How does it work?
The Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT), is a 146-question online survey that measures a nonprofit organization's effectiveness in relation to four core capacities—leadership, adaptability, management, and technical capacities—as well as organizational culture. The CCAT is generally taken by all senior staff and at least two to three board members. The organization chooses one person to be the CCAT Organizational Lead (Org Lead) who will be responsible for the CCAT administration and downloading the report. After purchasing the CCAT, the Org Lead is notified to begin the CCAT administration process. First, the Org Lead enters the names and email addresses for all individuals who are being invited to take the CCAT. Then the Org Lead emails login instructions to these individuals through the CCAT system. Each person answers 146 questions about the organization. One person also provides descriptive information about the organization (including budget size, staff size, area of focus).
After everyone has taken the survey, the Org Lead receives an email that the report is ready to be accessed online. The CCAT report only shows responses in aggregate — providing reliable information and maintaining each individual's confidentiality.
For more information on getting started with the CCAT, please refer to the resources section of this website.
Who should use it?
The CCAT was created as an assessment tool for nonprofit organizations. Foundations, corporate funders, and management support organizations (MSOs) may purchase CCAT packages as a service for their grantees or as a tool for determining their long-term capacity-building needs. However, the CCAT may not be used by funders as a "screening tool" to determine which organizations to support.
How much does it cost?
Pricing for the CCAT is based on the number of organizations taking the CCAT—not on the number of users. The CCAT is priced as follows:
1 organization: $350
2-9 organizations: $300 each
10-24 organizations: $275 each
25-50 organizations: $250 each
The CCAT can be purchased through this website. Please click on the "Purchase CCAT" button on the top left of this webpage to begin the check out process.
What is included in the CCAT purchase price?
Purchase of one CCAT package includes a report based on responses from an unlimited number of respondents within a single organization, and free telephone technical support for using the tool. The CCAT report includes information on interpreting the results, as well as scores for each capacity area, and recommendations for building your organizational capacity. It also classifies the organization into a particular lifecycle stage and generates a capacity-building plan with prioritized recommendations to assist your organization in moving forward. Organizations may also download their report with a comparison to organizations of similar budget size, service sector, and/or type of programming.
How can we use the CCAT and lifecycle score?
The CCAT report can be used as a:
- Starting point for discussions
- Suggested checklist for changes
- Barometer for comparison to similar organizations
- Way to track organizational growth and development
- Method for involving board members in discussing organizational capacities
Why do my organization's CCAT and lifecycle score matter?
The CCAT report provides an analysis of an organization's current status in the four core capacities that TCC Group believes are crucial for organizational effectiveness. The CCAT is intended to help a nonprofit organization determine its strengths and opportunities for improvement within each component making up the four core capacity areas (Leadership, Adaptive, Management and Technical).
The lifecycle score provides a reflection of the organization's current stage of development. Not every new organization is in the Core Program Development stage, and not every established organization is in the Impact Expansion stage. The lifecycle score provides guidance on where to focus capacity-building efforts for the greatest impact.
Further information on interpreting your results report can be found on the CCAT Resources page.
Your CCAT Report provides a snapshot of your organization’s strengths and challenges based on the perceptions of your organization’s leaders. It includes information on interpreting the results, as well as your scores for each capacity area, and recommendations for building your organizational capacity. Your CCAT report also classifies your organization into a particular lifecycle stage and generates a capacity-building plan with prioritized recommendations to assist your organization in moving forward.
The CCAT provides the ability to generate self-selected comparison reports from our national database of 1,000+ nonprofits. These reports allow to you compare your organization's results to those in our database according to three criteria: budget size, service sector (e.g. education, environmental, etc.), and type of programming (e.g. direct service, advocacy, etc.). You may generate as many comparison reports as you like.
“We knew we had shortfalls in operations, but the CCAT really clarified some problems that we had felt before, but had never actually put our finger on."
— Skip Pahl, Executive Director. Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, California
"Deaconess Foundation has found the CCAT to be a highly valuable tool. It provides us with a comprehensive view — taken from many perspectives and over time —of how a grantee agency is changing and growing, possibilities it can pursue, and realistic suggestions for improvements.”
— Jane Donahue, Vice President, Deaconess Foundation
"I would recommend the CCAT to any other funder. When you're thinking about impact in communities over time, investing in capacity building is the key to making organizations sustainable. It's about strengthening the organizations to better deliver services and serve their constituents.”
— Erica Weinberg, Assistant Director of Global Philanthropy, Pfizer Inc
"The CCAT gives you the opportunity to listen to what's going on around you, to analyze the data, and to make strategic short and long-term decisions based on that data. You have a responsibility as a nonprofit manager to do this."
— Robert Bank, COO, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), New York, New York
“We believe nonprofit organizations significantly benefit from such a valuable recourse as the CCAT, as it engages the organization in a gaining fresh insight into their organizational needs and informs the strategic planning process.”
— Mary Ellen Jackson, Executive Director, New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits
Case studies highlight CCAT satisfied users.
New Jersey Audubon Society
TCC Group was hired by the New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) to help develop a three-year strategic plan. NJAS is the oldest conservation organization in New Jersey as well as one of the oldest independent Audubon Societies in the United States. Operating ten nature centers and 34 wildlife sanctuaries around the state, the Society serves over 500,000 people annually with 3,000 plus programs. Not only does the Society serve its New Jersey constituents through its centers and publications, it also is a leader in supporting environmental legislation and the development of sound environmental policy; advancing knowledge through avian research; environmental stewardship; and educating New Jersey youth in their schools.
As one of the first steps in TCC Group's strategic planning process with the organization, senior staff and Board members completed the CCAT and the results have been used as a benchmark for the planning process. The results from the CCAT have helped TCC Group staff more effectively focus its data gathering efforts to capture additional information on those areas that senior staff and Board deemed in need of improvement. Using the CCAT as an early benchmark in NJAS's strategic planning process will help the organization more accurately judge the progress that has been made throughout the planning process and in going forward with the implementation of the plan over the next three years.
Users to date include:
- Associated Press Managing Editors
- The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
- Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention
- Fund for Investigative Journalism
- Gay Men’s Health Crisis
- Laguna Playhouse
- Oceanside Museum of Art
- Princeton Center for Leadership Training
- Ramona Pageant Center
- Riverside County Philharmonic
- Rocking the Boat
- Rural Women’s Health Project
- Sanctuary for Families
- Saint Joseph Ballet
- Society of American Business Editors and Writers
- Deaconess Foundation
- Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation
- James Irvine Foundation
- Pfizer Foundation
- The Prudential Foundation
- Sunflower Foundation
- California Association of Nonprofits
- New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits
- New Jersey Center for Nonprofits