Path to Impact

Boost for Scotland’s third sector through free assessment tool, funded by Big Lottery Fund.

ACOSVO (Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations) is delighted to announce the launch of a project that will work with 100 third sector organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland to help them better understand and strengthen their capacity.

The project, in partnership with CO3 (Chief Officers Third Sector) in Northern Ireland, has received a grant of £358,810 from the Big Lottery Fund. It will use the online diagnostic Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) to help participating organisations to better understand their strengths and areas for development, allow support providers and funders to deliver more targeted support, and provide a comparative dataset on the capacity of the Scottish and Northern Irish third sectors for the first time.

The project will also run workshops and one to one support for the groups that take part to help them understand and address the findings of the assessment and share learning within the sector.

Pat Armstrong, Chief Executive of ACOSVO said:

“Path to Impact offers an exciting opportunity for third sector leaders to increase the effectiveness of their own organisations and make a valuable contribution to developing the capacity and sustainability of the sector as a whole.”

The Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) provides an organisational health check examining an organisation’s:

  • Adaptive capacity
  • Leadership capacity
  • Management capacity
  • Technical capacity

It also includes a measure of organisational culture since it has a significant impact of each of the above elements. When each organisation finishes the CCAT assessment they will receive a report to help them determine their strengths and recommend opportunities for improvement. 

Nora Smith, Chief Executive of CO3, said:

“The third sector, broadly understood as the vast array of charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises, is undergoing a huge transformative process. Part of the challenge is understanding the capacity needs of their organisations, their areas of strength, and what support the leaders and their organisations need.  We want to ensure that through the CCAT assessment, third sector organisations will be better informed and gain a clear understanding of the forces at play to help them become more sustainable in the future.”

Jackie Killeen, Scotland Director Big Lottery Fund said:

“These kinds of diagnostic tools have the potential to make a big difference, helping organisations to understand their strengths and areas for improvement so they can be effective in their work and make the best of their funding. We hope to learn from the groups who participate, so that funders and the sector as a whole can learn, adapt and develop how we work together."

For further information on the proposal and/or to register your interest visit: