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SVP International

Nonprofit Capacity Building

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

SVP builds organizational capacity by providing general operating funds, skilled volunteers, professional consultants, and leadership development/management training opportunities.

#2 Listen

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 Provide Tools

All Grantees use the SVP Boston Capacity Building Rubric upon receiving a grant. The Rubric can be self-administered (completed by the Executive Director and key leadership from the staff and board) or administered together with SVP Partners and Grantee senior staff. Grantees are also asked to review the tool annually so that progress can be measured over time. The Rubric helps SVP and the Grantee identify and prioritize the capacity building areas to focus their efforts. These areas include:

  • Mission, Vision, Strategy, and Planning
  • Leadership Development
  • Staff Development
  • Program Outcomes and Evaluation
  • Governance
  • Fund Development
  • Systems Development

#4 Develop a Plan and Implement It

After the Rubric, Grantees develop an Annual Work Plan to define their goals and provide a roadmap for their partnership with SVP. From there SVP matches each Grantee with Partner volunteers or paid consultants 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. Each Grantee also meets semi-annually with the SVP’s Portfolio Grant Committee, which reviews work plan progress and helps identify ways to optimize the 3 year funding relationship.

#6 Report Capacity Building Changes

After 3 years, we ask our “graduating” Grantees to complete the Rubric once again – measuring progress in each of the seven capacity building areas.