a question does not apply to your organization, and use “Do not know” when you do not know the answer to a particular question.
How do I answer the questions on leadership if there is only one board member?
Ideally, the OCAT would provide a forum to identify strengths and areas of improvement for the organization. If you do not feel that you can honestly respond to a question because your answer will be counter-productive, we would encourage you to respond with “I don’t know” and seek out a constructive way to address the issue raised by the question.
Is it possible for me to review the survey results of another organization that has completed the OCAT, in order to compare their answers to mine?
Unfortunately, due to our confidentiality clause, we cannot share the survey results of other organizations. However, we will have some sample survey outputs available online. Though they are not the results of one company, they will provide information about averages for organizations similar to yours, thus allowing for some means of comparison.
How many hours will the survey take?
The survey should take approximately 1.5 hours.
Who should complete the organizational part of the questionnaire?
The individual in your organization who will be facilitating the debrief session should fill out this portion of the questionnaire. This person should take leadership of the process by signing up the organization, disseminating information and leading the debrief conversation.
Can I distribute this survey publicly?
Distribution of the survey requires permission from McKinsey and will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the organization and the purpose for distribution.
Can I adapt this survey to meet the needs of my organization?
Adaptation of the survey requires permission from McKinsey and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
I sent invitations to the survey participants but some or all say they haven’t received them. What do I do?
Sometimes OCAT survey invitations end up in the spam folders of participants. Please have participants check their spam folder. If the invitation is not there, have the user’s network administrator check the organization-level spam folder for the invitation.
What are the Internet requirements for this survey?
The OCAT requires a broadband internet connection and a modern standards-based Web browser, such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer (version 8 or higher).