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Saturday, January 20, 2018

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CCAT: Next best thing to a crystal ball
Alexis DeSela

October, 2015

Is your organization going through an important transition? Are you getting ready to undergo Strategic Planning? Or, do you want to gauge the overall health of your operations as you grow your mission? Then, the CCAT is an important tool to use to help guide your endeavors.

The Core Capacity Assessment Tool, or CCAT, is a nonprofit-specific survey that is usually taken by senior executives and the Board’s Executive Committee.  The questions are grouped to assess an organization’s four core capacities: Adaptive, Leadership, Management, and Technical.

The CCAT results allow organizations to better understand the health of their operations. It helps organizations focus on areas where current improvement opportunities exist, or where they might evolve. It also provides recommendations to implement on your own or with the help of a consultant. We often receive calls from clients seeking our assistance after they have taken the CCAT. The major areas we are usually engaged for are strategic planning, improving fundraising efforts, and increasing Leadership and Management effectiveness.

We can also help executives better navigate and evaluate their results by exploring the nuances of their particular organization and reviewing specific areas in more depth. Usually, the CCAT provides several recommendations per area. We can help you review the recommendations, prioritize, and focus on the areas that will have the most impact and make the most operational sense for the organization at a particular point in your life cycle or funding cycle.  

One of the more important considerations for taking the CCAT is to use it as part of an organization’s strategic planning process. The CCAT is an essential tool when undergoing strategic planning, and we use the results as part of the internal environmental scanning process, which asks organizations to carefully review their current structure, systems, programs, processes, and people. We use this data to go through the SWOT exercise to help you determine what programs, services, or operational aspects should be strengthened, optimized, fixed, or abandoned.

Here’s a real-life example the CCAT in action.  Not long ago, Marion Lee and I utilized the results of the CCAT process to assist the Helotes Humane Society.  We led the board through intensive board governance exercises and through strategic planning.   We helped board members and staff work through a variety of funding and governance issues, and, as a result, the organization hired a new Executive Director, relocated the animal shelter and worked their strategic plan very effectively. 

Scholarship opportunities for taking the CCAT exists through some foundations, and you may also purchase it on your own. For in-depth information about the CCAT, please visit:, and if your organization has taken it and you are interested in a more focused review as you make implementation decisions, please contact us.


Bacon Lee and Associates

P.O. Box 15018

San Antonio, Texas



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