Organizational Needs Assessments help identify unmet service needs of clients or subgroups of clients, help to compare desired performance to actual performance as it relates to program goals and the organizational mission and help identify professional development needs. It is a critical piece of strategic planning, program evaluation, and program improvement. Needs assessments can help set program improvement priorities, and provide an idea of what to monitor for future evaluation. Whether your goals are operational, tactical, or strategic, conducting a needs assessment can provide direction for your program improvement efforts.
What is success and how do we measure it? We often define program success in a variety of ways. How do we know if our programs are meeting the goals of all stakeholder groups (funders, clients, staff, the larger community)? Conducting program evaluation is one way to discover what your organization does well, and areas where you can improve. All of this information is useful for informing your supporters of how well you have used their investments, in seeking future support for your organization, and in developing a cohesive message and compelling story for your organization.
We design annual and/or longitudinal evaluations of your organization and its programs. We work to secure feedback from clients, funders, staff, board members and community members to provide a comprehensive look at your organization. We help you identify the metrics by which you can measure progress. Each evaluation identifies areas of strength, clearly defines opportunities for improvement, and recommends suggestions for implementation and continued evaluation. If your organization is committed to continuous improvement, program evaluation is a valuable tool.
Have you ever asked, “Why are we doing this this way?” If so, our process improvement service may be for you. Process improvement is a professional development process that examines a process within an organization from an objective point of view. Often the main rationale for how we operate is that “we have always done it this way.” Our process improvement service provides opportunities to examine processes to identify greater efficiencies, to streamline tasks, and to increase customer service to external and internal customers.
For example, with one local community college, we were able to identify that instructors were unaware that their funder required the program to meet certain goals. They were also unaware that their failure to meet reporting deadlines impacted the program administrator’s work in significant ways. Once the instructors understood the process and the administrator’s needs, they were better able to support overall program goals, and all worked to meet reporting deadlines.
It’s often difficult to identify these instances of miscommunication or inefficiency from within an organization, and because of internal work culture, even when these inefficiencies are identified they are often difficult to address. Objective program improvement consultants can be really helpful in this process.