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Summary of Investing in Capacity Building: A Guide to High-Impact Approaches

The widespread and growing concern among the philanthropic community over the effectiveness and efficiency of nonprofit organizations has led grantmakers to invest substantial sums in efforts to build nonprofit capacity and improve performance. This new publication by consultant and researcher Barbara Blumenthal offers guidance to grantmakers and consultants in designing better approaches to helping nonprofits, while showing nonprofit managers how to obtain more effective assistance. Grantmakers recognize that technical assistance grants and general support have had a modest impact overall in promoting stability, effectiveness, and efficiency in the nonprofits that they support. Improving management practices, the most difficult capacity building challenge facing nonprofit organizations, is key to increasing the impact of the limited dollars available.

Based on interviews with more than 100 grantmakers, intermediaries, and consultants, 30 evaluations of capacity building programs, and a review of research on capacity building, Investing in Capacity Building identifies which strategies work in helping nonprofit organizations improve their performance, and which ones don't. With a carefully thought-out program, grantmakers of any size can have an impact. For many, this means starting small, evaluating impact, and making adjustments until the program makes a significan contribution to the health of nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve.

Investing in Capacity Building

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