Assess Thoroughly

We help people identify what is unique about them personally, so they understand how they contribute best to the mission.


Assess Thoroughly

My board expects me to do all the fundraising.
Now that I look at it, our strategic plan is pretty but we don’t really use it.
How do I build sustainability – I feel like we’re constantly clawing for resources.
I joined the board two months ago and they’ve asked me to be the new chair!
There’s nothing wrong with our nonprofit but we want to go to the next level – what is it? We need to develop future leaders in our community.
How do I create strategically driven meetings?

We get about 150 calls and emails every week from board leaders and executive directors looking for answers to a variety of tough questions. No matter what the issue, we don’t venture into any seas (especially rough ones) without first determining your abilities and resources. In other words – – your capacity. Yep, we know that’s a loaded word.

Lions and tigers and capacity – oh my! 
Capacity is a pretty vague term that we’ve watched being thrown around the sector for some time now. Our clients tell us just when they think they’ve got the word figured out, those pesky (yet beloved) funders devise a new set of “capacities” to master for the next funding cycle. Dorothy found Oz quicker than our field found capacity.

Blackfish likes a simple, common sense vocabulary that everyone in the water can follow. So to simplify, we define capacity as what you have (skills, talents, knowledge and resources you need in order to be effective) and your ability (or inability) to use it.

What are you measuring?
Each assessment we do includes six areas of capacity in order of importance. How deep we dive depends on the scope of work. Areas include:
– Governance and leadership.
– Mission, vision, and strategy.
– Program design and implementation.
– Strategic partnerships.
– Resource development (human and cash).
– Internal operations (financial systems, branding, and technology).

Effective nonprofits advance mission through the combination of excellent governance, effective leadership, quality management, and a constant commitment to achieving results and measuring impact. Once we’ve got a good footing on not only your organizational goals, but your ability to get there, we’ll help you bring them to fruition. That usually takes some hand-holding, training, and careful pruning as well as clarity on your core business. 

We use all the cool tools to determine your strengths (and areas for improvement). 
We’ll be using some special tools to get to the root of your issue.  But don’t worry – it’s nothing like a root canal.  “Assessment” is just a stuffy word for a really cool process.  First we’ll talk with your CEO and select board members. We don’t take an assignment without buy-in from the board and the executive. Next, depending on the scope of work, we’ll use some of the industry’s best evaluation tools: 

For organizational and board assessments we use a specialized survey instrument developed exclusively by our firm and customized to your specific issue. We consider the organization’s size, age and developmental stage, cause area, cultural and/or ethnic identity, and business environment when helping you choose the best assessment tool.

Leadership assessments include (we use only the best in the industry):
Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (MBTI)™
CPI 260® Assessment
StrengthsFinder 2.0
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B)

Team assessments include:
all leadership assessments for individual team members plus
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Team Assessment,
The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

A majority of our assessments can be done on-line. Once complete, Blackfish issues a report with clear recommendations and action steps.