What is capacity building and why is it important to nonprofit organizations?
Capacity Building is about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission and increase their effectiveness and substance to their programs thereby increasing their sustainability. Building capacity is vitally important to the nonprofit organization because it is about the organization continually improving, and taking themselves to the next level of operations, programs, finances, or maturity and efficiently advancing the mission of their organization.
WF Capacity Building Initiative
In 2013, Wiregrass Foundation participated in the Grantee Perception Report (GPR) Survey conducted by the Council for Effective Philanthropy. 39 of 50 program grantees provided valuable feedback that WF has used to strengthen our organization. One of the many issues highlighted was the critical need for professional development being experienced by our area nonprofits. Most did not feel that the Wiregrass Foundation could be of assistance. However, we respectfully disagreed. Our mission statement begins with the phrase,
“To energize the spirit and potential of our local community….”
What better way to accomplish this mission than to strengthen area nonprofit organizations, maximizing their ability to serve the people of the Wiregrass? We committed to focusing foundation resources of time and money on helping to build nonprofit capacity. CapCONNECT is our major capacity building initiative. Through CapCONNECT we are working to align the expressed needs of our grantees for specific development with our goal to energize and facilitate stronger organizations. Our project is led by a Development Team of area nonprofit CEO’s (we call them “champions”) and is assisted by TCC-Group, a strategic design and development organization. CapCONNECT requires a true commitment by participating organizations, but provides organizational self-assessment, access to individual coaching, workshops, and peer convenings. Tying in to the guidelines developed through Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, CapCONNECT is
The Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) was made available at no charge to the nonprofits. Individual reports and opportunities for confidential coaching sessions with TCC Group professionals, were also provided. The Development Team received only aggregate data regarding the needs and priorities of the participants with regard to training and development.
Based on the CCAT and additional information obtained originally from the Grantee Perception Report, three workshops were scheduled for Year One:
Facilitator and Presenter: Julie Simpson, TCC Group, Inc.
Presenter: Vernetta Walker, Boardsource
Presenter: Aimee White, Custom Evaluation Services
Engage Your Board, Increase Revenue, Long Term Funding Base
Presenter: Gail Perry – Fired Up Fundraising
Making Meaning Out of Your Money
WF has concluded its second year of the CapCONNECT capacity building program. TCC Group, Inc. (TCC) has been a respected source for facilitation, presentation, and guidance through the entire process. Over the first and second year of the CapCONNECT program (September 2015-August 2017), TCC conducted evaluations of the six workshops, the coaching, and the overall experience of grantees throughout the program. The evaluations included a survey for participating organizations asking for input on the quality and content of the workshops, the training provided by TCC Group, and their ability to take action based on workshop materials as it related to their capacity building goals.
As reported in the TCC Group evaluation survey, 93% of grantees surveyed felt the program was an excellent use of their staff’s time and would recommend CapCONNECT to other nonprofits. Specifically, 85% agreed that they have seen capacity building changes translate into programmatic effectiveness.
WF has also had a positive benefit come from the CapCONNECT program. WF has not only benefited from the workshops, we have been able to show our grantee partners that we are here to help them not only by being a funder but also increasing their level of comfort and trust in their relationship with the WF.
The ability to network and learn from other organizations was a highlight of the CapCONNECT program for many grantees. During interviews, grantees mentioned they felt it was an invaluable opportunity to be in the room with peers and learn the way other organizations operate and they were able to share ideas on managing similar challenges. The networking experience provided 79% of the participants to develop relationships with peer organizations that extended beyond the workshop – including collaboration on programming and projects.
Using the data collected in the initial CCAT aggregate analysis, Year 2 provided workshops related to Fundraising and Donor Stewardship, Marketing and Outreach, and Budgeting and Finance. TCC Group has guided the implementation of the workshops with clear objectives and ending with a grantee partner survey to evaluate the second year.
Many of the grantees expressed the challenges of staffing and not always having time to focus on implementing capacity building ideas while also being responsible for their regular duties in the organization’s operations. Each organization in CapCONNECT and WF understands the time and dedication it takes to do follow up and make significant change.
CapCONNECT Non-profit partners:
- Alfred Saliba Family Services Center
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Wiregrass
- Chrysalis – A Home for Girls
- Dothan Education Foundation
- Dothan-Houston County Library System
- DuBois Institute
- Girls, Inc. – Dothan
- Mary Hill Family Services Center
- Neighborhood Restoration Council
- Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging (SARCOA)
- Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center
- Wiregrass Angel House
- Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity
- Wiregrass Hope Group
- Wiregrass Humane Society
- WRC, Inc.
- Wiregrass Spay & Neuter Alliance
- Wiregrass United Way
- Wiregrass United Way 2-1-1