How healthy is your organisation?

Photo: © iStock/Valengilda

Organisational health

The Health Check

The Health Check is a self-assessment tool designed to help international development organisations understand their strengths and weaknesses. Staff score their organisation in 11 key areas and the results are benchmarked against the sector.


Organisations are using the Health Check to meet a variety of needs. It enables them to:

  • identify and prioritise areas for improvement, particularly during strategic or operational planning processes, or changes in management;
  • understand strengths and weaknesses relative to the sector;
  • get clear and actionable feedback from staff and stakeholders;
  • measure change and improvement in organisational health over time; and
  • measure the effectiveness of capacity-building programmes over time.

We used the Health Check to get an idea of what the organisation feels about itself. It's especially useful for providing insight so you can smartly put new resources into the right areas.

Edward Watkiss, Head of Operations, Farm Africa

How it works

Organisations can choose to be assessed on any combination, or all, of the 11 key areas. These relate to the core functions found in most international development organisations:

  1. Identity and integrity
  2. Leadership and strategy
  3. Partners
  4. Beneficiaries
  5. Programmes
  6. People
  7. Money
  8. External relations
  9. Monitoring, evaluation and learning
  10. Internal collaboration
  11. Influencing

For each area, users are guided to assess and reflect on key practices and characteristics within their organisation, and to rate themselves against descriptive statements of different levels of organisational capacity and effective practice. Users can also add comments to support their scores.

Staff can be invited to respond to the entire survey or specific pillars where they hold the greatest insights. This ensures the process is efficient, whilst enabling organisations to get feedback from a wide range of perspectives. Trustees, volunteers and country offices can also complete the Health Check.

As an alternative to a survey, organisations may choose to hold internal discussions on the indicators and determine a single agreed score to input online. In all cases, respondents can cite evidence to justify their choice of scores.

Getting the most out of the tool

The Health Check is a diagnostic tool. The results for an organisation provide interesting data, but data alone does not lead to improved effectiveness: it can help prompt and inform action. Feedback from users has suggested that follow-up action on Health Check results is most likely to occur when:

  • there is strong buy-in and commitment from organisational leaders;
  • its use is timed to inform strategic or operational planning;
  • there is a participatory process to discuss Health Check scores and possible actions;
  • it is used as part of a bigger planned process to increase effectiveness, eg combined with a commitment of time and resources to make improvements; and
  • the organisation chooses to complete only those pillars and indicators of the Health Check relevant to their organisation's work, and ensures that staff understand the meaning of generic terms used in the tool in their specific context (eg "partners").

Support after your Health Check

Bond offers training and services to help organisations improve their performance on a range of issues covered by the Health Check. There are also over 40 Bond groups covering a range of issues that members can join for free.

We have also collated high quality and accessible resources on selected pillars of the Health Check, prioritising areas of common weakness, which can be used to support individual organisations to improve and learn from good practice in the sector. Resources are available for beneficiary participation, partnership, influencing, and monitoring and evaluation.

Toolkit Download - Health Check

You can download a PDF of the Health Check survey, and an Excel spreadsheet of the indicators used. You can also download a PDF version of the Health Check survey in French or in Spanish.

In order to allow us to monitor use of the Health Check, please fill in a few details and we'll email you a link to these files.