Nonprofit sustainability, or the ability to continue delivering relevant social impact day in and day out, has always been important to nonprofit leaders and to The Strategy Group. We see that in the strategic plans we guide our clients to create, in the people we help them hire, and in the retreats and workshops we conduct for staff and board to build strong foundational organizations. However, the work doesn’t end with the final board vote or summary report.
More and more, nonprofits are choosing to double down in what we call capacity building. What is nonprofit capacity building? Most simply put, it is an organization’s investment in sustaining and fulfilling its mission long-term.
Let’s have a look at what capacity building looks like as we are helping four different clients, Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Building One Community, Connecticut Foodshare, and RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Service Action Partnership) put plans into actions.
Each of these organization has their own individualized 12-month consulting relationship where the types of work include:
- Executive Coaching – Bi-weekly meetings for the ED/CEO designed to strengthen leadership skills, to develop staff, and to use TSG leaders as a sounding board for challenges and issues as they arise.
- Governance Work – Strengthening a board’s connection to the work of the organization and their roles as board members. Governance work may include several components including board chair support, a board retreat, and succession planning.
- Executive Team Development – Professional development and coaching geared specifically for the senior leadership team. This might take the form of monthly sessions, individual one-on-one meetings, and/or using a staff satisfaction & engagement survey.
- General Planning – Often organizations are beginning or concluding their strategic plans. TSG will review the status of the plan and refine areas that continue to need work. TSG will also help with business planning as needed.
- Other – TSG often assists with data collect and analysis when an organization wishes to do an audit or assessment of an existing or new program.
Being alongside our clients through this work makes for lasting impact, and allows for organizational sustainability, expansion, and growth. Here are a few ways our clients are shaping future programming and implementing planning with their boards, staff, volunteers, clients, and community partners.
TSG has been working with the senior leadership team at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich for a number of years on capacity building – meeting bi-weekly with the CEO, conducting professional development sessions aimed at improving overall communication and team culture, and coaching individual employees as needed.
At Building One Community, TSG has been meeting with the staff and leadership team every other month respectively to run one-hour “lunch and learn” professional development workshops focused around such topics as building intentional culture, designing organizational values, creating effective teams, and helping managers become good planners. The staff were asked to complete an evaluation rating their experience, and 100% said the leadership development program thus far has been a valuable experience.
Connecticut Foodshare’s senior leadership team has been meeting one-on-one with TSG to map out individual professional development plans for the year ahead. These will serve to strengthen the team as a whole while allowing individuals to develop and work on skills and areas of personal interest to them.
TSG has been worked with the RYASAP management team to rewrite approximately 40 job positions. A salary compensation study was also completed this past winter. The goal of this work was to standardize and professionalize the RYASAP organizational structure to allow for a more efficient and sustainable operating foundation.
Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit. When capacity building is successful, it strengthens a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing the nonprofit’s ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities.
Before we end, we’d be remiss not to mention that foundations will, at times, provide capacity-building grants to help an organization grow its impact and achieve its mission and goals. We’ve seen these funds be used to develop competencies, strategies, systems, and structures in order to improve organizational effectiveness.
If TSG can be helpful in your capacity work, or connecting you with to potential funding for this work, please reach out today at firstname.lastname@example.org.