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What is Capacity Building?
Effective nonprofits are vital to the healthy development and quality of life in any community. But what do we mean by effective? Often that term is used as a quality indicator measuring the positive impact of an organization's direct services upon its service recipients - what knowledge, skills, behaviors or conditions have changed to contribute to the betterment of an individual and/or a community.
However, while effective programs and services are the most visible aspect of an organization, what provides the impetus to produce these desired results is the quality of the structural core that supports these consumable products. Like a vegetable garden, if we do not pay attention to the soil content, root structures and other variables that support and sustain the growing system, our products wane, wither and may eventually succumb, as they are ill-prepared to endure the stress of the ever changing environment.
Capacity building then is a process of implementing activities critical to the long-term viability and support of an organization. While there are many models, information and definitions of capacity building, a common thread throughout all of them is that it is about intentional, coordinated and mission driven efforts aimed at strengthening the management and governance of nonprofits to improve organizational performance and impact. This often occurs through targeted activities focusing on improving core skills and capabilities such as:
- Leadership development and succession planning
- Strong governance
- Strategic planning
- Board development
- Community engagement and collaboration
- Sound management
- Marketing and communications
- Human resources management
- Staff training and development
- Program design, evaluation, outcomes
- Technology, accountability systems and IS
- Financial planning,/fund raising and revenue development
In summary, the goal of capacity building is to increase organizational infrastructure and bolster sustainability. By building or increasing an organization's capacity, the effectiveness of programmatic activities and organizational operations will also increase. The bottom line is MORE - if an organization is equipped to function smoothly at the operational level, its profile in the community will increase, it will retain great staff, develop and implement better programs, engage more stakeholders, and be more likely to acquire funding in the future from diverse sources. The end result is the organization's ability to offer more effective services to those in the community who need them most.
Capacity Building Grant Opportunities
Effective nonprofit organizations are vital to the healthy development and quality of life in our community. Challenges and opportunities for growth are diverse, complex and often best addressed through creative approaches. The Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant program was created to support Toledo area nonprofits with resources to achieve more effective and efficient use of financial and human resources and to enhance service and program delivery. Due to the nature of capacity building, this grant program will make funds available for non-recurring costs associated with feasibility studies, professional and/or technical assistance fees or staff/board training.
Visit our RFP page for more information regarding upcoming opportunities.