Support Nonprofit Resilience
From community foundations to private family foundations, funders are taking a renewed look at capacity building grants. Building capacity is needed now more than ever to counter-balance the impact of severe budget cut-backs, both in state/federal grants, and the reduction of other sources of revenue, such as gifts by private individuals and other philanthropic sources. Consequently, there is a growing recognition that investments are needed to ensure a strong foundation for future sustainability. (Examples: helping boards and staff understand their own financial model, and board training so that board members understand how to read financial statements and participate in resource development).
We offer the resources below as a starting point for funders seeking to understand the important role their work can play in capacity building for the sector.
- To help grantmakers support nonprofit resilience, GEO has compiled answers to some of the most common questions about financial sustainability, capacity building and leadership development.
- The three top funding practices that allow nonprofits to achieve better results are: support for capacity building, multi-year grants, and general operating support. Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter - A National Field Study of Grantmaker Practices (Source: GEO, 2011.)
- Nonprofit Capacity and Community Building in Central Illinois (Lumpkin Family Foundation, 2006) describes the experience of one private foundation’s capacity building programs.
- Why is building communications capacity so critical for nonprofits? (Source: Spitfire Strategies).
- Strengthening Nonprofit Performance: A Funder’s Guide to Capacity Building, Paul Connolly and Carol Lukas (2002), is a comprehensive guide for funders describing reasons to invest in capacity building, means of providing assistance, and specific examples of capacity building projects, and how to evaluate the results.
- An Analysis of the Pittsburgh Region’s Capacity-Building Industry: Who is Doing What for Whom and to What End, a report of the Forbes Funds (2004), identifies barriers to effective capacity building as well as factors leading to leveraging capacity building into organizational change.
- Built to Last- A Grantmaker’s Guide to Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations, by Paul Connolly, TCC Group (2001), offers specific suggestions on how grantmakers can leverage their support into stronger organizations through capacity buiding support.
- The Foundation Center offers a bibliography of research, reports, case studies and articles on capacity building.
- Writing proposals for capacity building (Grantsmanship Center).
What is Capacity Building?
Examples of Effective Capacity Building
Evaluating Capacity Building Efforts
Who Funds Capacity Building?
Read about sustainable and sound management practices for charitable nonprofits.