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
Session 2 – Orientation to use of the Assessment and
Session 3 – Orientation to use of the Action planning and
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
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
- 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
Session 3 – Orientation to the Capacity Building Action Planning
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
- 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:
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.
Frank Martinelli, The Center for Public Skills Training
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
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
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
"The pacing was
excellent, addressing what needed to be said in clear and concise
"I like the capacity
building model and toolkit and how to implement this process using a
dedicated capacity building team."
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
"I can see this
capacity building toolkit being helpful in our next strategic
"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."
materials ahead of time in order to be prepared, appreciated the
interactive nature of the session and ease of attendance."