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Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) - Background

What is Path to Impact?

How will it benefit your organisation?

How much does it cost?

What is the commitment involved?

Workshop Videos


What is Path to Impact?

Chief Officers Third Sector (CO3) and Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) have received a grant of £358,810 for a new project that will work with 100 third sector organisations in Northern Ireland and Scotland to help them better understand and strengthen their capacity.

The Path to Impact project will use the online diagnostic Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) to help the groups to better understand their strengths and areas for development, allow support providers and funders to deliver more targeted support, and provide a comparative dataset on the capacity of the NI and Scotland VCSE sectors for the first time.

The project will also run workshops and one to one support for the groups that take part to help them understand and address the findings of the assessment, and share learning within the sector

It aims to help organisations assess their capacity by analysing their operations against four core capacity areas through an online diagnostic health check tool with additional ongoing support throughout the process. 

As part of the “Path to Impact” project, 50 organisations in Scotland and 50 in Northern Ireland will be able to access this support for free with additional ongoing support throughout the process.

There are three overarching outcomes that we aspire to achieve through the project:

  • Build a resilient, high-impact, third sector by identifying specific capacity needs through a comprehensive online assessment and responding with an appropriately tailored programme of support.
  • Create a more sustainable third sector through an evidence based approach that will enable organisations to assess their current capacity and develop a more sustainable business model and approach.
  • Enable grant makers to prioritise the emerging capacity needs of the sector, thus responding with value-adding change, to build a resilient, strong and vibrant third sector.

How will it benefit your organisation?

The Path to Impact project will allow participants to avail of CCAT, a new online planning and resilience tool that will identify specific capacity strengths and challenges providing each organisation with a personalised report and a tailored programme of support (you can see a sample report here). The CCAT tool will help Chief Officers and their staff to better understand their organisation's strengths and areas for development. 

18 months after completion, the participating organisations will retake the CCAT assessment to measure the change achieved during that period.

A key element of the project is the opportunity to access consultancy support to help analyse the report findings and develop a programme of support for your organisation. One to one support is available as a key element of the project to help you to prioritise your areas of focus.

How much does it cost?

There is no financial cost for participating in this programme.

What is the commitment involved?

The CCAT is a 146-question online survey that measures an organisation's effectiveness in relation to four core capacities and should be completed by all senior leaders of an organisation as well as one or two board members.

18 months after completion, the participating organisations will retake the CCAT assessment to help to assess the change achieved during that period.

On average it takes between 30 – 45 minutes to complete the online CCAT assessment.  In addition there will also be some administrative time required to set up the CCAT assessment with a nominated staff member.  However, CO3/ACOSVO would work with your organisation to ensure that this is kept to a minimum and will action any follow ups with Senior Staff and/or Board members to complete. 

Participating organisations also have the option to receive a one to one consultancy review once they have received their report, which will critique the report findings and help to develop a programme of support as appropriate.  The one to one session will range from 1.5 – 2 hours.

Knowledge Exchange Workshops

Throughout the timeframe of the project (36 months) we plan on holding a number of Knowledge Exchange Workshops.  This will be offered to all participating organisations to share their experiences and insights.  We would expect all participating organisation to attend at least one workshop.

Part of the session will be open to external funders and other infrastructure organisations to receive an update on the experiences and the capacity challenges that are coming to the fore.  In total there will be five workshops held over the lifetime of the project.

Information workshops are being held to clearly outline the expectations of the project and the commitment involved, and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. Please click below if you would like more information about these events.


Belfast:                24 February 2016 - Click Here

Edinburgh:           1 March 2016 - Click Here


Workshop Videos

Welcome to the Path to Impact Programme, Introduction by Nora Smith, CEO CO3

What is Core Capacity Assesment Tool (CCAT)? A presentation by Dr John Brothers

Depaul's Experience of CCAT - Kerry Anthony, CEO, Depaul