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Leading Capacity Building in Your Nonprofit: A Three-Part Series

The Importance of Capacity Building

In order to survive—and thrive—wise nonprofits are seeking ways to continuously enhance their effectiveness.  Capacity building strategies can help nonprofit organizations become stronger--more effective and efficient in their operations, more sustainable, and more capable of responding to the needs of their communities.  Capacity building can help nonprofits prepare for and adapt to an environment of constant change.  At the same time, funders, wanting to invest in organizations that operate efficiently and make a difference in communities, are paying greater attention to nonprofit capacity building; many are investing resources in capacity building, proposing models and becoming directly involved. 

Introducing the Capacity Building Webinar Series

We are offering this new webinar series to equip you with the tools you need to implement a proven capacity building initiative in your nonprofit. This three-part series will orient you and your leadership team to the Capacity Building Toolkit. This research based, field tested toolkit has been designed to support nonprofit leaders like you who wish to engage in capacity building in a systematic way. For more information about our comprehensive approach to capacity building, the four-part capacity building toolkit, as well as guidance for engaging board and staff leaders in capacity building, download a free copy of A Systems Approach to Nonprofit Capacity Building.

The Leading Capacity Building in Your Nonprofit webinar series consists of three online orientation and training sessions. Each session is 75 minutes in length. Organizations will benefit the most if there is participation by a board and staff leadership team in the entire three-part series:

Session 1 – Introduction to the capacity building model and toolkit and organizing your capacity building leadership team
Session 2 – Orientation to use of the Assessment and Benchmarking Tool
Session 3 – Orientation to use of the Action planning and implementation Tool

Special Features: Attendees will receive the Capacity Building Toolkit in advance of the first webinar session. Each session will include practical advice on how to facilitate use of the capacity building tools. After each session, they will receive the PowerPoint presentation file used in the webinar as well as access to answers to future questions, leads on additional capacity building resources, and more.

Who Should Attend: Anyone wishing to learn about a proven, systematic, comprehensive approach to capacity building; Board and staff leadership who have committed to building the capacity of their nonprofit and are now looking for field tested tools and training to engage in the process.

Attend As A Capacity Building Team: This webinar series can be viewed by several board and staff members from the same organization using one computer making your investment in the Capacity Building Webinar Series even more cost effective. In advance of the first webinar, we encourage you to recruit a team of board and staff leaders as your Capacity Building Team and attend the webinar series as a group.

Presenter: Frank Martinelli

Session 1 – Introduction to the Capacity Building Toolkit and Organizing Your Team

The first session in the webinar training series provides an introduction to capacity building in nonprofit organizations with a focus on the Capacity Building Toolkit and the importance of board and staff leadership in the capacity building process.

This session will cover the following topics:

  • Definition of nonprofit capacity building.
  • Overview of capacity building process: model and steps.
  • How to embed capacity building into the fabric of your nonprofit.
  • Factors that contribute to capacity building gains.
  • Capacity building best practices.
  • Introducing the capacity building toolkit: A systems approach.
  • Preparing for capacity building: getting your board “on board” and establishing your leadership team.
  • Next steps in the training series.

Session 2 – Orientation to the Assessment and Benchmarking Tool

The Assessment and Benchmarking Tool is used to conduct an initial assessment of the organizational capacity of your nonprofit.  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 critical capacity elements including: Mission, Vision and Strategy; Board Governance; Executive Staff Leadership; Service Delivery and Impact; Strategic Relationships; Management and Development of Human Resources; Resource and Revenue Development; Financial and Legal Management and Operations and Infrastructure. The Assessment and Benchmarking Tool allows for benchmarking of capacity among four levels in nine areas of capacity.

This session will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Assessment and Benchmarking Tool.
  • Design of the tool: 4 levels of capacity.
  • Good assessment practices.
  • Assessment practices to avoid.
  • Preparing for the next step: developing a capacity building action plan.

Session 3 – Orientation to the Capacity Building Action Planning Tool

The Action Planning Tool enables you and other members of your capacity building team to use the results of your initial capacity building assessment to develop a plan of action for capacity building in your nonprofit. The capacity building action plan will include priority areas for capacity building, measurable targets for improvement, and capacity building activities to achieve the hoped-for gains.

This session will cover the following topics:

  • Orientation to the Action Planning Tool.
  • Identifying the driving forces for change.
  • Incorporating range of capacity building strategies, resources and activities into your plan.
  • Orientation to the online capacity building resource inventory.
  • Preparing for implementation of your capacity building action plan.
  • Coming full circle: capacity building re-assessment and preparing for the next round of capacity building action planning.

