11 elements of organizational capacity

October 6, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

From the “Get lemonade from lemons” school of thought comes the idea: There are no threats, only opportunities. Well, there are opportunities, and then there are threats.

During an Association of Fundraising Professionals conference, Amy Wolfe of AgSafe emphasized the importance of recognizing external threats, even if one chooses to see them as opportunities in disguise.

To prepare for threats (or opportunities) from without, it is necessary to consider organizational capacity from within. That means:

  • What is the organization’s core competency?
  • What distinguishes this organization from other, similar nonprofits?
  • What specialized skills exist in the organization?
  • What skills are still needed?

Once that assessment is done, Wolfe recommended considering the following external stresses:

  • What technology can the organization leverage to advance its mission?
  • Is the need for the organization growing or shrinking?
  • Are there other markets that can be further developed?
  • How has the economy affected the organization’s work?
  • Are there impending changes to local, state or federal regulations that can improve or impede the success of the organization?
  • How well does the organization’s leadership leverage the expertise of partners?
  • How are shifts in funding requirements or priorities affecting the organization’s ability to fundraise and demonstrate progress?
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