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What We Care About

Capacity Building

Grantmakers who put the work in to provide effective capacity-building support help ensure that nonprofits have what they need to deliver on their missions over the long term.

27%

of funders increased the total dollars for capacity building from 2011 – 2014

Strong programs exist in strong organizations, and the strongest nonprofits are adaptable and resilient. They have effective leaders, good financial management, the ability to collaborate with others, and the space to plan, executive and assess new strategies. Capacity building is what allows nonprofits to build these skills and expertise — and more — so that they have what it takes to tackle deep-rooted problems.

GEO defines capacity building as the funding and technical assistance to help nonprofits increase specific capacities to deliver stronger programs, take risks, build connections, innovate and iterate. There may not be one right way to go about this, but half-measures or overly prescriptive approaches can do more harm than good. Effective capacity building requires a high degree of trust between nonprofits and grantmakers. Before considering what types of support to provide, we need to have a deep understanding of what nonprofits would find most helpful and a clear picture of what other funders already offer. Grantmakers who put the work in to provide effective capacity-building support help ensure that nonprofits have what they need to deliver on their missions over the long term.

“We recognize that the only way we can achieve our mission and vision is if we have strong grantee partners.”

Paul Beaudet, executive director, Wilburforce Foundation

Helpful Tools and Resources

Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.

  • Publication

    Reimagining Capacity Building: Navigating Culture, Systems & Power

    This paper builds on the principles outlined in Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity and will take a critical look at the ways in which capacity-building practices can be grounded in approaches that acknowledge and center racial equity.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • October 2021
  • Perspective

    Request for Proposals: Website Design and Development with Content and Customer Relationship Management System Integration

    GEO is planning a major website redesign with content and customer relationship management system integration in support of our organizational goals and meet our evolving needs. This Request for Proposals is to identify a vendor partner with the skills, experience and vision to support this effort.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2021
  • Perspective

    Great News for the GEO Community

    GEO is thrilled to share we has been selected as one of 286 organizations receiving funding in a new round of grants from MacKenzie Scott.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • June 2021
  • Perspective

    Cross-post: Learning from Two Decades of Grantee Relationships

    Decision-makers such as elected officials and institutional funders have historically ignored and underinvested in BIPOC communities. Conscientious funders are asking big, long-overdue questions: how do grantmaking policies, practices, and cultures play a role in perpetuating imbalances in power and resource allocation? How can we, as grantmakers, address that?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2020
  • Perspective

    Cross-post: How to Discuss Merger Exploration with Grantees

    In the COVID-19 world, funders may increasingly find themselves in discussions with nonprofit partners about merger exploration as a potential way to ensure that mission and organizational needs continue to be met. We are seeing an upswell of interest and are encouraged by the sector’s willingness to provide funding for sustained collaboration efforts.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2020

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Perspectives on Philanthropy

Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.

  • The CCAT is a leading tool for measuring a nonprofit’s organizational effectiveness in relation to four core capacities – leadership, adaptability, management, and technical – as well as organizational culture.

Related Topics

Strengthening Relationships

When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions.

Learn More

Flexible, Reliable Funding

When we provide funding that gives nonprofits space to innovate and the security to know our support is here for the long haul, they worry less about their own survival and focus more on responding to shifts in their environment and lifting up their communities.

Learn More
Nichole Hoeflich

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