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Capacity-Building Project Examples

What is a Capacity-Building Project?

The National Council of Nonprofits views capacity-building as "an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit … When successful, it strengthens a nonprofit's ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing the nonprofit's ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities."

Below are some examples of needs, types of capacity-building projects that address them, and potential outcomes or products:


Types of Projects

Common Outcomes/Products


Projects address what partners might need to KNOW to better fulfill their mission

  1. Primary Data Collection -- creating new information through for example focus groups, surveys, or interviews
  2. Secondary Data Analysis -- understanding existing information to share through, for example, a report or presentation
  3. Needs Assessment -- identifying and prioritizing community needs
  4. Asset Mapping - identifying the resources and stakeholders that could be mobilized toward addressing a community need

- Research Report

- Presentation of Findings information gained through:

  • Survey(s)
  • Interviews
  • Oral Histories
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Focus Groups
  • Mapping
  • Content Analysis

Projects address HOW partners might more effectively fulfill their mission through strategic ACTIONS

  1. Program Evaluation - understanding the effectiveness of organizations' program(s) or service(s)
  2. Best Practices and Models - exploration of case studies that would be helpful or instructive
  3. Program Design/Development - Designing and/or making recommendations for the development of particular program, curriculum, process, event, or other form of infrastructure the organization can then sustainably implement

- Program Implementation with a summary of the process (so it may be replicated)

- Written plan or presentation for a new or evolved program

- Handbook

- Curriculum Development

- Written Report (of best practices or program evaluation)


Projects address how partners might better share their story to RAISE AWARENESS of issues or their work, and/or EDUCATE others on their mission

  1. Synthesizing Existing knowledge - for example, creating videos, brochures, website text, social media campaign, or a marketing plan
  2. Extending Knowledge to New Communities - e.g. efforts to translate materials into Spanish, adapting materials to new audiences, etc.
  3. Creative Projects -- representation of knowledge through for example, logo or brand development, theatrical representation of an educational theme
  4. Storytelling Initiatives -- efforts to better communicate untold or less visible stories; particularly impactful in centering and elevating marginalized voices, narratives, and forms of knowledge

- Video

- Brochure

- Website, blog

- Social media

- Marketing campaign

- Logo or brand development

- Theatrical representation


Projects address how partners might mobilize more (or more sustainable) FUNDING

  1. Grant Writing - supporting grant-writing efforts through synthesizing or gathering relevant knowledge
  2. Fundraising Support - through design of sustainable strategies, events, and processes

- Foundational research report to be used for grant

- Grant proposal

- Fundraising Event

- Fundraising Strategy


Projects address how partners might best leverage PEOPLE (staff, volunteers) to fulfill their mission

  1. Volunteer Support Projects -- supporting recruitment, training and preparation, and retention
  2. Professional Development projects - supporting professional development, training and preparation, fulfillment and retention of professional staff

- Volunteer Training or Professional Development events or curriculum planning

- Volunteer or Staff Handbook

- Retention Analysis (volunteers or staff)

- Human Resource Analysis (staff structures, models, etc.)


Projects help understand or create EXTERNAL CONDITIONS (e.g political or social) that enhance an organization's ability to fulfill their mission

  1. Policy Review- evaluating the effectiveness, outcomes, and/or implementation of a policy
  2. Campaign - organizing collective action toward a particular political or social goal that impacts your partner's work

- Policy Analysis

- Policy Recommendation

- Social Action Campaign

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020