JLBC: Leadership

JLBC: Leadership

Non‐profits receiving training, technical, and financial assistance from CCF experienced significantly higher levels of growth. Assessing effectiveness is difficult, as capacity building is more than simply participating in hiring consultants to create strategic planning. It is about implementing the gaining knowledge from those activities to strengthen an organization. The skills and systems must be implemented into day‐to‐day operations to become part of the organization’s culture. Considering that effectiveness is multidimensional, there may never be the ability to attribute capacity building directly with increased social impact.


Taking all the above into consideration, several recommendations can be made to address the challenges of capacity building and those that can support success factors. United Way of Calgary and Area is uniquely positioned to pursue these recommendations precisely:

1. Its long history of supporting capacity in various areas – Not only has UWCA been providing grants in the area of power, but it is also a leader in developing evaluation capacity within the sector. This provides the organization with the credibility required to engage others in supporting this work.

2. Its ongoing learning and growth regarding capacity building – UWCA has been intentional about its continuous learning and development in this area. Innovation has been encouraged, and critical lessons have been learned from this.

3. Dedicated resources specifically targeted to this area. While financial resources are essential to any capacity-building endeavor, it is necessary to recognize the human resources available to the organization to support further thinking in this area. The knowledgeable and dedicated staff available for this work cannot be underestimated.

Based on the above strengths, the following areas are recommended for UWCA to pursue.

Recommendation #1: Adopt a definition

Considering that the literature consistently points out the lack of shared definition as a challenge to capacity-building efforts, it is recommended that United Way of Calgary and Area adopt a purpose to support its capacity-building strategies. As research from the California Wellness Foundation indicates that even a funder’s staff can vary in their interpretations of capacity building, it will be necessary to ensure that

2 This finding was based on assessing each of the five domains when the contributions of all the measures for the domain were considered together.

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