A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Nov 12, 2013 - Initial Posting: May 16, 2007

The Administration for Children & Families provides access to a Benchmarking Tool that can be used to strengthen CAA’s and other faith- and community-based organizations.


CAA’s, as well as new and emerging nonprofit organizations, that want to work toward greater stability and effectiveness can now refer to a helpful Capacity Benchmarking Tool with individual sections that was developed through the Compassion Capital Fund.  Staff and board leaders can learn how to use this tool to establish priorities for strengthening an organization’s infrastructure and identify the most important next steps needed to build capacity.  This tool can be re-used to track progress and focus the organization on achieving new capacities.

This tool rests on two foundations – best practices and benchmarks.  Best practices summarize the consensus among researchers, nonprofit leaders, and technical assistance providers about running effective and financially sound organizations.  Benchmarks are the descriptive or measurable indicators of how well organizations carry out the best practices.

As an organization achieves benchmarks, it becomes stronger, more effective, and more efficient.  Benchmarks in this tool are descriptive and measurable indicators of capacity.  They are classified as “basic” or “enhancement.”  Basic benchmarks are for nonprofits focused on stabilization.  Enhancement benchmarks are generally for more established organizations ready to focus on increased effectiveness and efficiency.

Capacity Benchmarking Tool for Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations includes these topics:

  • Capacity Benchmarking ToolPreface
  • Introduction – What capacities does this tool cover?
    • Board of Directors
    • Strategic Planning and Decision Making
    • Program Monitoring (monitoring effectiveness)
    • Community Linkages and Partnerships
    • Fundraising and Grant Writing
    • Technology
    • Managing Staff and Volunteers
    • Financial Management
  • Organizational Profile
  • Part I: Board of Directors
    • Board Membership
    • Board Operations and Structure
    • Board Role - Leadership
    • Summary of Board Roles and Responsibilities
  • Part II: Strategic Planning
    • Organizational Mission
    • Information Gathering
    • Setting Goals
    • Monitoring and Updating Strategic Plans
  • Part III: Program Monitoring
    • Process Evaluation
    • Outcome Measurement
    • Program Design
  • Part IV: Community Linkages and Partnerships
    • Community Linkages
    • Community Partnerships
  • Part V: Fundraising
    • Fundraising Plans
    • Individual Donors
    • Grant Writing
    • Board Strength in Fundraising
  • Part VI: Technology
    • Technology - Communications
    • Technology - Hardware and Software
    • Technology – Skills
  • Part VII: Managing Staff and Volunteers
    • Performance Goals and Review
    • Staff Management
    • Hiring
    • Volunteer Management
  • Part VIII: Financial Management
    • Budgeting
    • Financial Recordkeeping
    • Financial Reports
    • Financial Accountability
  • Useful Web Sites

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


Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families