April 11, 2014

Building Capacity One Step at a Time

There are several organizations that come to mind for their expertise in housing development, housing programs and resources that they provide to the community. Not because these organizations are my favorite or even most popular – rather, because they are known for their successful operations and strong reputations in their areas of expertise.

Capacity building is a term used in the non-profit world to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization for sustainability. Over the last couple of years, many organizations have been unable to maintain a level of sustainability due to the economic crisis or budgetary constraints. So how does an organization build its capacity to succeed?  The following comes to mind:

1) Develop a clearly defined mission and vision for the organization. 
The management and staff of the organization must understand the mission and vision. The mission establishes your purpose and continued relevance. The vision sets the direction for the future.
2) Conduct a strategic planning process.
Strategic planning sets the goals and objectives for the organization. It establishes an evaluative framework for the development of the day to day operations. Organizations that use a specific action plan to guide them are more likely to accomplish their goals for sustainability.
3) Provide strong leadership. 
Leaders champion the work that needs to be done for the organization. They influence the goals and objectives through creativity and problem solving. Leadership empowers others to use their skills sets to help advance the organization.
4) Generate revenue. 
Organizations that are financially stable tend to have a very conservative approach in managing their finances. In addition to actively fundraising, they are constantly identifying multiple sources of revenue for the organization.
5) Create marketing opportunities. 
Building a brand and awareness of the organization sets it apart from the competition. Organizations should bring positive attention to the community in order to enhance their image to their partners and stakeholders.

Organizations incorporate a variety of successful tools and resources in order to build capacity. What are your ideas on building capacity? Feel free to share some of your organization’s best practices.

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