SELF-ASSESSMENT for Established NGOs

Some NGOs write to Networklearning asking questions about “How do we Start?”. And we hope our Manuals can help them. But some of you are established and ask “How do we improve our work?”

You are the NGOs that want to move up to another level. How do you do this - and what does Networklearning have to offer? Here is a plan.

First, you need to look at the different aspects of the working of your NGO and ask yourselves how well you are doing in each. If you download folder NGO Self-assessment through a SWOT exercise the first section will take you through this process. You will be asked to look at

  1. How you are managing the vision
  2. How you are managing the staff and the beneficiaries
  3. How you are managing the office
  4. How you are managing the money

Get the NGO staff together and discuss this in a systematic way. When you have identified your weakest area, the rest of the manual helps you analyse the problem and find possible solutions by carrying out a SWOT Exercise.

Here are other Networklearning manuals that can help in these four areas:

1. Managing the vision

folder How to Build a Good Small NGO (Module A: The Project Cycle + Module E: Building on Good Principles and Practice)

folder Incorporating Gender into your NGO

folder Information: Its collection and use throughout the Project Cycle

folder The Project Cycle – A Teaching Module

folder On Being In Charge (managing Health Programmes)

2. Managing the Staff and the Beneficiaries

folder How to Build a Good Small NGO (Module B: Good People Management)

folder How to Succeed in your Work

folder Better Ways to Manage Meetings

folder On Being In Charge (managing Health Personnel)

folder Teaching for Better Learning (primarily, but not only, for Health Workers)

folder How to Run a Workshop

folder How to Succeed with Distance Education

3. Managing the Office

folder How to Build a Good Small NGO (Module C: The NGO Office)

folder Better Use of Your Computer for NGOs

Guidelines for Writing Reports (online guide)

4. Managing the Money

folder How to Build a Good Small NGO (Module D: Money)

folder A Guide to Fundraising

Mango's Guide to Financial Management for NGOs


Other things to consider…

Your Field of Interest

See the following field-related manuals and courses, all available from the networklearning Library :

Changing Behaviour: “Interviewing & Counselling at the Grassroots”
“Shedding Abuse: a course for Men who use Domestic Violence”
Health: “Principles and Practice of PHC”
“Health Education for Behaviour Change”
Refugees & IDPs: “Better Ways to Prepare for Emergencies”
“An Introduction to Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons”
“The Application of Sphere Standards in Camp Design”
Disability: “Simple Devices to Assist the Physically Disabled”
Also, check the Hesperian Foundation library where there are manuals on working with disabled women and disabled, blind and deaf children


It would also be useful to find NGOs in your own country with projects that follow best practice in your area of interest. You could visit them; visit as well the projects that you might consider poor practice.

Monitoring Systems

If you have built into your projects a good monitoring system, then you have a powerful tool for judging how well you are doing. If you do not have such a system, this may be the time to develop one. See NGO Manager's Management Tools as well as our folder How to Build a Good Small NGO (Module A: The Project Cycle, section 6.1)

Networklearning manuals – terms of use

Organisations in the South (Africa, Asia, Southern America, ex-USSR) can download copies free of charge.
In return we ask you to help spread the material to other NGOs you know – those with no printer or bad phone connections, for example.
Organisations in the North:
Networklearning has no funding. If you work in an organisation with money and use our materials or see their usefulness for others, please make a contribution
(a minimum 4 euros; we will receive the full amount less 5% transaction costs).

CC Attribution NonCommercialOur manuals are copyright-free for non-commercial use. We are happy for users to re-write, translate or otherwise adapt downloaded material to local cultures. The original authors must be mentioned as well as our website.

We are happy to have other organizations link to our library pages, but in order to prevent out-of-date editions being accessed online, we do not allow publications to be posted on other sites without our explicit permission.

Networklearning makes easy-to-use manuals that can help NGOs build knowledge and skills.

To find the titles you need use the "Library Themes" menu at left.

All documents may be freely downloaded subject to our terms of use (see bottom of page).

Difficulty downloading? Let us know the specific problem and we will advise if we can.

Do you need a manual or information that isn't covered on this site? Let us know and we will try and plug the gap.
> Contact networklearning

Perhaps you have the skills and expertise to help us produce new, quality material? Or perhaps you already have a good, copyright-free book or manual that we could republish or repurpose?
> Check our Writers' Guidelines


Other online libraries that offer free, accessible materials for NGOs:
> Hesperian


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