Performance Monitoring & Evaluation Tips
Measuring Institutional Capacity
This Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Tips gives USAID managers information on measuring institutional capacity, including some tools that measure the capacity of an entire organization as well as others that look at individual components or functions of an organization. The discussion concentrates on the internal capacities of individual organizations, rather than on the entire institutional context in which organizations function. This Tips is not about how to actually strengthen an institution, nor is it about how to assess the eventual impact of an organization's work. Rather, it is limited to a specific topic: how to measure an institution's capacities. It addresses the following questions:
- Which measurement approaches are most useful for particular types of capacity building?
- What are the strengths and limitations of each approach with regard to internal bias, quantification, or comparability over time or across organizations?
- How will the data be collected and how participatory can and should the measurement process be?
Measuring institutional capacity might be one important aspect of a broader program in institutional strengthening; it may help managers make strategic, operational, or funding decisions; or it may help explain institutional strengthening activities and related performance. Whatever the reason for assessing institutional capacity, this Tips presents managers with several tools for identifying institutional strengths and weaknesses. The paper will define and discuss capacity assessment in general and present several approaches for measuring institutional capacity.