The author T.F. Hodge said, “You cannot build a dream on a foundation of sand.” Unfortunately, too many nonprofits are doing just that.
The strength of any nonprofit’s mission and vision comes from the organization’s ability to make them a reality.
The phrase “no organization, no mission” is more than just lip service to the need to have “bench strength” behind your passion to achieve a better world.
I can’t say it any better than one of the nonprofit sector’s most compelling scholars and authors, Paul C. Light. In his book, “Sustaining Nonprofit Performance,” he wrote:
“I argue that the nonprofit sector suffers from. . . persistent underinvestment in its basic organizational infrastructure. Driven to do more with less, many nonprofits simply make do with the bare minimum, often denying (themselves) the training, technologies and support they need to do their jobs.”
I would add to that, all under steadily increasing pressure to perform and to achieve, resulting (in many cases) in a public downturn in confidence in our nonprofits and acute frustration inside these organizations. Not to mention burnout and all that goes with it.
“Great Programs Need Great Organizations Behind Them”
The answer is organizational capacity building. The National Council of Nonprofits defines that as “an investment in future sustainability,” without which organizations put themselves in jeopardy of failing to meet their missions and achieve their visions.
What is capacity building? It’s whatever an organization (your organization?) needs to take itself to the next level of maturity: the right (enough) staff; sound internal controls; better technology; a better system of governance; and on and on.
I know what you’re thinking. . .”No one will fund capacity building.” How do you know?
· When was the last time you explored a capacity building grant or gift?
· When was the last time it even occurred to you to look for funding that wasn’t programmatic or capital?
I think it is ironic that capacity building funding is emerging. . .not from the nonprofits, but from the funders. Good grief!
The Foundation Center reports that, “Increasingly, foundations are providing grants to help nonprofit organizations carry out their missions more effectively. A wealth of literature has emerged as experts examine the impact of capacity building programs.”
The truth is that the idea of nonprofits needing to be “needy” comes from us. Donors and funders learned about and bought into the “nonprofit mentality of sacrifice and service” because of us.
It’s time to have the conversations, to begin to educate our donors and funders about the vital necessity of making our nonprofits strong so that the programs and services you offer will meet the growing needs in our society.
 National Council of Nonprofits
That’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts about this?