What Is Nonprofit Capacity Building?
At Social Venture Partners 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. Our approach is hands-on and interactive with the nonprofits.
Social Venture Partners Approach to Capacity Building
SVP builds organizational capacity by providing general operating funds, skilled volunteers, professional consultants, and leadership development/management training opportunities.
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. To help us do that we use the Organization Capacity Assessment Tool…
All Investees use the Organization Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) upon receiving a grant. The OCAT is self-administered – typically completed by the Executive Director and key leadership from the staff and board. Investees are also asked to review the tool annually so that progress can be measured over time. The OCAT helps the Investee identify and prioritize the capacity building areas where they want to focus their efforts. The ten areas of focus include:
– Financial Management
– Fund Development
– Information Technology
– Marketing and Communications
– Program Outcomes and Evaluation
– Human Resources
– Mission, Vision, Strategy, and Planning
– Legal Affairs
– Leadership Development
– Board Leadership
Develop a Plan and Implement It
After the assessment, Investees develop an Annual Work Plan to define their goals and provide a roadmap for their partnership with SVP. From there SVP matches each Investee with volunteer or paid consultants who can help them reach those goals.
Check In On Progress
Each year our Investees 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 Investee also meets semi-annually with the SVP’s Portfolio Grant Committee, which reviews work plan progress and helps identify ways to optimize the three to five year funding relationship.
Report Capacity Building Changes
When the Investee graduates from our program, we ask them to complete the assessment once again – measuring progress in each of the ten capacity building areas.