User Guide

Please read through the following notes in order to get the most benefit out of the VCSE Strength Checker.

The Strength Checker has been designed to help you plan to secure your long term future and safe guard the services you provide to your beneficiaries.

It will take about 40 minutes to complete (you can save your answers and return to them at a later date) and can be used by any type or size of VSCE organisation. The process of considering your future, your strengths and your development areas, and progressing both short and long term planning, is vital to your organisation and we hope that completing the Strength Checker will help you.

In order to use the Strength Checker you will need to register on the site. This requires a valid email address to complete registration.

To get the most out of this review:

  • Respond openly and honestly to the questions.

  • Consider completing the questions as a management team. Working through these questions will take a little longer if you discuss it with colleagues, but you will learn more about your organisation and what others think.

  • Think about using an external “critical friend” to help you really challenge yourself.

Make sure you have the following documentation to hand:

  • Most recent audited accounts
  • Most recent management accounts
  • Staff Structure
  • Next year’s budgets
  • Fundraising/income generation information and breakdowns 

Some tips on how to use the Strength Checker

  • You can skip a question and return to it later

  • You can amend your answers at any time.

  • Some questions have sliders to allow you to record your answers. Position the slider where you think it best fits your organisation according to the descriptions given. If you think you are in between two descriptions, you can move the slider to an appropriate position between them.

  • Don't worry too much about the precise positioning of a slider. A little nudge will not affect things greatly - thinking about what the question means and how you can improve is much more important.


If you have any problems with registration or the use of the VCSE Strength Checker, please visit our Support FAQ where you can find answers to all of the most common issues. If your question is not answered in our FAQ you can get in touch with our support team using the webform provided.

Your Data

As part of the government's transparency agenda, we are required to list all government owned datasets on and work under the presumption to publish all data as open data where possible. By submitting information into this diagnostic tool, you agree to the data you provide potentially being published for use by third parties for the purposes of furthering understanding of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, and of interventions to support it. Any data that is shared with third parties will be in anonymous form and all necessary steps will be taken to ensure you or your organisation will not be identifiable.