A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Initial Posting: Jun 07, 2006

Assessment of an agency’s strengths and areas for improvement is a key element of ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.


Please LET US KNOW if you have suggested CAA ASSESSMENT TOOLS that might be added.

Several mechanisms are highlighted below to assist with assessment of CAA strengths and areas for improvement.  Selected Virtual CAP postings are also highlighted with related information and resources to assist with CAA capacity building.

Strengthening CAA Management and Governance - CSBG IM94The Office of Community Services issued CSBG Information Memorandum 94 (IM94) to recommend immediate action by State CSBG lead agencies, State CAP Associations, and local CAA officials to reinforce the importance of effective management systems, strong internal controls, and informed governing bodies. Federal Head Start Reviews is the initial topic for IM94. However, parallel issues of importance are highlighted related to the overall operations of CAA’s to help improve compliance with program coordination requirements and expectations described in the CSBG Act. Additionally, longer-term opportunities and strategies are emphasized regarding:

  • Strategic Planning and Program Coordination
  • Program Administration and Financial Management
  • Tripartite Board Training and Empowerment
  • One Agency, One Mission

Pathways to Excellence - Developed by the Community Action Partnership to help to build the capacity of Community Action Agencies through learning and continuous improvement based on self-assessment of seven organizational categories:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Strategic Planning and Direction
  • Customer, Constituent, and Partner Focus
  • Measurement, Analysis, and Performance Management
  • Human Resource Focus
  • Organizational Process Management
  • Organizational Results

CSBG Self-Assessment Tool - Missouri Association for Community ActionCSBG Self-Assessment Tool created by the Missouri Association for Community Action to help CAA’s develop a picture of organizational quality, recognize best practices, and identify possible opportunities for improvement.

CAA Management Crisis Checklist developed by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce – Checklist for determining whether a CAA is thriving, safe, stable, vulnerable, or in crisis in seven key areas:CAA Management Crisis Checklist - Oklahoma Department of Commerce

  • Financial Management
  • Agency Management
  • Programs and Services
  • Human Resources
  • Community Relations
  • Board of Directors
  • ROMA

Warning Signs for Agency Crisis developed by Mid-Iowa Community Action – An eighty-eight-item assessment process to help identify potential organizational problem areas in eleven categories:

  • AuditWarning Signs for Agency Crisis - Mid-Iowa Community Action
  • Bank Accounts
  • Financial Procedures
  • Cash Flow
  • Financial Statements
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Board of Directors
  • Turnover
  • Wages and Benefits
  • Staff
  • Management

Virtual CAP – Select CAA Capacity Building Postings

Training and Capacity Building – State CAP Association initiatives including IACAA Peer-to-Peer Assessment Process, Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action, Community Action Leadership Academy, and OKACAA Self-Assessment Assistance Model Systems (SAAMS) – SAAMS is based on the Federal PRISM Head Start review process.

Fiscal Management for Federally Funded Organizations – ACF provides information to help Federal grantee agencies understand and comply with the requirement to have financial management systems that provide for timely, accurate, current and complete disclosure of financial information while providing for oversight and protection of Federal funds. The Fiscal Checklist used during Federal Head Start reviews is provided along with an outline of fiscal management issues.

CAA Boards (OCS Information Memorandum 82) – OCS developed information about the roles and responsibilities of tripartite boards that are required by statute, along with suggestions on how State CSBG authorities, State community action associations, and local agency officials can help assure that boards function effectively.

Training Book for CAA Boards – The OEO/MN Dept. of Children, Families and Learning developed a training manual to help CAA board members learn about and effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Various tools are included for board and agency self-assessment purposes.

Strengthening Board Governance – The Kentucky Association for Community Action developed a board training manual and survey process to help CAA board members learn about and effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Board Self-Evaluation Instruments – Several options are provided.

Quality Review Process – The Fayette County CAA has established a Quality Review Process as a mechanism to promote continuous improvement in all aspects of the agency.


Assessment of an agency’s strengths and areas for improvement is a key element of ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.


Kenneth Ackerman, Virtual CAP Project Manager