Other Capacity-Building Instruments, Including Non-Monetary

Not every foundation can have a separate organizational effectiveness portfolio, or even make dedicated capacity-building or general operating grants. Funding resources might be limited or there may not be the right staff to execute these strategies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in organizational capacity building using other support mechanisms you already have available.

  • Some foundations make specialized investments, like capital grants, grants with matching requirements, endowment investments in social enterprises, and fellowships, which can become growth tools for strengthening key organizational components, like financial health and leadership development.
  • Some foundations offer workshops, primers, and intensives to grow nonprofit capacity-building knowledge, sometimes in partnership with capacity-building providers. Topics range from the elementals of board governance, fundraising, leadership, and advocacy to more targeted subjects, like how to strengthen organizational operating reserves, work with consultants and coaches, and improve individual donor fundraising.
  • Sometimes foundation staff lend their individual capacity-building expertise outside of work, volunteering time or serving on nonprofit boards.
  • Some foundation staff provide capacitybuilding technical assistance as part of their work, meeting with grantees to share advice and help them solve capacity-building challenges they face. Foundations can convene or host retreats that yield capacity-building benefits by the very act of connecting grantees to each other.