Capacity Building Defined

There are many definitions of capacity building suggested by practitioners who work with nonprofit organizations.  Most have several elements in common:  they emphasize strengthening nonprofits and achieving sustainability; enabling nonprofits to achieve their mission is usually mentioned, along with increasing organizational effectiveness; and they identify specific areas of organizational capacity that should be addressed.  The following definition captures the strengths of many definitions:

“Capacity building” refers to intentional, coordinated and mission-driven efforts aimed at strengthening the management and governance of nonprofits to improve their performance and impact.  This occurs through organization development activities, such as leadership development, strategic planning, program design and evaluation, board development, financial planning and management and others. 

Presenter Bio: Frank Martinelli, The Center for Public Skills Training

Frank Martinelli has over 35 years of work, training and consulting experience with a variety of nonprofit and public sector organizations. He is president of the Center for Public Skills Training where he specializes in strategic planning, governing board development, volunteer management, and community partnership and alliance building. Since 1976 over 25,000 professional staff, board and other volunteer leaders have benefited from Frank's practical, results-oriented training and consultation.

Frank served as a member of the national faculty of The Learning Institute, a joint venture of the Society for Nonprofit Organizations, PBS, United Way of America, and the University of Wisconsin-Extension designed to deliver training through a range of emerging technologies. The Learning Institute, faculty and partners were the recipient of the American Distance Education Consortium 2000 Award for the “Certificate of Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management Satellite Series”. He has provided training and consultation to over 1800 organizations in the US including Peace Corps, Head Start, The Points of Light Foundation, Association of Volunteer Administration, the American Camping Association, Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Medical College of Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee Committee, American Lung Association and others. From 1981-1992, Frank served as Coordinator of THE RESOURCE CENTER, a major provider of training to nonprofit groups in the Greater Milwaukee area.

Frank has played a leadership role in the design and implementation of a number of capacity building initiatives including: co-design and facilitation of the Board Consultant Institute, a professional development learning experience for 10 consultants to increase the number of skilled board consultants in Southeastern Wisconsin; Co-design and facilitation of the YWCA Great Lakes Alliance Capacity Building Project that provides a range of organizational capacity building services to 55 YWCA associations in the Midwest.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with an M.S. in Urban Affairs, Frank has done numerous workshops on nonprofit management topics with special emphasis on involvement of the Board of Directors. Frank has written extensively about the management of nonprofit organizations and is a contributing author to the New Directions publication by Jossey-Bass, "Small Nonprofits: Strategies for Fund Raising Success." He has been trained by the Peter F. Drucker Foundation in the use of the Organizational Self-Assessment Tool. Frank has completed the Advanced Board Consultant Training Program offered by BoardSource, formerly known as the National Center for Nonprofit Boards. Frank has recently completed the Distance Education Professional Development Certification Program offered at the University of Wisconsin and is presently developing a number of web-based and other distance learning offerings for nonprofits. Frank also publishes the Strategic Thinking and Planning Blog offering his reflections on strategic planning in the nonprofit sector.

Frank served as a community organizer for the Citizen Action Program (CAP) in Chicago and as a founding organizer and staff director of the Milwaukee Alliance of Concerned Citizens. He also served as Senior Training Consultant to ACTION/VISTA from 1977 to 1981.In addition to his professional work, since high school days, Frank has played key roles in founding and leading a number of nonprofit organizations.

What others are saying about the Capacity Building Webinar Series

"Very well done! Flowed smoothly, well presented, and easy to follow along. You and your team have developed a set of tools that will surely benefit our agency and help us become more efficient in the short and long term."

"The pacing was excellent, addressing what needed to be said in clear and concise ways."

"I like the capacity building model and toolkit and how to implement this process using a dedicated capacity building team."

"The webinar provided a definition and model of capacity building that was easy to follow and understand."

"You did an excellent job of walking us through the process."

"The webinar provided good selling points/rationale for beginning to think about capacity building in our organization. The tools were concrete and practical and seem to resonate with what our agency needs at this point in time."

"I can see this capacity building toolkit being helpful in our next strategic planning process."

"The design of the assessment tool with the four levels of capacity allows an agency to visually see how it measures up. This kind of tool would be extremely helpful to our agency."

"Appreciated having materials ahead of time in order to be prepared, appreciated the interactive nature of the session and ease of attendance."

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." Peter F. Drucker  View Past Quotes

frank@createthefuture.com susan@createthefuture.com

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Revised: June 20, 2016