A national service consensus on capacity building

In addition to being native to the islands of public media and technology, the Transmission Project is also a bright star in the constellation of national service initiatives. Over the past few months we have been participating in stakeholder dialogues with the Corporation for National Community Service on the topic of capacity building in nonprofits.

The summaries of those dialogues have been shared and the results are quite fascinating. While the Corporation for National Service is quite obviously interested in volunteerism, it is good to see that they recognize that fielding community resources requires more than many hands. Through the dialogues the following capacity building needs were identified:

The most critical capacity building issues facing small and midsize nonprofits right now are sustainability (cash flow and consistent funding, particularly for infrastructure), leadership, ability to nurture partnerships and relationships, capacity to manage and retain volunteers, weak understanding of the role of governance, short-term thinking and stagnation, capacity to use technology, and capacity to manage and cultivate human capital, both paid and volunteer.

Interesting also were the recommendation on the role the Corporation for National and Community service can play. On a small scale, they sound very similar to the role we see for the Transmission Project as we build to scale:

The most critical role the Corporation can play and where the Corporation can have the greatest impact for limited investment is in continuing to convene the stakeholders across sectors – government, nonprofit, and foundation/corporate; conduct and disseminate research on what’s working and not working in the nonprofit sector; establish a “framework of standardized or effective practices – “be the go-to place” for tools and funding opportunities; help to define the metrics for measuring social impact and train nonprofits on this; recognize and affirm what works; train the trainer; invest in the development of emerging leaders; support interagency collaboration; and streamline our grant processes. The Corporation was strongly encouraged to not duplicate what already exists, to work with
existing intermediaries, encourage other funders to invest in nonprofit capacity building, and to encourage interagency communication and collaboration. Cultural competency is critical to the effectiveness of capacity building strategies.

Lastly, I think the qualities of effective intermediaries and partners is quite enlightening (and also similar to the traits we seek out in our partners):

The Corporation should select intermediaries who demonstrate an ability to convene and partner with other intermediaries, have a solid infrastructure to measure their success…[and] a track-record of ongoing assistance with recipients

You can download a copy of the report below.

10_0310_npcb_oldt.pdf34.03 KB


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote> <img> <h2> <h3> <h4>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Adds typographic refinements.

More information about formatting options

Transmission Project