The organizations we partner with are tackling some of our community’s toughest problems – and they are ready to take their work to the next level.
They’ve recognized ways that their organizations could be stronger and are working with SVP to make that happen. In any given year, we engage with local nonprofits, providing two kinds of support.
Multiyear, General Operating Support
We believe that change takes time, and that those closest to the work are best equipped to make important decisions. Our Grantees can depend on multiyear of funding, and they are free to spend that money where they see fit. Learn more >>
Nonprofit Capacity Building
Things like sound financial systems, effective board governance, and up-to-date technology can make the difference between serving hundreds versus thousands of individuals. That’s why we strengthen organizations from the inside out – matching them with volunteers who can help amplify their impact. Learn more >>
What It Looks Like on the Ground
Trust. Between funders and nonprofits, it’s key to a successful relationship.
Power dynamics can get in the way. That’s why SVP gives multiyear grants. Building trust takes time, and change doesn’t happen without trust.
We ask a lot of our nonprofit partners. We ask them to show us where they need help. It’s not usually the side you show a funder. But when we finally have the conversation – that’s when we all know we’re getting somewhere.
Trust also allows us to get out of the way when we’re not needed. SVP is not in the business of telling nonprofits what their mission should be, or what their programs should focus on. Our Grantees are the experts. Likewise, they know where they need to spend their money.
Most grants nonprofits receive are restricted. Nonprofits have to spend the funds on specific programs (e.g. providing backpacks for students in need). They can only use a small percentage – if any – to cover their “overhead,” which can include anything from rent to the administrative assistant’s salary.
We believe that this distinction is unnecessary and hamstrings nonprofits. (And we’re not alone on this.)
What impact is the organization having on our community? Can they demonstrate it? Have we built a relationship on a foundation of mutual trust? These are the questions we focus on. If the answers are solid, where our Grantees spend their grant dollars is irrelevant.
What Is Nonprofit Capacity Building?
At SVP we define capacity building as the development of core skills, management practices, strategies, and systems to enhance an organization’s effectiveness, sustainability and ability to fulfill its mission.
What’s Our Approach?
#1 Offer Resources
To help build organizational capacity, we combine grant funding and highly skilled volunteers who provide strategic counsel in areas such as: general management, leadership development, strategic and business planning, marketing and communications, finance and revenue development, board development and governance, and human resource management, all with an eye towards growth, replication, and deepening impact.
We recognize that nonprofit practitioners are the program experts, and we aim to complement that expertise by working in partnership with those organizations. Therefore, the first step is listening to what they need.
#3 Organizational Assessment
At the onset of our relationship with a new Grantee, a team of Partner volunteers works to identify substantive and core organizational development and capacity building areas by conducting an organizational assessment.
#4 Develop a Plan and Implement It
After the initial assessment, Grantees develop a work plan to define their goals and provide a roadmap for their partnership with SVP. From there, we match each Grantee with Partner volunteers who can help them reach those goals.
#5 Check On Progress
Each year our Grantees revisit their work plan and set new goals. They meet regularly with a Lead Partner from SVP who helps to manage volunteer projects and acts as an advocate and liaison for the organization. In partnership with each Grantee, SVP reviews work plan progress annually and helps identify ways to optimize the multiyear funding relationship.