Let them eat fish.ver2

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Thoughts on non-profit capacity building

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Let them eat fish.ver2

  1. 1. LET THEM EAT FISH Exploring Capacity Building Dilemmas Workforce Development Cross Site Meeting Rockefeller Foundation May 2001 By Carl Sussman
  2. 2. 1. Defining the Jargon <ul><li>Capacity ( kə-pas’ə-tē` ) noun The actual or potential ability to perform </li></ul>
  3. 3. As They Grow and Mature, Successful Organizations Develop Capacity
  4. 4. Programmatic Capacity <ul><li>Generally the first capacity </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to deliver programmatic services and results </li></ul><ul><li>Success generates opportunities to grow and perhaps diversify </li></ul>
  5. 5. Operational Capacity <ul><li>Growth tends to require: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>specialization, coordination and management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a more pyramidal organizational structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>greater differentiation between staff & board functions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>greater formality in procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>improved infrastructure </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Adaptive Capacity <ul><li>Cultural commitment to & capacity for learning, changing and improving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supports creativity and innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sophisticated users of information, benchmarking, evaluation, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outward focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizational boundaries highly porous to external information and feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategically savvy </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Barriers to Capacity Building <ul><li>Under-investment: Opportunity cost </li></ul><ul><li>Aversion to “business-like” culture </li></ul><ul><li>Forgiving accountability structures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funders/Marketplace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workforce issues </li></ul>
  8. 8. “ Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” - Maimonides The Capacity Building Cliché
  9. 9. The Missing Link: Environmental Influences <ul><li>The ability to deliver a high quality service is the combined function of: </li></ul><ul><li>The organization delivering the service (organizational capacity) </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>The resources, connections and structures available within the environment (the wider system). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Systemic Capacity <ul><li>Organizational Capacity connotes the internalization of programmatic and operational capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Systemic Capacity means external rules, resources, partners, intermediaries, etc., can substitute for some aspects of organizational capacity </li></ul>
  11. 11. Organizational and Systemic Capacity Organization Environment Funders Consultants Colleges Government Economic Cycles Public Policies Partners Trade Associations Intermediaries
  12. 12. Capacity Building Framework Internalize (organizational capacity) Externalize (Systemic Capacity) Independent Interdependent In-Source Outsource Collaboration Intermediation
  13. 13. Summary <ul><li>In general, organizational capacity is a function of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptive capacity (incl. culture) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul></ul>

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