The Center for Public
Capacity Building Toolkit
The Capacity Building Toolkit has been designed to
support nonprofit leaders who wish to engage in capacity building in a
systematic way. The toolkit facilitates an organization’s engagement in the
four Capacity Building Process “core activities” illustrated below.
This graphic illustrates the four core capacity
building activities as parts of an ongoing sequence that repeats itself
continuously; capacity building is an ongoing, never-ending process.
This toolkit further outlines the four capacity
building activity components, as illustrated in the graphic above, along
with specific capacity building tools designed to guide an organization’s
engagement in each of the four activities.
1. Assessment and Benchmarking.
Asset based forms and processes have been designed to
assist organizations in establishing their current status and goals for
growth. Organizations complete the assessment and use the results to
develop action plan priorities and goals and measure progress.
CB Tool #1:
Assessment and Benchmarking. This tool is used to conduct an
initial assessment of the organizational capacity of your association.
Completing this activity will enable you to establish capacity building
benchmarks – a clear and detailed picture of the present level of
organizational capacity with reference to the six capacity elements:
Mission, Vision and Strategy; Governance and Leadership; Service
Delivery and Impact; Resource Development; Strategic Relationships; and
Internal Operations and Management. CB Tool #1 allows for benchmarking
of capacity among four levels in each of these six areas. In the future,
you will use CB Tool #1 again to reassess your association to determine
any gains in organizational capacity.
Click here for more information about CB Tool #1: Assessment and
2. Action Planning.
Using a format that aligns with the Tool #1, nonprofits
complete action plans that prioritize growth areas and include goals and
action steps. The action plan guides the organizations use of resources to
CB Tool #2:
Capacity Building Action Planning. This tool allows you
and your CB Team to use the results of your initial capacity building
assessment and benchmarking (CB Tool #1) to develop a plan of action for
capacity building in your organization. The CB action plan will include
priority areas for capacity building, measurable targets for
improvement, and capacity building activities to achieve the hoped for
3. Action Plan Implementation.
Based on the action plan, organizations engage in
resource linkage, choosing from a range of options including capacity
building resources available at the local, state and national levels.
CB Tool #3: Capacity Building
Resource Inventory. The Capacity Building Resource Inventory offers
organizations an extensive collection of web-based resources that will
support capacity building efforts. The resources are organized according
to the nine capacity elements. The Inventory will be very useful
in creating as well as implementing your capacity building action plan.
This inventory is currently being updated and will be available again
when the updating is completed.
4. Reassessment and Learning.
Organizations reassess their capacity periodically,
comparing their capacity levels in the six element areas to their initial
assessment. They monitor, document and report their progress on action
planning and capacity development. This enables the association to learn
about CB activities that contribute most to changes in capacity.
CB Tool #4: Capacity
Building Reassessment. The fourth tool in the Capacity Building
Toolkit: Capacity Building Reassessment guides your nonprofit’s
Success in Capacity
Strong leadership is one of the factors that ensure success in capacity
building. Capacity building is a team sport that requires a board-staff
leadership team. Organizations that are serious about building capacity are
advised to convene a team consisting, at a minimum, of the Executive
Director/CEO, one other staff member selected by the ED and two board
members, at least one of which is in a key leadership position. This team
will have primary responsibility for leading the organization’s engagement
in the four core CB activities. Additional board members and staff can also
be involved and this is highly recommended. There are several advantages to
this group approach. By sharing multiple perspectives on some of the
problems and issues needed to be addressed it is less likely that problems
will be misdiagnosed or that key issues will be overlooked. Another
advantage to the team is that more people will gain a deeper understanding
of critical organization challenges that can be addressed through your
capacity building efforts.
This Capacity Building Action Planning Toolkit was originally developed by
Frank Martinelli and Shelly Schnupp for use by local associations of the
Great Lakes Alliance of the YWCA as part of the GLA Capacity Building
Click to download this document as a