Capacity building: Investing in not-for-profit effectiveness

Framing our discussion of capacity building

What do we mean by capacity and capacity building

Definitions for capacity and capacity building are far reaching and broadly discussed.


Organizational capacity has been describes as "a wide range of capabilities, knowledge and resources that non-profits need in order to be effective." It is about a range of interrelated components that give a non-for-profit "the ability to perform effectively - to do the right things in the best way" to achieve their mission.

Capacity building

"There are many acceptable definitions for "capacity building", but like the word "leadership", its literal meaning is not neary as important as the idead the term embodies". Here are a few definitions:

  • The process of strengthening an organization in order to improve its performance and impact
  • Actions that improve nonprofit effectiveness
  • Actions that enchance a nonprofit's ability to work towards its mission
  • Activities or actions put in place to support and strengthen core capacities within and organization
  • Actions that strengthen a non-for-profit's ability to deliver greater social, economic and environmental benefits
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