The National Council for Nonprofits defines capacity building as “whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future.” But as social sector funding becomes more competitive than ever before, it is likely the already limited number of grants specifically designated for capacity building will also become even more scarce. So what can you do today to better position your organization to ensure its long-term sustainability, not only in terms of funding, but to move your organization to the next stage of development—even in the midst of today’s unpredictable environment?
Adopt the mindset and behaviors of an impact-centric organization. Successful organizations track and measure both outputs and outcomes. (We cover this topic at length in our blog here.) While this does require dedicated attention and resources, the positive news is that the tools and information your organization needs to achieve this already exist to create a framework for answering these three questions that impact-centric organizations ask, answer and seek to continuously improve upon: what was done (outputs), how well was it done (quality), and who is better off (outcomes).
Invest in a technology infrastructure that will help you track and analyze these three types of data. This investment will provide a return on investment in three ways.
Increase your organization’s capacity simply by streamlining what types of data you capture and how you capture them.
Help you more effectively deliver on your mission, both now and well in the future. By consistently capturing the data and analyzing it on a regular basis, your organization will adopt a data-driven approach to decision making that brings what is working (or what isn’t working) into sharper focus. Over time, this can result in cost savings and increased impact.
Strengthen your ability to share powerful and timely stories of social impact with board members, staff, donors and funders, and other community stakeholders.
Capacity building is not just a one-and-done deal, but rather it provides the foundation for the development of an organizational culture that values and puts strategies for continuous improvement into practice across all levels of the organization. From developing a communications strategy to increasing participant engagement, or investing in new technology to improve how you measure your outcomes, all of this infrastructure factors into an organization’s long-term viability, and defines nonprofits as leaders within their cause area as a force for good.
If your organization is curious about further exploring how impact-centric organizations take on the challenge of capacity building, our team at SureImpact would love to speak with you. Contact us today to learn how you can better track, manage and communication your organization’s unique social impact.