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?
SVP’s approach to capacity building can be broken down into six basic steps.
#1 Offer Resources
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…
#3 Provide Tools
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. The OCAT helps the Investee identify and prioritize the capacity building areas where they want to focus their efforts. These areas 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
Investees are also asked to review the tool annually so that progress can be measured over time.
#4 Develop a Plan and Implement It
After the OCAT, 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.
#5 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 3-5 year funding relationship.
#6 Report Capacity Building Changes
After 3-5 years, we ask our “graduating” Investees to complete the OCAT once again – measuring progress in each of the ten capacity building areas.