Strategic Capacity Building

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Nonprofits sometimes struggle with how to get the funds needed to build capacity. Many grantors will only fund programs that deliver needed services to clients. Some nonprofits do not have enough donors of unrestricted gifts to enable them to build the capacity that the desperately need. What can they do?

One possible solution is to take a strategic approach to capacity building. Identify the service that you want to deliver more of to meet your constituents urgent needs. Define a way of measuring how much of that service you are currently delivering and how much you must deliver to meet the needs of your constituents.

Then identify the capacities that you must increase in order to deliver that level of service, by how much you need to increase each capacity, and what the cost of each capacity increase is. Make sure that every capacity increase is absolutely necessary to deliver the planned service level, and that the sum of the capacity increases is sufficient to make delivery feasible.

This resulting strategy or business plan is now also a compelling and highly defensible “Case for Giving”. You are no longer asking for funds to build a capacity. You are asking for the funds needed to implement a well thought-out business plan for delivering the service that your constituents desperately need. That is a much more compelling “Ask” to make.

So what do you do if the capacity you want to build is not needed to deliver those additional services? Then you must ask yourself  “Why do you want funding to build a capacity that isn’t absolutely necessary to serve your constituents’ needs?”

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County