Commitments Assessment Tool Discussion Guide

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities has launched its Commitments Assessment Tool in support of its Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations, a rigorous and comprehensive framework that provides a pathway for human-serving organizations to maximize their impact for children, families, and communities.

The questions below can inform executive-level discussion about completing the Commitments Assessment Tool.

1. As an organization, are we ready to channel resources to make changes in strategy—and possibly culture?

Perspective: The Commitments Assessment Tool provides tangible and actionable clarity around an organization’s priority areas for improvement on the path to high impact. The Alliance is deploying a wide range of resources customized to the specific priorities of each organization that is determined to act on the survey’s results.

2. Do we value and intend to benefit from using the Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations as an impact measurement tool?

Perspective: After evaluating the organization’s maturity level in each Commitment area, the leadership must commit to using the results of the Assessment to create a culture that embraces strategy, policy, and practice around the Commitments because they believe that is the best way to ensure the organization will meet the needs of children, families, and communities for the long-term

3. Do we have a strong sense of the benefits that would derive from engaging in the survey?

Perspective: The Alliance has prepared an overview of these benefits.

4. Have we garnered support and approval from our CEO or top executive staff?

Perspective: Executive buy-in to the process is vital, especially since the tool is administered to all staff across the organization. Staff will want to see that top leaders value and intend to act on the feedback.

5. Are we ready to have all staff complete the 30-minute Assessment?

Perspective: The tool is administered as an online survey provided to all leadership, administrative, and program staff across the organization. Staff members at every level take the survey too, because the Commitments are not just about operational practices, but about how key human-serving values are lived throughout your organization.

6. Do we have confidence in the survey’s validity and focus?

Perspective: The survey was developed by the Alliance in partnership with the prestigious American Institutes for Research. Review the tool’s technical reliability and specific practices and values it measures.

7. Are we ready to be a learning organization, which involves sharing our best practices and an openness to learn from others in the Alliance network?

Perspective: The Commitments Assessment Tool surfaces areas of strength and challenge for each organization. Top-scoring organizations will be encouraged to share their best practices to benefit other members of the Alliance network.

8. Who needs to approve the decision to complete the survey, and who should be informed about the plan?

Perspective: Executive leaders should undertake the survey decision. Since the results can be far-reaching, they should also consider making the organization’s board part of the process, using the survey as an opportunity to seeking both their endorsement and engagement. Ultimately, staff will be informed and educated about the objectives of the survey. The Alliance is pleased to assist closely with the messaging to both these audiences.

9. Who should drive the Commitments Assessment Tool process from start to finish?

Perspective: A dedicated point person (other than the CEO) should be named to manage the details of the Assessment’s implementation. The Alliance will provide resources and support to assist this internal champion.

10. What are the next steps?

Perspective: An affirmative decision to administer the survey should trigger your organization to register its interest and reserve a spot in an upcoming wave. To ensure the Alliance’s ability to provide customized results and support for each organization, the survey is administered in waves of 15-20 organizations at a time, so early follow-through is recommended.

Download a PDF version of this discussion guide.

Contact the Alliance Evaluation and Research Services Department with questions or for more information.

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