Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity for Long-Term Success

In response to the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits and funders are reassessing their collaborations to address immediate needs and prepare for the future. Amid growing calls for equitable grantmaking and heightened awareness of economic disparities, funders are grappling with the most effective ways to support nonprofits. While general operating support and unrestricted funding are crucial components of trust-based philanthropy, nonprofits are increasingly seeking additional support, such as networking, coaching, and advisory guidance, to enhance organizational capacities for sustained success. The debate over the role and effectiveness of capacity building in the philanthropic sector continues, with some foundations advocating for a “no strings attached” approach, while others emphasize the importance of strategic capacity building combined with trust-based philanthropy. Overdeck Family Foundation rejects a binary perspective and encourages mutual accountability, advocating for transparent conversations that respect the perspectives of both grantees and funders. This article explores the positive impact of strategic capacity building in key areas such as cost-effectiveness, revenue model strengthening, and market building, showcasing examples of successful collaboration between funders and grantees. The overarching message is a call for foundations to actively engage in strategic, hands-on support, fostering trust, shared respect, and mutual accountability with grantees to navigate the evolving landscape of nonprofit work effectively.

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