Friday, July 17, 2009

Alliance Conference: Capacity Building

It's the final day of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management Conference and I'm excited to be in the presence of some amazing bloggers. Check out their posts about the conference here, here and here.

Paul Connolly from the TCC group, an expert in the nonprofit capacity building arena is leading a breakout session this morning titled, "Partnering with funders to develop capacity building programs." Paul Connolly and his business partner Peter York have written numerous articles about nonprofit capacity building. These articles are available (for free) on their website.

He and his co-presenter explain there are four types of capacities nonprofit organizations have:
  • Leadership Capacity: Advancing the mission of the organization;
  • Adaptive Capacity: Monitoring what is going on inside and outside of the organization;
  • Management Capacity: Understanding organizational system, and;
  • Technical Capacity: Day-to-day work of the organization.
Unfortunately many nonprofits want to address technical capacity issues (e.g. building a database, implementing an accounting system) and do not focus on leadership and adaptive capacity issues.

The goal of capacity building should be to improve all four capacities!

Funders generally help nonprofits with a variety of capacity building issues, but generally this funding and support is very specific and only addresses one of the four capacities areas listed above.

This session explains how funders can plan and implement a comprehensive capacity building program for their grantees. This comprehensive program can then ripple beyond the nonprofit organizations themselves into the community, sector, and beyond.

The goal is to purposefully plan what the capacity building program will look like:
  • program length
  • level of support provided to nonprofits
  • those involved in the process (e.g. consultants, trainers)
  • how nonprofits are selected to participate in capacity building program
  • level of support provided to the nonprofits
  • measuring program success
  • follow up after the program is concluded.
In sucessful comprehensive capacity building programs funders provide grants, consulting, coaching, peer exchange, training and convenings to nonprofits.

1 comment:

Bill Huddleston said...

Up and Coming Non-profit Leaders - where do they devlop their skills?

Part of the answer can be through workplace giving:

1. It provides funds for capacity building since the monies raised are unrestricted, reliable and predictable (and have a 12 month revenue stream).

2. It provides great opportunities for leadership development, see my article about this at:


Bill Huddleston
The CFC Coach

P.S. Think workplace giving is "small potatoes"? If the CFC were a foundation, in terms of actual giving, (not just asset size), it would be the 10th largest foundation in the United States. Which fundraising course told you that?