15 Capabilities for Nonprofit Leaders – A Self-Assessment

The skills required to manage a nonprofit organization have been systematized into the “15 Management Capabilities to Improve NPOs,” a self-assessment check sheet developed to supplement the practical, know-how-focused workbook entitled “15 Capabilities for Nonprofit Leaders.” The check sheet allows for the monitoring of an organization’s development of the skills that are vital to the sustained support of its projects by examining 12 of the “15 Management Capabilities to Improve NPOs.” The simplified version takes the essence of the check sheet and distills it into five items.

JapanJapan NPO Center (JNPOC)

This tool was created by JNPOC together with World Vision Japan and NPO Support Centers nationwide as part of the NPO Training and Capacity-Building Project, which targeted groups working towards recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster.

The disaster’s unprecedented scale led to growing expectations for nonprofits able to respond to the specific post-disaster needs in the recovery process. This tool was created against the backdrop of a sudden increase in funding for local nonprofit activities, which at the time were exhausted due to capacity vulnerabilities given the extent of the tasks they faced. As time passed, many groups were no longer able to sustain their activities for finance and human resource-related reasons due to waning interest in the disaster. This checklist was compiled to help problem-solving in nonprofit leadership development and to strengthen the capacities of local nonprofits, so they can engage in sustained and multifaceted activities.

Target / Intended users

Nonprofit organizations

Sections / components


  1. Ability to Consolidate (plan of activities for single year/medium to long-term, reach consensus)
  2. Ability to Propose (mission, vision, positioning map, plan)
  3. Ability to Anticipate (grasp financial resources, strengthen financial footing, financial planning and management)
  4. Ability to Sustain (understanding membership, organizational management to gain credibility)
  5. Ability to Move Forward (internal management, strategy-building, efficiency, developing independent sources of revenue, human resource development and leadership)
  6. Ability to Nurture (developing diverse human resources, motivation within organization, becoming equipped for risks)
  7. Ability to Involve Others (understanding particular skills of volunteers, volunteer coordination and management)
  8. Ability to Work with Others (evaluation of partnership projects before, during and after)
  9. Ability to Review (pre-project evaluation policymaking, evaluation implementation, applying evaluation results to future projects)
  10. Ability to Explain (understanding need for accounting, accounts structure, tax matters)
  11. Ability to Communicate and Disseminate (the prerequisites, purpose, method, information organization, design and outcomes of communication and publicity)

Simplified version:

  1. Mission, vision and strengths
  2. Project planning
  3. Management of human resources
  4. Organizational management and governance
  5. Fund management and accountability
Check sheet availability


Issue certification?


Time required

150 min. (15 min. for simplified version)

Evaluation method

Self-assessment covering 12 fields - Yes or No for 10 items for a total score of 120 (maximum of 120 points)

  • Understand the organization’s strengths and weaknesses through the number of checkmarks among the ten items per field.
  • Understand the organization’s overall footing through the total number of checkmarks.
  • Observe the organization’s changes and improvements by using the tool regularly, every few months.
Tool creation date

Original workbook created July 27, 2013
Check sheet created around spring of 2014


About 6,000 copies of original workbook distributed (5,963 as of December 16, 2015)


We are on a lookout to find good accountability practices in Asia-Pacific. If you feel that your organization provides a good example, use the following form to send us the information! If you have a question, please contact us.