4 Rules of Non-Profit Capacity Building

Sections of this topic

    To ensure that capacity building by a non-profit will be successful and actually achieve the outcomes that it plans to accomplish, there are things it must do for this to happen.

    • Consult with target population – Non-profits are created to fill a need, and so it is important that the initiative be driven by the people who will use the services provided by the non-profit. They are the experts on what the issues in the community are and hold the key to how these problems can be resolved.
    • Involve the community – It’s important for your target population to feel a sense of ownership of what your organization is trying to accomplish. So, encourage them to get involved by volunteering for events, as board members, as volunteer manpower to get things done that the organization can’t afford or in whatever capacity they wish to be involved.
    • Build Trust – The constituents of your organization must trust you to be willing to provide input and to participate. You build trust by not making hollow promises that you may not be able to deliver on, by following up to ensure that tasks being done by others are completed, and by building positive relationships with your clientele. If you show sincere interest and caring, you will begin to build trust.
    • Set achievable goals – Your target population will generate a whole list of issues they want dealt with. However, it is important that you choose your first issue as something that is achievable without it taking too much time. You want to be able to work with your constituents to achieve a goal quickly and successfully because success breeds success. The more people in the community that hear you and community members have successfully achieved goals; the more likely they are to buy into the organization and want to be a part of that success.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.