Nonprofit Capacity Building Conference

Nonprofit Capacity Building

By Sharon Kandris, Director, Community Informatics and SAVI Director

There are approximately 55,000 nonprofits registered in the state of Indiana. They are vital to our communities and improve our individual and community quality of life. How do nonprofits ensure they are doing the best they can at fulfilling their mission? “Nonprofit Capacity Building refers to activities that improve and enhance a nonprofit organization’s ability to achieve its mission and sustain itself over time.” (National Council of Nonprofits)

Paul Connolly and Carol Lukas, in their book Strengthening Nonprofit Performance: A Funder’s Guide to Capacity Building, identify six components of organizational capacity that contribute to an organization’s health and performance: 1) Mission, Vision, and Strategy; 2) Governance and Leadership; 3) Program Delivery and Impact; 4) Strategic Relationships; 5) Finance; and 6) Internal Operations and Management. Nonprofit capacity buildingaims to improve on one or more of these areas and includes such things as fundraising, marketing, communications, program planning, information technology, strategic planning, volunteer management, networking, governance, operations, human resources, and board development.

There are many organizations and consultants around the state that provide services focused on some aspect of nonprofit capacity building. Here are two of our partners that are doing a great job of it:

United Way of Central Indiana’s Nonprofit Training Center works with nonprofits in Central Indiana to build core competencies through public workshops, customized workshops tailored to specific organizational needs, technical assistance, consulting, and recommended reading resources. The staff work one-on-one with organizations to identify their capacity building needs and then train them, provide consulting, or refer them to consultants that will provide the skills, knowledge, or services needed. It is part of a statewide network, Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network, which is coordinated by the Indiana Association of United Ways.

Indiana Grantmakers Alliance builds capacity in philanthropic organizations across the state through advocacy, education, information, and networking opportunities. Their annual fall conference is one of its primary avenues for doing so.

The Polis Center’s SAVI Program builds capacity in nonprofits to use data for informed decision-making by providing community data, actionable information, training, and consulting. The ability to use data effectively improves an organization’s planning, fundraising, evaluation, and marketing efforts, to name a few. SAVI is partnering with the Indiana Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives to present a conference on service and nonprofit capacity building. Other conference collaborators include the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance, United Way Nonprofit Training Center, the IU Center on Philanthropy, IN Office of the Attorney General, and the Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program. Participants will have opportunities to network and learn from experts and peers ways to improve their marketing, social media, data analysis, fundraising, volunteer management, and collaboration skills.

Please join us in Indianapolis on Oct. 2, 2012 for the Indiana Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building. Registration is now open!

For more on Nonprofit Capacity Building, there is a great resource list including reading materials and links to relevant national associations and organizations at The Foundation Center.



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