Many nonprofits start from an identified need in the community and a passion for making a difference. When I was starting my organization in 2012, I was also pursuing my Master’s in Nonprofit Management. The second I completed my nonprofit filing paperwork, I knew that we would be flooded with donations, and I would be able to focus on my executive director duties of fundraising…then I woke up, L.O.L.
Fortunately, once we received our 501(c)(3) status, we raised funds and got in-kind donations that saved me from having to use my personal funds from the inception of the organization. Even though the donations came in, it was not to my desired level. One of the reasons being we needed to build the organization’s foundation, aka capacity building. Learning this lesson within my first year is one of the reasons now when I meet with a new organization that wants to jump straight into seeking grants, I cringe. Most of the time, the basic foundation to become grant-ready has not been built yet; therefore, this can result in many resources and time lost for the organization.
Defined by the Council of Nonprofits,
“Capacity building is 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. Capacity building is not a one-time effort to improve short-term effectiveness, but a continuous improvement strategy toward the creation of a sustainable and effective organization.” [i]
Think about this: does a baby start walking the first day after birth? No. Does a seed get planted, and the next day it’s an apple tree? No. The tough reality is whether we want to face it or not, an organization in the first year will not be at the same place as an organization in year 10. But it can grow to the level of the organization in year 10 quicker with the right resources, tools, and people in place. Building a nonprofit is a process you must nourish and invest into building its foundation. Nonprofit Enthusiast is designed to help organizations build organizational capacity, so they are equipped to take their nonprofit to the next level. Let’s us help you save time and money today https://nonprofitenthusiast.com/services/.
[i] “What Is Capacity Building?” National Council of Nonprofits, 18 Nov. 2020, https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/what-capacity-building.