Capacity Building (Nonprofit)

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    Capacity Building (Nonprofit)

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC

    Capacity building has fast become a major topic among nonprofits and management support organizations (funders, associations, training centers, consultants, etc.) that provide services to nonprofits.
    There are a variety of definitions for capacity building. Perhaps the most fundamental definition is “actions that improve nonprofit effectiveness” (from Investing in Capacity Building by Barbara Blumenthal, published by The Foundation Center). Some other discussions about capacity building refer to the concept as actions that enhance a nonprofit’s ability to work towards its mission.

    The concept of capacity building in nonprofits is similar to the concept of organizational development, organizational effectiveness and/or organizational performance management in for-profits. Capacity
    building efforts can include a broad range of approaches, eg, granting operating funds, granting management development funds, providing training and development sessions, providing coaching,
    supporting collaboration with other nonprofits, etc. Prominent methods of organizational performance management in for-profits are beginning to be mentioned in discussions about capacity building, as well, for example, the Balanced Scorecard, principles of organizational change, cultural change, organizational learning, etc.

    Information in this topic of the Library will acquaint you with the concept of capacity building in nonprofits, including offering you a broad background from some suggested previous readings, numerous perspectives on capacity building from numerous articles, and then review of various common functions in nonprofits (eg, boards, role of CEO, programs, marketing, fundraising, finances, evaluation, etc.). The topic closes with review of major methods of organizational performance management.

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    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Nonprofit Capacity Building

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Nonprofit Capacity Building. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.


    Suggested Previous Readings

    Articles About Capacity Building

    There are an increasing number of publications about the general topic of nonprofit capacity building. The following list will help you to get you started. Some items on the list are not available as online articles and need to be ordered from the publisher.

    Common Functions in Nonprofits

    The following links are to information about the major functions typically carried out in nonprofit organizations. An understanding of these functions is important to the success of capacity building efforts.

    Organizational Change and Performance Management Approaches

    The following approaches are some of the most common for enhancing the performance of an organization.

    Shutting Down a Nonprofit

    There seems to be an increasing number of people who believe that, once a nonprofit has addressed the social need that it was started to meet, then it should shut down — or “sunsetted.”






    For the Category of Capacity Building (Nonprofit):

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.