Outcomes of the self-assessment and viability grant process

The most common issues revealed by the organisational assessment were: the lack of an accountable structure; underdeveloped boards; insufficient human resources management tools; a lack of strategic plans; weak financial sustainability; and infrastructure/office space issues.

According to the participating organisations, many changes took place during the self-assessment and grant implementation process and most of the investments were made in the field of human and organisational capacities. The most frequently mentioned changes were:

  • the widening of organisational mission statements (e.g. a community organisation decided to expand to regional level, or a local branch of a bigger national organisation decided to become an independent organisation with its own mission and strategy);
  • changes to the statutes and structure of the organisation, the expansion of the list of priority activities, and the development of new outreach;
  • the reviewing of human resources and financial policies, and changes to the board;
  • the exploration of possibilities to provide know-how and other services for a fee in order to achieve greater self-financing;
  • the reviewing and widening of partnerships; and
  • investments in the office space (new lamps, data projector and laptops) as CSOs began to consider making their working environment more employee friendly and attractive to partners and stakeholders.

In most cases the organisational self-assessment exercise was an eye-opener. According to the trainers, the assessment process consolidated a team spirit in many CSOs, improved internal communication and cooperation, and motivated an interest in capacity development per se. As a result, many organisations started to contact their trainers to ask “What’s next?” This can be regarded as an important awareness-raising impact.

 

The organisational assessment process was hard, it really needed some braveness to go through the statements and face the reality, as we are not a new organisation. It was important to look at the organisation with fresh eyes. While doing so we discovered many good things about ourselves as an organisation. Gutta Club (Moldova)
From outside it looks as if everything is going perfectly well but once you start discussing the core issues of the organisation, you see that it is not exactly as it looks. Dialogue (Moldova)
When we applied we did not even understand exactly what we were applying for. It was a completely new invention for us. We really thought that everything could be done out of enthusiasm and no serious set-up was needed. CSO, Belarus
A new generation has come to the organisation, they have ideas but no experience of work in a public organisation. At the same time, elderly people have become more passive. We understood that we need to transfer experience from the older generation to the newcomers and the organisational development project was a perfect possibility to do so. CSO, Belarus
When we made the organisational plan it boiled our brains. But it was important to us not to make the plan only on paper, but to make our own plan that we can have ownership of and make it happen. CSO, Belarus
One of the biggest surprises for us was that our organisation is not financially sustainable, we had been working for years on a project basis without realising that this might cause problems. Now we have set up a strategy to collect funds. Women’s Association (Moldova)
Using our experiences we have helped a new youth organisation, European Wings, to be registered. We have shared our organisational documents and manual with other similar organisations. Stefan Voda (Moldova)
Our organisational manual was written through the experiences and it can be used as a model for other organisations. Dialogue (Moldova)
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