Capacity Building Self-Assessment Tool

Technical Assistance in Systems Building for State Leaders

Technical assistance to support systems building, including strategic planning, is available through the State Capacity Building Center and may be available through other federal technical assistance centers. Please check with your State Systems Specialist for more information.

Early childhood systems strive to obtain, strengthen, implement and sustain effective practices that work to improve outcomes for communities, children, and families. Capacity building can play an important role in supporting systems’ efforts to achieve their goals. This guide introduces a framework for understanding organizational capacity that is currently used by the State Capacity Building Center. It also describes key capacity building concepts and provides information and links to resources on different aspects of how to improve capacity.


The guide is designed to support early childhood system professionals to:

  • Understand organizational capacity and its various dimensions
  • Set a foundation for assessing capacity needs and gaps
  • Think about capacity as part of your organization’s or program’s improvement initiatives


You can read the guide in its entirety or focus on specific dimensions of interest. This guide is also formatted into a PDF which contains a rating tool to conduct a self-assessment to determine capacity strengths and challenges. 


The self-assessment tool in this document is based on the McKinsey Capacity Assessment Grid, which was created by McKinsey & Company and published in Effective Capacity Building in Nonprofit Organizations (2001), which was produced for Venture Philanthropy Partners (www.vppartners.org). It is adapted, reprinted, copied, and distributed with the permission of Venture Philanthropy Partners.