Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CCAT appear below. More information on setting up and completing the CCAT can be found on the CCAT Resources page.
The 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 should be completed by all senior leaders of an organization as well as one or two board members. More information on selecting participants can be found below.
Additionally, the tool helps organizations identify their lifecycle stage and provides a real-time findings report, a prioritized capacity-building plan, and the technology to generate self-selected benchmark reports from a national database of 3000+ nonprofits. The CCAT is the most comprehensive, valid, and reliable tool of its kind, and has been used by funders and nonprofits as a planning, capacity building, research, and evaluation tool.
Can the CCAT alone effectively assess an organization?
TCC Group recommends using the CCAT as a "snapshot" of where an organization stands with respect to its core capacities and sub capacities, as well as how its organizational culture functions. The tool is best used as a starting place for conducting a fuller inventory of the organization's strengths and challenges. The CCAT report provides insights which help focus deeper assessment activities on the capacity areas that are mission critical, rather than getting caught up in the "crises of the day."
TCC Group does not recommend using the CCAT as the "sole" process for an overall organizational assessment.
Survey Administration: Who Should Take It?
At least 3 staff or board members should take the CCAT. ALL senior staff leaders and managers of an organization should take the CCAT (this includes the Executive Director, administrative director/managers, program directors/managers, financial directors/managers, etc.). TCC Group developed the CCAT to be administered to senior leaders with the belief that senior leaders are the key decision makers at an organization and are therefore the best judges of specific types of organizational capacity. Ideally some key board members also will participate in the CCAT.
How many board members should take the CCAT?
One to two board members should take the CCAT (perhaps three for larger organizations). Invite board members who know a lot about the organization and can adequately respond to questions about its functioning and capacity. (You do not necessarily need to choose the board chair.) TCC Group understands that there are many board members, perhaps justifiably so, who will not be able to respond to most questions.
TCC Group suggests inviting one to two board members because some organizations have more board members than paid staff leaders. The CCAT is intended to be primarily a staff leaders' assessment, and while it needs to include the board voice, it should not be skewed to a level where findings in the report are in fact the "board's assessment" of the organization.
Can volunteers or part-time staff members take the survey? Who exactly should take the survey?
Only full-time senior staff members and board members who know the organization should take the CCAT. The only exceptions are if your organization is comprised entirely of volunteers or has part-time senior leaders. While TCC Group does not recommend that volunteers (with the exception of board members) take the CCAT, volunteers play key leadership roles in some organizations. For these organizations, it is appropriate for those volunteers to be included in the organization's assessment process.
Survey Administration: How Often?
How often/how many times per year should our organization take the CCAT?
We do not recommend taking the CCAT more than every six months unless the organization has recently undergone major changes in staff or infrastructure. Most organizations take the CCAT annually or every other year.
Taking the Survey
What if I don't know the answer to a question? Does skipping a question bring my organization's score down?
If you don't feel you have enough information to answer a question, simply skip it. For example, if you are a staff member, you may not know how well the board functions, or, if you are a board member, you may not know about the day-to-day functioning of the organization. Skipping a question has no negative effect on your organization's CCAT results. Individual responses are never provided in the CCAT report.
What should I do if I forgot my password?
Go to the CCAT website, www.tcc-org-assess.com, and click on the "Forgot your username and/or password?" link. The CCAT system will then send your log-in information to the email address you provide.
How many questions are there? How long will it take to complete?
The CCAT is made up of 146 questions. The process typically takes from 30-45 minutes per person. Multiple individuals may take the CCAT at the same time on separate computers—there is no need to schedule individuals for a specific time slot.
Is there any way to tell how I answered specific questions?
No. All answers are confidential and anonymous. Although the CCAT Organizational Lead can tell how many individuals have completed the assessment, the organization's report only shows the average of all user responses.
No, CCAT results are private and confidential. TCC Group may aggregate results from all organizations for comparison and/or research purposes, but your organization will never be identified.
A funder is paying for our organization's use of the CCAT, will they know our organization's scores?
Funders may administer the CCAT to a cohort of nonprofits as a tool for determining the need for long-term capacity-building services or as a grantee benefit. In those cases, grantees will be asked to send their reports to the funder so that they can determine the necessary capacity-building services. However, the CCAT is not intended to be used by funders as a "screening tool" to determine which organizations to support. TCC Group will not sell the CCAT to funders for grantee screening purposes.
Understanding Our Organization's Report
No. Results are calculated based on answered questions only. Your organization is not penalized for skipped questions.
Where did these recommendations come from? Did people write in suggestions?
The recommendations are based on TCC Group's years of experience in capacity building. The CCAT does not accept "write-in" answers from users.
Which questions contribute to sub-capacity scores?
For proprietary reasons, TCC Group is unable to reveal that information.
Does the "service delivery" technical sub-capacity measure an organization's success at delivering services?
It is important to note with all of the technical capacity scores that the results reflect senior leaders' perceptions that they have the staff and/or facilities, materials, equipment, etc. to perform a particular function. The instrument in no way professes to measure the quality of program implementation or program outcomes, and therefore cannot be used as a measure of program success. In fact service delivery, like all other technical capacities, should only be interpreted as senior leaders' perception of whether the organization has the staff and other resource capacities to deliver programs, not as a judgment of the quality or success of those programs.
TCC Group went to great lengths to develop scales that accurately measure the core capacity and sub capacity concepts, relying on the research literature conducted by experts in the field, as well as TCC Group's own research (i.e., local, regional and national studies of organizational effectiveness). Furthermore, TCC Group has administered the survey instrument to hundreds of organizations for the purposes of analyzing the data to statistically determine the reliability of each of the scales. Your scores reflect the collective perceptions of your fellow staff and board members. For more detail regarding the analyses (i.e., factor analyses and reliability tests) please contact TCC Group.
Won't the findings for small organizations change a lot each time the CCAT is administered?
Yes, a small amount of staff turnover will have a larger impact on assessments for small organizations than those for large organizations, but this staff turnover also has a larger impact on the organizations themselves. We expect there to be changes in organizational capacity (as captured in the CCAT report) when there is a large amount of change in senior leadership.
Could an organization manipulate their results?
It would be very difficult for organizations to manipulate their sub capacity scores. In any case, there should be no reason for organizations to manipulate their results. The CCAT is not intended to be used as an accountability tool for the purposes of making funding or hiring/firing decisions; if an organization were using it as such, TCC Group would request that they do not purchase or use the tool.