Nonprofit Capacity Building And Why It’s Critical
No matter what your nonprofit’s mission is, no doubt it was started to help as many people in need as possible. Once the arduous process of getting your organization off the ground and established is completed, your next area of focus should be on growing it. To accomplish this growth, you will need to build capacity, that is infrastructure and processes to support your work. Managing this can be complicated and challenging, but also extremely rewarding. When handled correctly, it puts you and your team in the best position not only to help others today, but also well into the future. It’s an investment that pays off substantial dividends because it lays the groundwork for a successful infrastructure to meet demands now and tomorrow. It’s the difference between a small, local enterprise and one that delivers the maximum impact to build stronger communities everywhere.
Practically every element of your operations can fall under these efforts. Examples of nonprofit capacity building can include everything from encouraging and supporting your staff’s professional development to crafting your branding strategies to securing quality office space and facilities. Although they may not seem connected at first, they all have the same goal — improving your nonprofit’s ability to accomplish its missions and serve its community.
Why This Matters
It takes much more than good intentions to effect positive change in the world. Even the most motivated and enthusiastic teams can fail if they’re not prepared for the obstacles they may encounter. To be at their most effective and sustainable, these groups need to have the skills and resources necessary to navigate through problems and expand without overextending themselves.
This is key for organizations because failing to do so can leave them vulnerable. Without a stable foundation, one’s projects and efforts can fall apart no matter how focused you may be on your goals. Substandard facilities and equipment can hurt your ability to serve others. Poor communication between leadership and the rank-and-file could create frustration and conflict that eats away at your effectiveness. The lack of a consistent and clearly stated vision can lead to your nonprofit drifting away from its stated principles and mission.
Specific Strategies for Capacity Building
Because practically every element of a nonprofit can be and often should be rolled into such an initiative, it can be difficult for leadership to know where to begin. How and where you choose to get started ultimately is up to you, but there are some specific strategies that many organizations utilize when undergoing this procedure. These include:
- Establishing an internal culture: Although this is normal in the corporate world, many nonprofits don’t realize how important it can be for their efforts. It involves establishing a set of values, hiring people who live them, and setting up a framework for ensuring everyone follow them.
- Examining available resources: Do you have everything you need to address the current level of demand? What if you experience an increase? It’s important to take stock of your assets on a regular basis and upgrade them when necessary.
- Training staff members: It’s important to recruit those who are dedicated to your mission and are willing to give their full effort to it. However, it’s also crucial to support them by giving them the education and training they need to make the most difference.
- Fundraising: Without financial support, it is virtually impossible to grow. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your nonprofit from running out of resources.
Achieving Success for Your Nonprofit
Every nonprofit is different. However, the most effective of these initiatives typically share some common elements in their strategies. Among these are:
- Realistic timelines: Change won’t happen overnight, and simply being optimistic about achieving your goals right away won’t make it so. Be prepared to be patient as you implement your plans.
- Top-down involvement: Your board may develop the plan, but it requires buy-in from everyone in your organization to be successful with it. Involving representatives from every level can help ensure that no perspective is overlooked or ignored.
- Dedicated funding: Make this a part of your operating budget and consider it an investment in your group’s sustainability. This can strengthen your ability to bring these ideas into reality.
- Outside expertise: Working with a consultant can help you hit the ground running by showing you where to go. This means you won’t need to struggle as much with finding your direction or knowing what to do next.
Choose La Piana Consulting
If you’re ready to embark on such a program but don’t know how to get started, La Piana Consulting can be there for you. Our nonprofit capacity building consulting services are highly collaborative and focused on doing what’s right for you and the causes you serve. To learn more about our capabilities, get in touch with us today.