When grantmakers consider providing capacity-building support for the first time or refining their existing capacity-building support, it can be challenging to figure out where to begin. What kind of questions should we ask? Where should we focus? What is the best way to provide support?

Strengthening Grantees: Foundation and Nonprofit Perspectives highlights that grantmakers can work to better understand the needs of nonprofits, as well as partner with the organizations they fund to ensure that their capacity-building support meets those organizations’ true needs. GEO’s publication, Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity, explores the ways that grantmakers can do just that. By supporting organizations to strengthen their leadership and improve the ability of their staff and board members to perform at their best, philanthropy can help ensure that nonprofits have what they need to deliver on their missions over the long haul.

GEO advocates for the “three C’s of capacity-building support”: make it contextual, make it continuous, and make it collective. The EmpowerHealth program meets these standards of a strong capacity-building program:

  • Contextual: By using the CCAT tool to help assess nonprofit needs, EmpowerHealth is able to tailor their support to each nonprofit.
  • Continuous: The program provides continuous support throughout the cohort program, reinforcing that the foundation is willing to be a long-term partner.
  • Collective: By structuring peer learning and resources for all participants and encouraging staff and board to attend together, EmpowerHealth provides collective support.

Read the full article about capacity-building support by Joi Ridley at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.